A Grown-Up in Oz

John W. Kennedy

Founded on and continuing the Famous Oz Stories
L. Frank Baum

Copyright © 1997–2006 by John W. Kennedy.
All rights reserved

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To the Reader

When I was born, the book of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was nearly as old as I will be when this book is published. I remember well how, one Christmas, my brother and I received copies of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz, and how, when I was no more than eight or nine years old, I first attempted to write my own book about Oz, hoping that the Reilly & Lee company would be interested. But there have been few books about Oz published in the years since then, and the Reilly & Lee company seems to have disappeared as thoroughly as Dorothy’s silver slippers did. I thought I would never have the chance to tell a real Oz story.

Then one day I sat down at my trusty computer and connected to the Internet, for it seemed to me that the good folk of Oz must be on the World-Wide Web, seeing that everyone else is. It took me a little time, but I finally guessed the correct name for the website belonging to The Ozmapolitan, which is the principle Ozian newspaper. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the Oz folk were having their own celebration of the anniversary of Dorothy Gale’s first arrival in Oz, and that the Nome King himself had put in an appearance, after so many long years. And there was much more news, too! Now, some of you may be wondering about the name of this book. Certainly there are a lot of grown-ups who have lived in Oz all of their lives, and Joe Robertson certainly isn’t the first grown-up from the great outside world to visit Oz, for the Shaggy Man, Dorothy’s Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, Cap’n Bill, and several others have not only visited Oz, but come to live there always. But as far as I know, this is the first time someone who grew up reading the Oz books has been able, years later, to actually go there.

Of course, there are other people who accompanied Mr. Robertson on his journey. First of all, there’s his little niece Dorothy Anne, who, in a way, brought him to Oz. And then there’s ZIP, who comes from a very different sort of place than either Oz or the outside world.

So now, here is my very own Oz book. And who knows? Perhaps someday I will find some more articles in The On-line Ozmapolitan that will tell another interesting tale of the marvelous land of Oz.

John W. Kennedy
Chatham, NJ
March 31, 1997

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Table of Contents

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Chapter 1: Virtually Real

I should have it working in a minute, Honey.”

“That’s what you said an hour ago, Uncle Joe!”

“I know, honey. Sometimes even grown-ups make mistakes. But this time I really think it’s going to work. Let’s just boot it up one more time.”

Joe Robertson took one more look at the computer, moved the mouse to the shutdown option, and clicked several times. When the system finished shutting down, he hit the Reset button, and watched patiently as the Helium Graphics workstation with 1024 megabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes of hard disk booted up again. Dorothy Anne, his little niece, watched, but not as patiently. She loved playing games on the computer, and hated waiting when her Uncle Joe was “fiddling around” with it.

“You see, Dorothy Anne, the goggles in the helmet are working, now.” He put on the newly-attached 3-D stereo helmet, with its power indicator now lit for the first time. “This is really something; I can see the desktop—the pretend desktop that’s usually on the screen—floating in the air right in front of me, here.” He pointed to a spot in the air.

“But I can’t see anything there.”

“No, but I can. The goggles inside the helmet show me the screen just as though it were real, and I can reach out and touch it, right there.” He reached out in the air before him and seemed to push an invisible button.

“You have to use the gloves, too, Uncle Joe.”

“Yes, that’s right.” He took off the helmet so he could see, put on the matching gloves, and then put the helmet on again. “Let’s see if I can make this work. I’ll just touch this icon, and—Whoops! there it goes! As soon as I touched the icon, the folder opened, just the way it was supposed to. The gloves told the computer where I was pointing my finger, and that was it! This is great!”

“Can I see it now, Uncle Joe? I want to try the new game!”

“Okay, Honey. But before you try the new game, why don’t you try just using the helmet and the gloves to play Solitaire? That way, you’ll get some practice using them. It’s a little tricksy, and I think it will be easier for you to learn the helmet and the gloves on a game you know, and then try the new game separately. That will give me a chance to read about the game, too.” He took off the helmet and gloves as he spoke, and looked at Dorothy Anne with a twinkle in his eye. “Otherwise, I’ll never be able to keep up with you.”

“Yes, Uncle Joe.” Dorothy Anne had learned during the six months since she had come to live with her mother’s brother that it was best to do what he said with the computer. For many years, he had used computers all day long at the office, and now that he was spending the day at home so he could take care of her, he used this computer, and another little notebook computer, to keep on doing his job from home.

Dorothy Anne had come to live with Uncle Joe when her parents were lost on an airplane that disappeared on a flight from California to Australia. Despite this unhappy past she was a naturally cheery child, and, though she missed her parents a great deal, her days at school, where she was usually a very good student, and her nights, weekends, and vacations with Uncle Joe left her little time to be unhappy in. Uncle Joe’s big computer was especially exciting; it was bigger and faster than any other home computer Dorothy Anne had ever seen at any of her friends’ houses, because of his work. Uncle Joe wrote computer programs for a living, which is a very demanding job for both the programmer and for the computer he uses, but he did most of his work while Dorothy Anne was in school, so most of the time when she was at home, she could use it, both for her homework, and to play games.

She had a new game now that she wanted to play, a game that had come addressed to her in the mail the day before. It was very mysterious, because there was no note with the package, and no return address on it. Also, neither she nor Uncle Joe could remember ever seeing this game in a store, or hearing about it any other way. The game, which came on a DVD-ROM, was called A Day in Oz. The box and the DVD-ROM were both colored purple on top, red on the bottom, green in the middle, and blue and yellow on the sides, which Dorothy Anne knew was a representation of the marvelous land of Oz, with the purple country of the Gillikins in the north, the red country of the Quadlings in the south, the green Emerald City (the capital of Oz) at the center, and the blue country of the Munchkins and the yellow country of the Winkles in the east and west. Uncle Joe had a bookcase full of books about Oz, and the other magical lands surrounding it in the Nonestic Ocean, and Dorothy Anne had read (or had read to her, when she was younger) about half of them so far. The package with the game had also contained the 3-D stereo helmet and gloves that Uncle Joe had just attached to the computer.

While Dorothy Anne was putting on the helmet and gloves and directing her attention to playing the computer’s game of solitaire with these new tools, Uncle Joe stepped into the next room and took another look at the booklet that had come with the DVD-ROM. The instruction sheets for attaching the helmet and gloves to the computer had been thorough and complete (well, almost thorough and complete), but the booklet provided only a bare minimum on how to install the game, and nothing at all about playing it. Presumably, the instructions for playing the game would be included in the game itself, as an on-line “help” feature. There was a little bit written about the game, though, besides the instructions, and he decided to read that part again, to see if, perhaps, there had been anything that he had missed the first time.

A Day in Oz represents a new level in interactive entertainment. Combining the latest advances in virtual reality with a new breakthrough in artificial intelligence, this will provide anyone young (or young at heart) with the adventure of a lifetime in L. Frank Baum’s classic fairyland.

There was also a letter in the package, but it was without any return address or signature. It didn’t even look like a real letter, because it was a photocopy, and not a very good one, but crooked and streaked. It, too, had but little to say

Dear Customer:

  You have been chosen to receive a preliminary copy of A Day in Oz, which demonstrates our newest technology. In order for you to run this software, we are also including in this package a prototype of our new virtual-reality helmet and gloves. This hardware is still under development, and may malfunction. If this should occur, press the “resynchronize” button and all should return to normal.

The only problem was that Uncle Joe had looked at the helmet, the gloves, and all their connection equipment a dozen times, and couldn’t find a “resynchronize” button anywhere. “Still,” he said to himself, “if this is a prototype, just a first try to see if they got it right, perhaps they decided at the last moment to leave the button out. At the worst, Dorothy Anne can just start the game again.”

Dorothy Anne’s voice came from the study. “I’m going to start the game now, Uncle Joe. The helmet’s easy to use, and I only have to click on the little map of Oz to start it.”

“OK, dear. I hope you have fun.”

A few seconds later, he heard her voice again. “Uncle Joe, this is wonderful. I can see everything in front of me. It looks very—” The voice cut off

“Yes, Dorothy Anne? What is it? Dorothy Anne? Dorothy Anne?” But no voice came from the other room.

Suddenly worried, he ran to the study door and looked inside. The helmet was sitting on the chair in front of the computer, and the gloves were lying on the floor, but Dorothy Anne was nowhere to be seen!

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Chapter 2: An Anniversary

Yipes! Pipes!” Scraps, the Patchwork Girl, came tumbling down the stairs leading from one of the meeting rooms in the royal palace in the Emerald City of Oz.

The celebrated Scarecrow of Oz looked up. “Pipes?” he said.

Pipes, barrels, hogsheads, vats,
Anything bigger that’s
Handy for Ozade, hats
Off if you think of some
Better arrangement for
Keeping it all to pour
Out. There’s a hundred more
Guests who will come.

“Scraps, you can’t mean that. Surely not a hundred?”

“A hundred, or I’m a dund’rhead.”

“I don’t think you’re a dunderhead at all.”

The Scarecrow of Oz, you must understand, is one of the most extraordinary of the extraordinary inhabitants of the Land of Oz. Once he had been an everyday scarecrow, but he found that he wasn’t very good at it, so he decided to make his way in the world like other men. Ever since the wonderful Wizard of Oz gave him his splendid brains, he has done very well indeed, and once even ruled this most magnificent of fairylands for a time. Now he divides his time between life in the Emerald City and the Tin Castle of his friend, Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman, who is the Emperor of the Winkies.

His friend, Scraps the Patchwork Girl, is both like and unlike him. Made of an old crazy quilt, she was brought to life to be a servant for the Crooked Magician’s wife, but having no patience with a servant’s life, she now lives in Princess Ozma’s palace in the Emerald City. Unlike the Scarecrow, Scraps was made with brains in her head from the start, but it sometimes shows that the ingredients weren’t mixed properly.

A hundred it is, or five minutes ago,
A hundred it was; but by now I don’t know.
I guess if I count up
Again, it could mount up
To two or three hundred or so.

To emphasize her point, the Patchwork Girl turned a somersault.

“But does Princess Ozma know about it?”

Scraps pointed to the doorway.

She does,
she’s here,
the dear.

The Scarecrow looked up to the top of the stairs, and saw the lovely little ruler of Oz standing in the door, together with Princess Dorothy.

“It’s a good thing, Dorothy,” said the fairy, as the two descended the stairs, “that we didn’t decide to have a surprise party to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of your first arrival in Oz. With all these guests arriving, it would certainly be hard to keep it a secret from you.”

“I know. This looks like it will be even a bigger celebration than the one we had for the Wizard and me, all those years ago—the one that King Skamperoo interrupted. At least when he comes, this time, he’ll be coming as a guest, and not as the Emperor of Oz.”

“Yes; Skampavia is a friend of Oz, now. In fact, almost all the magical countries near Oz are our friends; and we owe many of those friendships to you. That’s one reason so many people are coming to the celebration; your arrival in Oz is one of the most important events in history.”

“It feels funny, Ozma, as though I were George Washington, or Joan of Arc. And I’m only a little girl.”

“That’s true, Dorothy, but, after all, even if you are still a little girl, remember that we still had your one-hundredth birthday party a few years ago, so you’ve had a much bigger chance to make history than most mortals ever get.”

“I know.” Dorothy smiled. “Even now, it still feels strange to be more than a hundred years old.”

“No-one to look at you,” said the Scarecrow, “would think that you were over a hundred.”

And, indeed, no one would. Although Princess Dorothy of Oz has reached her second century, she still looks just the same as she did when she came to live in Oz almost ninety years ago. This is the nature of that very special fairyland, that no one grows any older than he wants to, or ever has to die. Dorothy is originally from Kansas, in the United States of America, but after four exciting adventures in the land of Oz, she came to live there permanently, along with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em.

Her companion, Princess Ozma, looks hardly older than Dorothy, although she owes her youth, not to the enchantment of Oz, but to the fact that she is an immortal fairy, far older than anyone could even believe. During Dorothy’s first trip to Oz, Ozma had been hidden under a transformation, but soon after, she was found, and took her rightful place as ruler of the Emerald City and of all Oz. She has always been a just and fair ruler, and is loved by practically all her people.

“Ozma,” said the Scarecrow, “if, as Scraps tells me, we have a hundred or more extra guests coming, I don’t see how we can manage.”

“It will take a lot of work, and we will have to increase the palace staff. Jellia Jamb is interviewing new maids now, and we will take on some more guest valets, as well. The Wizard of Oz will see to it that the food does not run out, and as for the guest rooms, haven’t you ever noticed that there are always enough of them in the palace, no matter how many people arrive?”

“But,” said Dorothy, “it seems like such a lot of bother just for me.”

“Why,” said Ozma, “a little or a lot of bother, that’s what friends are for. Besides, even though the party may be to celebrate the centennial of your first journey to Oz, we’ll all share in enjoying it, and that’s what celebrations are for.”

“And there’s a lot to celebrate,” added the Scarecrow. “If you hadn’t been blown to Oz by that cyclone, you would never have found me, and I suppose I’d still be up on that pole. Nick Chopper would still be rusted solid in the Munchkin Forest, the Cowardly Lion would still be living as a wild beast, and half of Oz would still be ruled by wicked witches. Why, Oztory practically begins with you.”

Scraps began running up the stairs. As she went, she shouted over her shoulder:

If Oztory all starts with Dorothy,
Then on day after tomorrow, the
Hon’rable guests will all want to be seen with her.
Yet if we don’t finish the dinner,
Our Dorothy’s sure to get thinner,
And then everyone will just have to grow lean with her!

“Scraps is right, Ozma,” said the Scarecrow. “We’re all going to be very busy getting things ready, even if we start right now. Fortunately, she and I never need to sleep.”

“True,” said Ozma. “That’s why I’ve put the two of you in charge of things. But with such a surprising number coming, I’m sure you’ll be glad of the extra help.”

“We’ll be very glad, indeed,” said the Scarecrow, “as long as they’re really helpful.”

“I’m sure they will be,” said Ozma.

“At any rate,” said Dorothy, “they’ll be going to work at noon, today, so we should all finish organizing things before then.”

“That’s true,” said the Scarecrow, and they all followed him up the stairs after the Patchwork Girl.

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Chapter 3: Into Oz

Uncle Joe looked around. There was no other door but the door to the room he had come from, and the windows were closed and locked on the inside. There were no closets or other hiding places and no one was concealed under the desk that held the computer. Dorothy Anne had vanished completely.

“Think, Joe, think,” he said to himself. “She didn’t go out the door, she didn’t go out the window, and there’s no place else she could have gone. Sherlock Holmes said, ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’ There are the helmet and the gloves.... What if somehow these gadgets—took her? It’s a crazy idea, but every other idea I can think of seems even crazier.”

He looked at the screen of the computer; there was nothing unusual there. If Dorothy Anne had started A Day in Oz, it had stopped running.

There was only one way to tell what had happened, and that was to try himself. He picked up the helmet and sat in the chair. Then he put on the gloves and helmet. In the helmet, he once again saw an image of the desktop floating in the air in front of him. He reached out, and touched the icon labeled “A Day in Oz”, and a window opened up, displaying the following:

You wonder what happened to the little girl who was using the computer before you, so you decide that there is only one way to tell. You pick up the helmet and sit in the chair. Then you put on the gloves and helmet. In the helmet, you once again see an image of the desktop floating in the air in front of you. You reach out, and touch the icon labeled “A Day in Oz”, and a window opens up, displaying strangely familiar text. Then everything begins to blur around you, and you suddenly find yourself in....

Then everything began to blur around him, and he suddenly found himself in a clearing near an old farmhouse. Nearby, there was an old-fashioned mailbox on a post. Feeling very strange, indeed, he reached out and opened the mailbox. In the mailbox was a note. Slowly, he reached in, took out the note, and read it.

Hello Ozite! Welcome to A Day in Oz! In it, you will find enchantments, strange creatures, new friends, old friends, old and new enemies, and, maybe, even an explanation or two. This note will return to the mailbox as soon as you have finished reading it, for the benefit of the next player.

True to its word, the note suddenly vanished from his hand, and reappeared inside the mailbox. The mailbox door closed, and then suddenly started to wrinkle and fold in upon itself, until the mailbox seemed to have a face. Then, to complete his consternation, the mailbox spoke. “I’m not supposed to help you out like this, but you look confused; Dorothy Anne went inside the house; you should go in after her.” As soon as the last word was spoken, the face vanished, and the mailbox was just a mailbox again.

“Well,” said Uncle Joe to himself, “that’s enough to make a dragon laugh, as one might say.”

The farmhouse was very old, and the wood it was made of had turned completely gray, as old wood is inclined to do when it is exposed to the weather. He walked up to the door and tried to open it, but it was locked, so he rapped upon it. “Dorothy Anne? Dorothy Anne? Are you in there?” But there was no answer.

This was a puzzle. If Dorothy Anne were in the house, she should be able to hear him, as the house was very, very small. On the other hand, if she weren’t, then he could be wasting time trying to get in. “But,” he said to himself, “this is supposed to be a computer game, and computer games are full of puzzles like locked doors, so it’s natural that I should run into one. In that case, I’ll have to solve it.”

But how? He looked at the two windows, but couldn’t open them or see anything through them. “And that means,” he reasoned, “that there aren’t any windows in the back or at the sides. The house is too tiny for there to be more than one room, so I would see sunlight from any other windows through these windows, if any other windows were there. I guess if there’s nothing left but the windows and the door, I’ll have to break a window. I can’t believe anyone actually lives here, so it won’t do any harm.”

Now, Uncle Joe, being a grown-up, was very aware of the dangers involved in breaking glass, so he looked around on the ground for a stone he could throw at the window, so as not to be near it when it broke. After a moment, he found a fine, round one that looked right, picked it up, and threw it at the window, only to get a big surprise when the stone stopped in mid-air and dropped to the ground. But the real surprise came a moment later, when a tiny little nymph appeared before his face, looking like the kind of winged fairy you see in old books.

“Vandalism is against the law, and not allowed,” she said, and vanished.

Uncle Joe had heard of nymphs like this before; sometimes they turn up in computer games to make something harder, when the one writing the game can’t think of any cleverer way of doing it. Apparently, whoever had written this game had decided that breaking the window open was cheating. “OK,” he said to himself, “let’s see if there’s another way. If I can’t use the door or the windows, then I have to go in through the roof or through the walls.” He stepped back to look at the roof, but couldn’t see anything, at least on the front side. “Let’s see what’s on the other sides, then,” he said, as he walked around to the left side of the house. There was nothing there, nor was there anything on the back wall, or the back roof. Finally, he walked around to the last side of the house, hoping that there would be something on that wall, but there wasn’t.

Then he looked again. There was a rain gully leading up to the wall and going under it. It was a large gully, large enough for a grown man to crawl in, so that is what he did. Climbing down into the gully, he got on his hands and knees and crawled up to the wall and then under it, to the space under the house. It was dark there, but some light came in through the gully behind him so that he could see.

Above him he could see the boards that made up the floor of the house and the beams that held them up. He could also see rusty nails pointing down at him, so he scrunched down to keep away from them, because rusty nails are very dangerous. As he did, he saw a golden glint out of the corner of his eye. He reached out, and discovered a piece of golden cloth, and then another just like it. They looked intriguing, so he stuffed them into his shirt pocket and continued on all fours along the gully.

As he got, as nearly as he could tell, to the center of the house, he saw a square panel above him, like a door. He pushed upwards on it, and found that a door was precisely what it was—a trap door that opened up into the house. Cautiously, he put his head through.

Inside the house, he saw a large bed, a small bed, a table and chairs, and a few other pieces of furniture, all made very simply out of wood. Lying on the small bed, fast asleep, was Dorothy Anne!

He quietly lifted himself up onto the floor, walked to the bed, and gently shook her. “Dorothy Anne, wake up.”

She opened her eyes and stretched. “Uncle Joe! Is that you? Was I asleep? Uncle Joe, do you know where we are? This is Oz! And this is Dorothy’s house from Kansas, the one that blew her away to Oz in a cyclone and landed on the Wicked Witch of the East! Only—you can’t be Uncle Joe, really, because this is a computer game, isn’t it?”

“No, dear, I’m afraid it isn’t. I’m not sure what it is, any more, but right after you started playing the game, you disappeared, and I used the game to follow you. You don’t have the helmet and the gloves on, any more, and I don’t think I do either. Try to take the gloves off, or the helmet.”

Dorothy Anne felt at her arms and at her head. “I can’t; they’re not there!”

Uncle Joe did the same. “And I can’t feel them or get them off, either. Somehow, that game has really brought us to the real Oz, and I have no idea how to get us home!”

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Chapter 4: Maisie Makes a Mistake

Maisie Meshie was feeling very proud. With all the work to be done for Princess Dorothy’s celebration, the call had gone out from Ozma’s palace for extra helpers, and nearly all the young men and women of the Emerald City had shown up at the door to be interviewed. Maisie had never been inside the palace before, and had found it almost overwhelming, but she found Jellia Jamb, Ozma’s housekeeper and one of the Emerald City’s great celebrities in her own right, very down-to-earth and friendly. Jellia had offered Maisie the job of cleaning up the royal conservatory, a sort of greenhouse attached to the palace, where all sorts of rare and strange plants are grown, and Maisie accepted it at once, for she had often helped out her mother in the kitchen garden.

When Maisie got to the conservatory, she was taken rather aback. It was much, much bigger than she ever thought it could be, and she knew right away that it would take her all day to get through it all. Indeed, if Ozma’s palace weren’t kept so clean and tidy as a matter of course, one girl would never have any hope of cleaning up the whole conservatory in one day, no matter how hard she went at it.

As Maisie was working, she saw all sorts of plants that she had never seen before, for the conservatory of Ozma’s palace contains nearly every kind of plant known in the great outside world, and quite a few of the extraordinary plants that grow only in Oz and the other magical lands nearby. There were giant sunflowers from the Winkie country, lunch-box and dinner-pail trees from Ev, and the completely unheard-of bagooda-fruit tree. There were dama-fruit from Voe, and pickle bushes from Mo, but only a plaster model of the people-bushes from the Land of the Mangaboos, since it would be cruel to Mangaboo people to keep them unpicked, and cruel to the people of the Emerald City to pick the haughty and unfeeling Mangaboos from their bushes, thus allowing them to walk about and annoy the populace.

Maisie swept up under and around each one, and carefully pruned away every dead branch she found. She had a little watering can, and whenever she found a plant that looked thirsty, she gave it a drink. Unfortunately, Maisie wasn’t an expert on exotic plants, and sometimes she made mistakes, watering one plant too little, or another plant too much. For the most part, this made little difference, but when she got to one plant, she made a very big mistake, indeed.

All by itself, sitting in a pot, there was a single cactus. Now, cactus plants grow in the desert, and are naturally inclined to live in very, very dry ground. In fact, people who keep them have to mark off days on the calendar for watering, because it is not time to water a cactus again until it has been so many days since the last time that you have forgotten that you have to do it.

This particular cactus had been watered by the gardener only two days ago, and didn’t need to be watered again for a long time, but to Maisie, who didn’t know anything about these matters, it looked as though it needed to be watered very badly. In fact, she emptied her entire little watering can onto it, and then, because it still looked dry, filled the can up from the tap, and poured it all out onto the plant again.

Even after this, the pot and the cactus still seemed to be dry, but Maisie was sensible enough to see that adding any more water would be just silly, so she went on with her work, never knowing what it was that she had done. Now, if this had been the outside world and an ordinary cactus plant, the poor plant would certainly have died from so much extra water, but, since this was Oz, not the outside world, and since this was not at all an ordinary cactus plant, something else happened.

As Maisie went out of sight, the cactus began to tremble, slightly at first, then violently, finally erupting in an enormous series of sneezes, sneezes that threw out a thick cloud of yellow smoke. As the smoke drifted away, there, where the pot and cactus had been, was a fat-bodied, thin-faced, very angry little Nome, none other, in fact, than Ruggedo, the former Nome King!

“Vesuvius and vinegar! Brimstone and brickbats! If I ever catch that Himself the Elf, I’ll boil him in lizard juice and have him with my tea! I’ll make him into elf cheese and spread him on slate crackers! More than sixty years to sit here as a vegetable! I, Ruggedo the great! Ruggedo the terrible! Ruggedo the conqueror of Oz!”

“But first things first,” he said, calming down. “If that confounded, do-gooding Ozma, or Glinda, or the Wizard, or any of those other bothersome namby-pambies catch me here, alone without any magic, they’ll just transform me again, and then where will I be? No, I must be clever, as clever as only I am. That foolish child did not see me, and no one else seems to know that I am awake. In time, they will miss the cactus in the pot, but for the last few days they have talked of nothing but a party they are planning for that hateful Princess Dorothy —Dorothy who stole my Magic Belt from me and gave it to Ozma, beginning all my woes—and so, for a time, they will not notice. No, I must be crafty, crafty, in this time I have been given.”

“The first thing I must do is find a place to conceal myself. Where? Under the palace? Yes. Under the palace there are places that only I remember, places that I dug myself, places that I found, places that only I know about, and places that no one at all knows about. Then, come nightfall, oh what I shall do!”

Ruggedo, you must understand, was for many years the king of the Nomes, who live underground, shunning the light. Many years ago, Dorothy and Ozma took from him a Magic Belt that he possessed, because he kept using it for wicked purposes. This made him so angry that he tried many times to conquer Oz with his Nome armies, until Tititi-Hoochoo, the great Jinjin who lives on the other side of the world, was finally forced to take his kingdom, which lies across the Deadly Desert from Oz, away from him, and give it to his chamberlain, a Nome named Kaliko. Still, by magical means, and with other armies that he managed to acquire from time to time, he continued to attempt the conquest of the Emerald City, until finally he was transformed by Himself the Elf into the cactus in a pot, in which form he had remained for many, many years.

Tiptoeing carefully, Ruggedo sneaked through the aisles of the conservatory, until he reached the door leading to the main palace building. Then, eyes roving in all directions for fear he would be seen, he began to make his way through the palace corridors, darting from one piece of furniture, statue, or drapery to another. After several minutes, he thought he heard voices, and tried to hide behind something large, before noticing that it was a large potted plant. “Ugh!” he said (not caring just then to be reminded of such things), and jumped into a small room.

As the voices drew nearer, he looked frantically about himself for a place to hide, but the room was empty, except for a queer-looking suitcase in the center. Ruggedo ran to the suitcase, and looked at it. On it was a label reading:

Professor Marzipan-Little’s Fractal Satchel—Anything goes right in

Ruggedo could hear footsteps, now. Seeing nothing else to do, he opened the satchel, and climbed into it.

The lining of the satchel was very loose, and for a moment, Ruggedo found himself lost in it. Then, as he moved forward, he turned his head a little to the right and found himself with his head poking out of the satchel’s opening. He started to duck back inside, when he noticed that the sounds from the corridor had vanished. After waiting a moment to be sure that they were really gone, he climbed out of the satchel, and carefully looked around. It was only then that he noticed that something had changed; the label on the satchel now read:

[Mirrored] Professor Marzipan-Little’s Fractal Satchel—Anything goes right in

“This must have taken me to the place where the other side of mirrors is,” thought Ruggedo. “I’ll have to go back inside to get back to the real palace.”

He climbed back in, and after once more becoming lost in the lining of the satchel, climbed out again, only to receive a great shock, because the label had now changed to read:

[Twisted] Professor Marzipan-Little’s Fractal Satchel—Anything goes right in

The Nome King was lost inside the satchel!

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Chapter 5: An Old Friend and an Old Enemy

Nick Chopper, the Emperor of the Winkies, was wondering whether he would ever be able to get away to Princess Dorothy’s celebration. He knew that everyone expected him at Ozma’s palace, but he had a job to do as Emperor, and he was beginning to question whether he would be able to get away in time.

“I appreciate your telling me this, Woot,” he said to the Gillikin boy before him, “but are you really sure of what you saw?”

“As sure as sure,” said Woot the Wanderer. “As I was walking through the Gillikin Forest, I heard a squirrel chattering above me, and looked up to see it. Suddenly, the squirrel vanished, and in its place there was an orange. Then I saw a green monkey drop down onto the branch, take the orange, and eat it.”

“But there is only one green monkey in the entire Land of Oz,” said the Emperor, “and that is Mrs. Yoop, the giantess. After she transformed you into a Green Monkey, Ozma had to place that form onto her in order to restore you to your proper shape. If you really saw what you say, then I’m really afraid that after all these years, Mrs. Yoop is back again, and has somehow regained her ability to do magic.”

“I am sure that is it,” said Woot, “for the monkey wore a little lace apron, just like the one I took from Mrs. Yoop all those years ago.”

I should say something about Nick Chopper, who is one of the most curious of the celebrities of the land of Oz. Once, he was a Munchkin woodchopper, but one day he got in trouble with the Wicked Witch of the East, who enchanted his ax so as to make it cut off his leg. When he got a new leg made of tin, the Witch made the ax cut off his other leg, and this continued until he was made of tin altogether. Soon after, he was caught outdoors in the rain and rusted, and there he stood, unable to move, until he was rescued by Dorothy on her first journey to Oz. While on that trip, he made the acquaintance of the Winkies, who were looking for a new ruler, and who were so impressed by his bright appearance that they chose him for the job. Now he lives in a beautiful tin castle, and, under Ozma, rules the entire western quarter of the land of Oz.

Years ago, when he was on a journey with his best friend the Scarecrow and this same young boy, Woot the Wanderer, they had run afoul of Mrs. Yoop, a giantess who practiced the Yookoohoo form of magic. She transformed them into a tin owl, a stuffed bear, and a green monkey, but with the aid of a powerful fairy, who had also been captured by the wicked woman, they escaped with Mrs. Yoop’s magic apron and found Ozma, who was able to restore all of them to their true forms, except, at first, for Woot. In order to make a boy of Woot again, Ozma had been forced to transform Mrs. Yoop herself into the same green monkey, and because Ozma thought this punishment enough, nothing more was done to her.

“Do you think we should tell Ozma about this?” said Woot.

“I do,” said the Tin Woodman, “but now it occurs to me that I remember Ozma writing me out a receipt, in case Mrs. Yoop ever came back.” He reached out and rang a tin bell.

“You rang, your imperial majesty?” said the Winkle majordomo who entered the throne room.

“Please go to my study, and in the fourth drawer in the fifth row of drawers in the third cabinet, please find a green box and bring it to me.”

“Yes, your imperial majesty,” said the servant, who bowed, turned smartly, and left the way he came.

“Ozma told me that she thought that Mrs. Yoop would be unable to work magic after being transformed into a green monkey, but that, Yookoohoo magic being very strange, she thought I should be prepared. Perhaps we can use what she put in the box to solve this problem for ourselves, and, if not, at least we will have tried.”

The majordomo returned. “Here is the box, your imperial majesty,” he said, presenting it.

The Tin Woodman took it. “You may go,” he said to the servant, who departed.

“What’s in the box?” said Woot.

“Let’s see,” said the Emperor, opening it.

Inside the box was a folded slip of very old paper. Unfolded, it said the following:

To defeat a Yookoohoo once and for all, make the clocks run on time.

“That doesn’t make much sense,” said Woot.

“No, it doesn’t,” said the Tin Woodman, “but I suppose Ozma will know what it means. Fortunately for us, I was expected to travel to the Emerald City today, anyhow. Ozma sent the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon to fetch me, and they are waiting, now. But, as you are mortal, and need to eat and sleep, we shall wait until the morning.”

*   *   *   *   *

Early on the next day, Woot and the Tin Woodman went out to the stables. There, waiting for them, was the famous Sawhorse of Oz, hitched to Ozma’s equally famous Red Wagon. The Sawhorse was originally a regular sawhorse made out of a log with four legs added on, but it had been brought to life with a magic powder. It is now the most famous horse in Oz, and the fastest, and it never grows tired.

“Hello,” said the Sawhorse. “Are you ready to leave now?”

“Yes, indeed,” said the Emperor. “Woot the Wanderer, here, is traveling with us. He’s the reason we didn’t leave last night. Unlike you and me, he needs to eat.”

“Yes,” said the quaint creature. “For myself, I am happy that I do not have to eat, for it must be a terrible inconvenience either to stop what one is doing just to eat, or to suffer when it is not possible to do so.”

“That is true,” said the Tin Woodman, “but I remember when I was made of meat and ate like others. It did not seem so inconvenient, then.”

“Your Majesty is very wise,” said the boy, “but I am sorry to be the cause of delay. Still, a good meal is a very pleasant thing.”

“Since I have never eaten,” said the Sawhorse, “I must leave the question to you two, who have more knowledge than I. Many people seem to enjoy arguing about things they do not understand, but I see no sense in it.”

“Climb in here, Woot,” said the Tin Woodman. “We must get our news to Ozma.”

The boy did as he was bid, and the Emperor followed him. At once, the Sawhorse started to draw the Red Wagon behind him, running faster and faster until Woot could barely see the scenery as it flashed past him. Most wagons would no doubt shake themselves to pieces, but the Red Wagon, which has been equipped by the Wizard of Oz with the very finest magical springs and bearings, glided along behind the Sawhorse far more smoothly than the most expensive automobile traveling down the finest highway in America.

So smoothly did the Red Wagon progress along the road that the passengers did not even notice it when they passed under a tree and a green monkey wearing a lace apron dropped out of a branch and into the empty rear seat.

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Chapter 6: Uncle Joe Meets ZIP

Don’t worry, Uncle Joe,” said Dorothy Anne. “If we’re really in Oz, all we have to do is find Ozma; she can send us back with her Magic Belt.”

“I suppose that’s true,” replied her uncle. “But how do we go about finding Ozma?”

“That’s easy. If this is Dorothy’s house that fell on the witch, then we’re in Munchkinland, so all we have to do to get to the Emerald City is to follow the yellow-brick road.”

“Which way?”

“I don’t know. Don’t you remember? Some of the Oz books say that the Munchkins live east of the Emerald City, and some say they are to the west. So we’ll have to find a Munchkin and ask which way it really is.”

“Yes, I think you’re right. But listen, dear, why didn’t you answer when I called? I know you were asleep, but this is a very small house, so I should have awakened you. Come to think of it, how did you go to sleep in the first place? I reached this place only a minute or two after you left.”

“I don’t know,” said the little girl. “When I saw the house, I knew right away that it had to be Dorothy’s, because the houses in Oz are round, and this is square, so when I couldn’t get in the front door, I remembered from the book that there was a trap door under the house, so I looked for a way to crawl under, and I found it. But when I got inside, all of a sudden I was so tired, I just had to lie down and sleep.”

“Wait a minute! Uncle Joe, I remember now! I had a dream! I dreamed I was in a big skyscraper, and there was no way out. And I was afraid, because I didn’t even know how I got there. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a great, big voice, saying:”

There's only one way out; did you surmise
The route by now? For if ’tis a surprise,
Perhaps it is too late, but if you’re wise,
You’ve found the _____________________

“Only then you woke me up, and I don’t know how it ended.”

“Hmmm,” said Uncle Joe. “I hope we weren’t supposed to know how that poem ended. It’s funny how, even if this is the real Oz, things keep happening the way they do in a computer game.”

“Well,” said Dorothy Anne, “a regular computer game couldn’t have brought us to the real Oz, so maybe it was a magic computer game. And if it was a magic computer game, then we could still be part of it even without the computer.”

“I wonder,” said her uncle. “Anyway, I guess we should get going. I don’t know what we can do for food on the road, but people in the Oz books always get along, somehow, so I guess we can, too. Do you feel like crawling under the house again?”

“Can’t we go out through the door?”

“No, I guess not. Dorothy locked the door a hundred years ago, and back in those days, locks worked the same on both sides, so if it’s locked on the outside, it’s locked on the inside, too. But you’ve given me an idea, all the same.” Saying this, Uncle Joe walked over to one of the windows and opened it up. “Let’s go out this way.”

The two of them climbed the window to the outside. Then, as they stood outside, Uncle Joe picked up the stone he had thrown at the window before, turned around, and threw it again at the open window. As before, the stone stopped in mid-air and dropped to the ground. Then the tiny little nymph appeared before his face, as before.

“Vandalism is against the law, and not allowed,” she said, and stopped. “But.... Oh dear, the window is supposed to be closed when I appear.”

“I know,” said Uncle Joe. “I guess I got you.”

“I guess you did,” said the nymph. “But what am I supposed to do now? All my instructions say is to pop out when someone tries to break one of the windows and stop him. If anyone can just climb in the window anyway, I don’t know what’s going to become of me.”

“Don’t you have anything else to do? Can’t you just go home?” said Dorothy Anne.

“No,” said the nymph. “My only job was stopping people from breaking those windows, and most of us Computer-game Nymphs haven’t had a real home since the Castle of the Implementors was knocked down to make room for a wrestling arena, years ago. Every once in a while, we may get work in a game, but the rest of the time we have nothing to do at all.”

“That’s too bad,” said Dorothy Anne. “I’m sorry we ruined the game for you.”

“Oh, it’s all right,” said the nymph. “The truth is that you two are the only people who were supposed to play A Day in Oz, anyway, so my job here was already over.”

“Wait a minute!” said Uncle Joe. “Do you mean that you know what’s going on here? Who brought us here, and what is this all about?”

“I’m sorry,” said the nymph, “but I don’t know anything about this. They just told me that I had to stop people who tried to break the windows and that only two people would be playing the game, a little girl, and a grown-up man. My real problem now is that I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. You see, we nymphs don’t stay around inside games; we just appear when we’re supposed to, and when we do what we’re supposed to do, we go back where we came from. But now, I seem to be stuck here.”

“Oh dear!” said Uncle Joe. “I’m truly sorry!”

“Don’t be,” said the nymph. “Now, for the first time, I get to have an adventure, myself, instead of complicating other people’s adventures. It will be fun!”

“Well, I’m glad you feel that way,” said Uncle Joe. “But we should introduce ourselves. I’m Joe Robertson, and this is my niece, Dorothy Anne Peridot.”

“I’m ZIP,” said the nymph.

“And we’re going to go to the Emerald City, to see if Ozma can send us home,” added Dorothy Anne. “Maybe she can do something to help you, too. Uncle Joe, doesn’t this seem just like The Wizard of Oz, except that we’re going to see Ozma, instead of the Wizard?”

“It certainly does, dear. But of course Oz and the yellow-brick road got much safer after Ozma came to the throne, so I don’t know if we will have as many adventures as Dorothy and her three friends did.”

“I thought you said she was Dorothy,” said ZIP, pointing to Dorothy Anne.

“No, I’m Dorothy Anne Peridot. Dorothy Gale —Princess Dorothy of Oz, now—is someone else, but she had an adventure like this, once upon a time. In fact, this house belongs to her.”

“Oh,” said ZIP.

“Well, let’s see if we can find the yellow-brick road,” said Uncle Joe. “We don’t know whether to go east or west, but since we don’t know where in the world Oz is, or what time it is in Oz, I also can’t use the sun to know which way east and west are, at least until it is nearer to sunrise or sunset than it is now.”

“But I believe the yellow-brick road ought to be very near the house, so if we just look around, we should find it. Let’s all look.”

In half a minute, they found the road, and started walking down it, “For,” as Uncle Joe reasoned, “even if we go the wrong way, we are likely to meet someone who will know the right way, while if we don’t go any way, we’ll never get anywhere.”

After about five minutes, they came to a round house, in the usual Oz style. In front of the house, there was a sign.

This was one of the homes of the
Wicked Witch of the East
who was destroyed when
Princess Dorothy’s house fell on her.
All persons are notified
never to set foot in here!

Suddenly, Uncle Joe felt something scratching inside his shirt. He reached inside, and found the two pieces of golden cloth from under the house. As he took them out, they suddenly started to twist about like snakes and jump out of his hands. As Dorothy Anne, ZIP, and Uncle Joe looked on in astonishment, they filled out, until you could see that they were stockings, and that, although they were filled with nothing but air, they were dancing as through legs were inside them!

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Chapter 7: The Nome King’s Plan

Think, Ruggedo, think!”

The Nome King had been in the room that was inside the second satchel for several hours. Fearing to become lost forever, he decided not to enter the third satchel until he had some notion of how they worked. “For,” as he reasoned, “no one would have made this with only a way to get in, and no way to get out.” Over and over he contemplated the words on the satchel: “Professor Marzipan-Little’s Fractal Satchel: Anything goes right in.” Well, Ruggedo was right in, all right! But how to get out?

Suddenly, he had an idea he thought worth trying. He climbed into the satchel once more, and after twisting his way through the lining, found himself in the room again. Holding his breath, he looked at the label on the satchel. It read:

[Mirrored] Professor Marzipan-Little’s Fractal Satchel—Anything goes right in

“Yes!” said the Nome King to himself. “I’ve solved it!” Quickly he climbed into the satchel again and turned his way through, coming out again. This time, just as he expected, the label said:

Professor Marzipan-Little’s Fractal Satchel—Anything goes right in

“I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it!” said Ruggedo, so excited that he began to dance a little jig. “And I know just what it is that I’m going to do with this little bag of tricks, oh yes I do! You’re coming with me, my wonderful discovery, yes you are!” He picked up the satchel and poked his face out the door of the room. Due to the time the Nome King had spent inside the satchel, it was night now, and he neither saw nor heard anyone on his way as he scuttled right into Ozma’s throne room, and into the antechamber where Ruggedo knew that Ozma kept the Magic Picture.

Ozma’s Magic Picture is one of the greatest treasures of Oz, because where ordinary pictures stand still, the Magic Picture shows whatever is happening at some distant place. Of course, scientists and engineers in the great outside world have learned how to make televisions since the Magic Picture was made, but the Magic Picture is still more wonderful than television, because a television can show only what is seen by a television camera, while the Magic Picture shows anything, anywhere in the world, and all that is necessary is to tell the picture what it is to show.

Ruggedo had a plan to use the picture. He commanded it to show him the location of Ozma’s Magic Belt, and of the Little Black Bag the Wizard of Oz keeps all his best magic in. “I can’t get to Glinda now,” he said to himself, “for she lives far to the south of the Emerald City, but once I have the Magic Belt—my Magic Belt—and the Little Black Bag, I’ll be able to take care of Glinda, yes I will.”

Having ascertained that the Magic Belt was hanging in a closet in Ozma’s bedchamber, and that the Wizard of Oz kept his Little Black Bag under his bed, Ruggedo picked up the satchel again and made his way to the hall containing Princess Ozma’s suite. Here, however, he found a problem, for at the entrance to Ozma’s rooms, he found a guard. (Ozma is not afraid of her people, and requires no guard for that reason, but it wouldn’t be proper for the ruler of all Oz to have no guards at all, and so she keeps a few on hand, for respectability’s sake.) But Ruggedo had a plan to get past any guards.

He put the satchel on the floor, and climbed inside it. Just as he hoped, when he made his way out of the satchel, he was not in the room where he found it, but was still in the hall outside of Ozma’s room. But here, inside the satchel, there was no guard. Quickly, he picked up the satchel and ran into Ozma’s bedchamber, which was empty. Then he entered the closet where the Magic Picture had shown him the Belt.

There was no belt there, but Ruggedo knew what to do. He dropped the satchel, climbed in, and came back out in the real closet. Moving quickly and quietly (for he knew that Ozma was asleep in the room outside the closet), he took the Belt from where it was hanging, buckled it about his waist, and then climbed back inside the satchel. Once he came out in the closet inside the satchel, he scurried on his way to the suite of rooms belonging to the Wizard of Oz.

Carefully, he put the satchel down beside the bed, next to the place where the Magic Picture had shown the Little Black Bag to be. Then he held his breath and extended his arm out of the satchel. His questing hand soon found the bag, and he grasped it and drew it inside. Having succeeded in his thefts, he picked up the satchel one last time and ran through the halls and down the stairs into the palace basement. After searching for a few minutes, he found a secret entrance into the tunnels he himself had built long ago on his first attempt to conquer Oz, and there he returned to the real world.

“Very well,” he said to himself. “I have my Magic Belt and that confounded Wizard’s Little Black Bag, and I have a nice, safe place where no one can find me or the satchel. Now I can sit and think, and make sure that I have a plan with no mistakes in it, so that no one, no one at all, will be able to stop me this time.”

And so Ruggedo sat and thought. He thought and thought as he had never thought before in all his long, wicked life. He thought about every time he had tried to conquer the Emerald City and about how, every time, he had failed. He thought about tunnels, beasts, and all sorts of magical devices that had been the key to wonderful, clever plots, all of which had failed completely. He thought, too, about other would-be conquerors, and how they had failed. Finally, he thought he had a plan, the greatest plan for conquering Oz that anyone had ever had.

The first thing he had to do was to stop Glinda the Good from interfering. Glinda, as the most powerful sorceress in Oz, has often defeated effortlessly, and in only a moment, villains who had thoroughly overcome Ozma, “and so,” thought Ruggedo, “it may be that she has never yet shown the full extent of her powers.”

Ruggedo knew that one danger to him was Glinda’s Great Book of Records, on the pages of which appear, at once, everything that happens anywhere in the world. Even if he could stop Glinda, someone else might read something in the book that would be dangerous to him. “Still,” said Ruggedo, “that’s simple to take care of. Magic Belt, let’s see how well you’re working after all these years. Bring Glinda’s Book of Records here!” At once, at the Magic Belt’s command, the Book of Records appeared before Ruggedo.

“And now, three more little jobs for you, my precious Belt! First, move Glinda to her own palace, but inside the satchel, inside the satchel, inside the satchel, a thousand times inside the satchel!”

*   *   *   *   *

Far away, in the south country of the Quadlings, lies Glinda’s beautiful palace. In her bedchamber, the lovely sorceress lay sleeping, when, suddenly, she vanished. But in the world one thousand and three times inside the satchel, where there was a palace just like the real one, Glinda suddenly appeared, and awoke with a start. Wondering what it could have been that awakened her, she turned to the nightstand at the side of her bed, picked up the little bell that was there, and rang it.

She expected one of the lovely young ladies that make up her private guard to answer, and was disturbed when no one came. She rang the bell again, and again there was nothing but silence. After a minute, she arose, put on a dressing gown, and went out to explore the palace by the light of the moon.

Wherever she looked, she found no one. Even the swans that draw her chariot through the air were nowhere to be seen. After an hour, her situation was plain; she was completely alone in the palace. What was more, her Book of Records had disappeared. As dawn appeared, Glinda, dressed in a jacket and trousers to make traveling easier, set out on the road to the north, hoping to find an answer to her questions in the Emerald City.

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Chapter 8: The Witch’s Return

The golden stockings continued to dance, while Dorothy Anne and Uncle Joe stared in wonder and ZIP just stared. But, after a few moments, the dance ceased, and the stockings were still, as though the one in them were standing and thinking. Suddenly, they turned and ran into the cottage, not even stopping at the door, which opened before them and closed behind them as quickly and neatly as the automatic doors at the supermarket.

“Uncle Joe, what was that?!” said Dorothy Anne.

“I don’t know, but I have a terrible feeling,” said her uncle. “I found those stockings while I was searching under the farmhouse, before. I didn’t know what they were, but they seemed interesting. Now I’m afraid they might be the very stockings the Wicked Witch of the East was wearing when the house fell on her.”

“You mean that golden stockings go with silver slippers?”

“Yes, I do. I would hate to think that somehow I may have turned loose some of the old witch’s wickedness when I picked those stockings up, but I’m afraid that that’s just what I’ve done.”

“But we have to find out what’s going on in there, don’t we? Shouldn’t we go into the house and see if they’re doing something, and make them stop?”

“I don’t know, dear. The sign seems to say that no one should go inside that house, and I wouldn’t want to go breaking Ozma’s law?”

“Do you want to go inside, though?” asked ZIP.

“I think it would be a good idea, ZIP, but the sign says: ‘All persons are notified never to set foot in here,’ and I don’t like to go against the Law. Back in America, the Law says that’s it’s all right to break the Law if you absolutely, positively have to, to stop something worse from happening, but this is Oz, not America, and, besides, we don’t know why the law says not to go in, and we don’t know what’s going on inside, or if we could stop it if we wanted to.”

“But we know it probably has something to do with the witch, and that means we should probably stop it,” said Dorothy Anne.

“Excuse me,” said ZIP, “but I can go into the cottage without setting foot in it, you know. With my wings, I can fly in, and see what’s happening. The sign says no one may set foot in there, but it doesn’t say anything about not flying in.”

“Well,” said Uncle Joe, “perhaps you’re right, there. If this were America, I’d argue with you for treating the Law like a riddle, but it seems to me that that’s just the way the Law is always handled in fairy countries, so I suppose it must be all right. Go on in, then, if you can, but be careful.”

“Hooray!” said ZIP. “I’m off upon my very first adventure!” Quickly the little nymph flew to the door, but found that it wouldn’t open to her. She flitted around to the windows, but they were all closed. “Try the chimney,” cried out Dorothy Anne (who had forgotten for the moment that whatever was inside the house might hear her), and that is what ZIP did.

Carefully, at first, for she feared there might be a fire below, she flew down the chimney, eventually passing through a stovepipe into an old, potbellied stove in the cottage kitchen. As she flittered about, looking for an exit, she suddenly heard a loud Clang! The stove door opened before her, and a shovel came through it. As ZIP flew back up toward the stovepipe, so as to escape the shovel, she saw that it was being used to remove ashes from the stove—for this was the very old-fashioned sort of stove that burns wood, or coal, instead of using gas or electricity. The shovel took out seven loads, but did not reappear for an eighth time.

ZIP slowly flew back down to the stove door, and looked out. There she saw a most peculiar sight. Great double handfuls of ash were gathering together on the floor, lifting themselves a few feet into the air, and then falling apart and cascading back down. At first, ZIP couldn’t imagine what this could possibly mean, but, as she watched, she saw that some of the ashes stuck in the air, halfway down, and that they were slowly beginning to form the shape of an old woman, whose legs were in the golden stockings, and whose arms and hands were picking up and dropping the ashes upon herself.

As more and more ashes made the old woman’s form, ZIP imagined she could hear a voice singing something. At first, it was very small, like this:

From ash to ash,
My form I’ll take,
And teeth will gnash
And knees will quake....

but as ashes continued to accumulate, it sounded more like this:

And I will make
Her sorry, who’s
The one to take
My silver shoes!

until, finally, it sounded like this:

From ash to ash,
My form I’ll take,
And teeth will gnash
And knees will quake,
And I will make
Her sorry, who’s
The one to take
My silver shoes!

and as ZIP looked on in dismay, the Wicked Witch of the East took form, just as she was in life, except that instead of showing any colors, she was all in shades of gray, like a black-and-white photograph.

Wasting no time, ZIP flew back up the stovepipe and out the chimney. “The stockings took ashes from the stove, and kept pouring them out, and there’s a witch there now! She was singing something about getting even with someone who took her shoes.”

Dorothy Anne and Uncle Joe turned to each other, worried. “Uncle Joe, it’s the Wicked Witch of the East, come back to life, and she wants to do something to Dorothy! We have to get to the Emerald City and warn her!”

“Yes, I’m afraid you’re right.”

“Only—oh! Uncle Joe! We still don’t know which way the Emerald City is!”

“Yes we do. Since Dorothy never went by the Witch’s house when she went to the Emerald City, we know now that we’ve been going the wrong way on the yellow-brick road. We have to go back the way we came.”

“Oh, of course! But can we get there before the Witch does? She has all kinds of magic, and it will take us days to make the trip.”

“Maybe I can help,” said ZIP. “My specialty is slowing people down, after all.”

“But that was in computer games,” said Uncle Joe, “computer games that were set up so that your tricks would always work. This may be partly a computer game, but it’s also real life, where no one wrote the story ahead of time. Your tricks could fail, and you could even be hurt. No, I think it will be smarter if you fly on ahead of us to the Emerald City. You can get there faster than we can, and, because you’re something like a fairy, yourself, perhaps Ozma will be more ready to believe you.”

“Oh!” said ZIP. “I suppose you’re right. But let me do one trick to slow down the Wicked Witch before we leave.”

She flew over to the door of the cottage, and did something that Dorothy Anne and Uncle Joe couldn’t see, but when she came back, there was something odd about the door that made their eyes hurt when they tried to look at it. “What did you do?” said Uncle Joe.

“Oh, I sort of broke the door,” said ZIP. “I fixed it so it’s open and closed at the same time. The Witch won’t be able to get out, because the door is closed, but she won’t be able to open it, because it’s already open.”

“But that doesn’t make sense,” said Dorothy Anne.

“I don’t know about making sense,” said ZIP, “but it happens all the time in computer games.”

“That’s true,” said Uncle Joe, with a wry grin.

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Chapter 9: Princess Dorothy is Puzzled

Good morning, Ozma! I’m sorry I’m late, but Scraps caught me on the way here, and wanted me to approve everything she and the Scarecrow got done overnight.” Princess Dorothy stepped through a door into Ozma’s private garden, where they had arranged to meet for breakfast. “Ozma?” Dorothy looked about, but the ruler of Oz was nowhere to be seen. On a little table there sat an untouched breakfast laid out for two.

Dorothy went back through the door into Ozma’s private sitting room. “Ozma?” she called, but there was no answer. Wondering what could have happened to Ozma, she made her way into each room of the suite, but without success.

Giving up, she left the royal apartment, and headed for the throne room. On the way, she met Jellia Jamb. “Jellia,” said Dorothy, “have you seen Ozma anywhere? We were supposed to meet for breakfast in her garden, but she wasn’t there, and I couldn’t find her anywhere in her apartment.”

“I’m sure I don’t know, Princess Dorothy,” replied the little maid. “She ordered breakfast in the garden for two before retiring last night, and it was delivered on time, but I haven’t seen her, and I don’t know whether she ever showed up. If you say she didn’t, I can’t imagine what could have happened to her.”

“Perhaps she had business that wouldn’t wait,” said Dorothy. “It is unusual that she wouldn’t send word to me about breakfast, but p’rhaps it was an emergency, and she didn’t have time. I’ll go look for her in the throne room.”

Dorothy proceeded on to the throne room. As she turned a corner, she ran head-on into two large, ferocious beasts, a lion, and a tiger. “Hello, Dorothy,” said the lion.

“Hello, Lion, and hello to you, too, Hungry Tiger. I’m glad to see you got here in time for the celebration. Have you seen Ozma? We were going to meet for breakfast, but I can’t find her.”

“Now Dorothy,” said the Hungry Tiger, “how could we miss your party? After all, the Cowardly Lion here was part of your very first adventure in Oz, so he had to be here.”

“And Tiger is my best friend,” continued the Lion, “so he had to be here. But to answer your question about Ozma, I’m afraid we haven’t seen her. Still that doesn’t mean much, for we just now arrived at the palace, and were headed straight for your apartment. Perhaps you should look in the throne room.”

“That’s just what I was doing,” said Dorothy.

“And we’ll come with you,” said the Cowardly Lion. The three went on their way.

I hope you have heard of the famous Cowardly Lion of Oz. At one time he lived in the forest, with all the other beasts, and was very unhappy, because whenever danger threatened, he was afraid. When Dorothy met him on her first journey to Oz, they traveled together to meet the Wizard of Oz, who gave the Lion a dish of courage to drink. Sometimes the Lion thinks the Wizard’s courage must have worn out, because he is still afraid when he is in danger, but somehow he always seems to end up doing the brave thing anyway, so everyone likes him just as much. In fact, there is no better companion in all Oz to take on a dangerous journey.

Near the end of his first adventure with Dorothy, the Lion became King of the Quadling Forest, and it was there that he met his friend the Hungry Tiger, who is always hungry because his conscience won’t allow him to eat a fat baby, even though he really wants to. Now he and the Lion divide their time between their friends in the forest and their friends at Ozma’s court.

When they arrived in the throne room, there was Ozma, sitting on the throne. “Good morning, Ozma!” said Dorothy.

“Good morning, Ozma!” said the Cowardly Lion.

“Good morning, Ozma!” said the Hungry Tiger.

“Good morning,” said Ozma.

There was an awkward silence. Finally, Dorothy broke it. “I’m sorry I was late getting to your garden for breakfast. When I got there, I couldn’t find you.”

“No, I wasn’t there,” said Ozma.

“Oh,” said Dorothy.

After a moment, Dorothy continued. “So I guess something happened?”

“Yes,” said Ozma.

“Oh,” said Dorothy. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes,” said Ozma.

“Oh,” said Dorothy again. “Are we going to have breakfast now?”

“No,” said Ozma. “I’m busy.”

“Oh,” said Dorothy, one more time. “Then I guess we’ll just leave, if you don’t mind.”

“No, I don’t mind,” said Ozma.

“Oh,” said Dorothy. “Well, I guess we’ll be going, then.”

“Yes,” said Ozma.

Dorothy stared for a moment at her friend, and then left the throne room. The Lion and the Tiger came with her.

As soon as they were out of earshot, Dorothy suddenly halted and turned to the Lion. “Oh, Lion,” she said. “I don’t understand. What can be wrong with Ozma?”

“I don’t know,” said the great beast. “Tiger, have you any ideas?”

“No, I don’t,” said the Hungry Tiger. “Dorothy, are you sure you haven’t hurt Ozma’s feelings somehow?”

“I don’t think so. When I saw her last night, she was perfectly happy, and I haven’t seen her since. I was a few minutes late for breakfast, but Ozma knows how busy we’ve all been, and she would never make a fuss over something like that. Besides, I said I was sorry, and I truly was, and Ozma never holds a grudge.”

“Do you think something could be wrong with Ozma?” said the Cowardly Lion.

“I don’t know,” replied Dorothy.

“Do you think the Wizard can help?” said the Tiger. “I don’t know,” Dorothy said again, “but even if he can’t, we’d be no worse off than we are now.”

“That’s true,” said the Lion. “Let’s go see him now.” Together, the three walked to the palace apartment of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Perhaps I should explain here that the Wizard came from America, just like Dorothy, and when he first came to Oz, he wasn’t a real wizard at all. But somehow or other, he managed to make the Ozites believe that he was, and had them build the Emerald City for him. When Dorothy found out that he was nothing but a humbug, he went back to America, but a few years later, he came back, and the good sorceress Glinda taught him real magic. Since then, he has invented all sorts of new magic, some of it based on mechanical and scientific ideas from America, so that it is hard to say which of the two knows the more magic now. Only these two are allowed by Ozma to work magic at large in Oz, because she trusts them not to create mischief with it.

On the way, they bumped into the Scarecrow, and Dorothy told him about Ozma’s strange behavior. “It seems to me that you are right, Dorothy,” he said. “Let us ask the Wizard what this can mean.”

When Dorothy and her friends got to the Wizard’s rooms, they paused in surprise, for the door was wide open. This was most unusual, for the Wizard of Oz spends most of his time in his rooms either asleep, or else performing experiments in magic that it is very dangerous to disturb, so his doors are never left open, and Dorothy knew this. She explained to the others.

“I do not like it, Dorothy,” said the Lion, “for there is likely to be danger in these rooms, but I suppose I will have to go in, and see whether anything has happened to the Wizard.”

“Thank you, Lion,” said Dorothy, “but I don’t think you’ll have to do that. If there’s anything bad in there it’s most likely magical, and not a wild animal, so I expect we would all would be in just about as much danger as each other. We can all four go in together.”

“Very well,” said the Lion, “but I’ll go first, just the same,” and he led the rest into the first room. There, the three saw nothing but an empty rack for coats and hats and two doors, one to the Wizard’s workshop, and one to his bedroom.

“I’ll look in the bedroom,” whispered the Tiger. “Lion, you and the others look in the workshop.”

The three walked slowly and quietly into the room on the left. This is a room that the Wizard has fixed up as a workshop, with beakers, retorts, condensers, tripods, and stranger implements, such as an alembic and an anthenor, that all sit on workbenches and the floor. Oddly enough, however, the storage cabinets above the workbenches were all empty now.

But before they could investigate this, they heard a sudden cry from the other room. It was the voice of the Hungry Tiger, shouting “Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy! Come quickly and help me!”

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Chapter 10: Boq

Goodbye, ZIP!” said Dorothy Anne. “We’ll see you in the Emerald City!”

“Goodbye!” said the nymph, as she flew away. “I’ll find this Ozma and tell her about the witch for you.”

Dorothy Anne and Uncle Joe watched her until she disappeared among the trees. “What do you think Ozma will do, Uncle Joe?”

“I don’t know. I suppose she knows all about wicked witches, though, so I’m sure things will be all right. In the meantime, we’d probably better be getting along. We don’t know how much ZIP’s trick will slow the witch down, and we don’t want her catching us.”

It was a strange feeling for the two of them to be walking down the famous Yellow Brick Road, but the air was warm— though not too warm—birds were singing, the fields and the little copses they passed smelled delightful, and they soon forgot all about the witch and just enjoyed themselves. When it was growing dark, they drew near a great farm, with a Munchkin farmer standing by the gate. As they passed, he greeted them, “Hello, travelers!”

“Hello, sir,” said Uncle Joe. “We’re travelers, all right, all the way from America, and we were wondering if we could have a place to spend the night.”

“Travelers from America, are you? Isn’t that part of Kansas?” said the farmer.

“Not exactly, sir,” said Dorothy Anne. “Kansas is part of America. We’re from Maine, which is another part of America.”

“Oh,” said the farmer. “I met a traveler from Kansas, once. She lives in the Emerald City, now, where she’s a princess.”

“Princess Dorothy?” said Dorothy Anne.

“Yes, Princess Dorothy. Do you know her?”

“No,” laughed Uncle Joe. “Princess Dorothy last lived in Kansas almost a hundred years ago, long before we were born. But she’s just as famous in America and the rest of the great outside world as she is in Oz. There have been books and —other things—made about her and her adventures in Oz, especially the first one, when she traveled down this very road.”

“Yes, that was when I met her. Do these books say anything about me? My name is Boq.”

“A little bit,” said Dorothy Anne. “The first book of all says how you gave Dorothy and her dog Toto a party, for having killed the Wicked Witch, but I don’t think you come into any more of the stories. Does he, Uncle Joe?”

“No, but there was once a man named Alexander Volkov who liked the story of Dorothy’s first trip to Oz so much that he decided to make up some more stories about her, and in those stories, he made you an important helper to the Scarecrow.”

“To the Scarecrow?” asked Boq, surprised.

“He never knew about Ozma,” explained Uncle Joe. “In the stories he wrote, the Scarecrow is still the king of Oz, just as the Wizard left him.”

“A helper to His Majesty the Scarecrow,” said Boq. “How strange! But if you’re travelers from America, I can surely give you supper and a bed for the night, just as I gave Princess Dorothy all those years ago.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Uncle Joe, and the three walked into the farmhouse.

Inside, Boq presented them with a delicious dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, and Ozcream for desert. As they ate, he asked how they came to be in Oz.

“Magic,” said Uncle Joe. “We don’t know just how it happened, but it seems to be someone’s intent that we should come to Oz. I’m worried about that, in fact, because, not knowing what was happening around us, we may have done something very bad, by accident.”

“Something bad? What was that?” asked Boq.

“I’m afraid we somehow awakened the Wicked Witch of the East.” He explained what had happened with the golden stockings and told Boq how ZIP had gone on ahead to give warning.

“That sounds very bad,” said Boq, “but I don’t see how you can be blamed. I’m sure that if I came to Kansas or Maine by magic, I’d probably do something just as bad, not knowing any better. In the meantime, your friend is on her way to the Emerald City, and no doubt Ozma will know what to do. Of course, you are still right to follow her, because it’s always right, when you make a mistake, to help fix it.”

“To tell you the truth, I’d like to go with you. The farm can get along without me for a while, my wife is away visiting, and I’ve often regretted that I didn’t accompany Princess Dorothy on her journey. Of course, back then, we all thought she was a powerful sorceress, so it never occurred to me that she might want a companion.”

“Well,” said Uncle Joe, “I’m sure we wouldn’t mind having a local guide. Dorothy Anne, do you think we should take Boq with us?”

“I think so, Uncle Joe.”

“Then it’s settled. Boq, we’d be happy to have you join us.”

The next morning, the three set out. Boq showed the two Americans the place where Dorothy found the Scarecrow and told them about the farmer whose field it was, whom Boq knew. Later, as they walked along, he told them about everyday life in Oz.

“Even under the Wicked Witch, things weren’t so bad, most of the time. Oh, she was cruel and spiteful, but there was only one of her, and there were many of us, so most of us didn’t have to worry too much about her, most of the time. But when she became angry with someone, then that someone had to look out. Do you know the story of the spell she put on the ax of Nick Chopper?”

“Yes,” said Dorothy Anne. “That’s how he got to be made of tin.”

“Yes, that’s how it was,” replied Boq. “Anyway, after Princess Dorothy’s house fell on her, all we Munchkins were very glad indeed, for even those of us who had never been harmed by her were always in fear of her. I’m sure no-one wishes to see her return, for since then, our life has been most happy. We all do whatever work we love best. I love farming, for example, and so I am happy to be a farmer. Then, whatever we have that we do not need, we can give to those who do need it out of love, rather than giving more than we can spare to the Witch out of fear.”

“I wish it could be that way back in America,” said Uncle Joe.

“Perhaps someday it will be,” said Boq.

*   *   *   *   *

Behind them, at the Witch’s cottage, a window opened, and a gray raven climbed out. At first, it blinked in the noonday sun; then it took flight. After circling around the cottage three times, it took off for the west and the Emerald City.

*   *   *   *   *

The Yellow Brick Road was in far better repair than it had been for Dorothy and her friends a hundred years before, for Ozma is always careful about the roads her subjects travel, but accidents can happen at any time, and they eventually came to a place in thick woods where a great old tree had fallen across the road.

“We’ll have to go around here, where the roots are,” said Boq. “This tree was a very tall one, so it will be much further around on the other side. Be careful, for there are likely to be thorns.”

Uncle Joe, being the tallest, led the way, and Boq followed him, with Dorothy Anne bringing up the rear. Perhaps they should have watched her more carefully, for while they found it easy to climb over the roots and fallen branches in the way, the little girl found it much more difficult, and she soon lost sight of them. At first she was too busy trying to make her way under the dark canopy of leaves to notice, and then she supposed that she would soon catch up with them, but after a time, she became worried, and, finding a bare patch of grass ahead of her, started to run.

Suddenly, Dorothy Anne stepped on a flat rock that pivoted under her, and she fell into a hole in the ground. As she fell, the rock moved back into place, and within a moment, there was no sign that she had ever been there!

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Chapter 11: The Little Wizard is Littler

Help!” repeated the Hungry Tiger, and Dorothy, the Lion and the Scarecrow ran into the other room. There, they found the striped beast curled up and trembling before the one thing that could frighten him: a fat baby, lying asleep on a great, grown-up-size bed. The Scarecrow turned to look at the baby, and Dorothy spoke to the Tiger.

“There, there,” said Dorothy. “You know you would never really eat a fat baby. Time and again you’ve tried to, but your conscience has told you you mustn’t, so you never have.”

“Dorothy’s right,” said the Lion. “You never have.”

“I know,” said the Hungry Tiger. “It was just the surprise of it all, looking for the Wizard, and finding a fat baby instead. But where could it have come from?”

“From Omaha,” said the Scarecrow.

“Omaha?” said Dorothy. “Omaha’s in America. The Wizard came from Omaha.”

“I know,” said the Scarecrow. “And unless I’m mistaken, this baby is the Wizard of Oz himself!”

“The Wizard?” cried Dorothy. “How can that be? Why do you think this baby is the Wizard?”

“Look here,” said the Scarecrow. “The baby has a bracelet of little wooden beads that say ‘OSCAR’. ‘Oscar’ is the Wizard’s real name, as I recall.”

“That’s true,” said Dorothy. “I remember him saying so, once. But how could he have turned into a baby like this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Shouldn’t we ask Ozma?” inquired the Cowardly Lion.

“That is an excellent suggestion, my friend,” said the Scarecrow. “Dorothy, do you think you can pick him up and carry him? My fingers aren’t exactly made for carrying babies.”

“Certainly, Scarecrow,” said Dorothy, and the four friends, with the baby, proceeded back down the stairs.

As they came to the bottom, a little dog ran up to Dorothy. “Who’s the baby?” he said.

“We’re not sure, Toto,” said Dorothy. “but the Scarecrow thinks that somehow the Wizard has been turned into this baby.”

“Let me smell it,” said Toto. Dorothy kneeled down and held the baby out for Toto to sniff. “It smells like a baby,” said the dog, “but it smells like the Wizard, too.”

“Are you sure?” asked Dorothy.

“My nose is sure,” said Toto.

“That settles it,” said the Hungry Tiger. “Toto’s nose always knows. This delicious-looking fat baby must be my old friend, and I’m very glad I didn’t eat him.”

“And I am glad you didn’t eat him, too, old fellow, for if you had, I would have had to tear you to pieces, which I wouldn’t have enjoyed at all,” said the Cowardly Lion. “But let us see what Ozma has to say.”

“What Ozma has to say about what, Lion?” said a familiar voice from behind them. They all spun around.

“Nick Chopper!” cried the Scarecrow, and the two old friends embraced.

“Hello, Scarecrow!” said the Tin Woodman. “Hello Dorothy, Lion, Tiger, Toto! But who is this baby?”

“We think it’s the Wizard, Nick,” said the Scarecrow, “because of this bracelet and because of Toto’s nose, and we are going to ask Ozma what she thinks should be done about it. But who is this with you? Isn’t it young Woot?”

“Yes, it’s me,” said Woot. “And we have a problem for Ozma, too. Do you remember Mrs. Yoop?”

“Mrs. Yoop? I should say so,” said the Scarecrow. “She turned me into a stuffed bear!”

“And she turned you into a tin owl,” said Dorothy to the Tin Woodman.

“So she did,” said the metal Emperor, “and I cannot say that it was at all an enjoyable experience. That is why we came at once: to warn Ozma when we learned that Mrs. Yoop seems to have regained her magical powers, and to ask our ruler’s advice. Shall we bring Ozma our problems together?”

“If Mrs. Yoop is back, I should say so!” said Dorothy, and all seven headed for the throne room, still carrying the baby.

Ozma was seated on her throne, where Dorothy had last seen her. “Ozma,” said Dorothy, “excuse us, but we have news.”

“Oh?” said Ozma.

“It’s two different things, actually, your majesty,” said the Tin Woodman. “Woot, here, has seen Mrs. Yoop.”

“Mrs. Yoop?” said Ozma.

“Yes, Mrs. Yoop,” said the Tin Woodman, “the Yookoohoo who caused us so much trouble with her transformations. Woot has seen her working magic, so we thought you should know.”

“A Yookoohoo?” said Ozma. “They are supposed to be—that is, this Mrs. Yoop is very dangerous, isn’t she? I suppose we’ll have to do something about her.”

There was a long silence. Finally, Dorothy broke it. “And the other problem is that the Wizard of Oz has been turned into this baby, here. We found it in his laboratory.”

“This baby?” said Ozma. “This baby, here? But whatever makes you think that? If I were to find a baby in the Wizard’s laboratory, I wouldn’t think it was he.”

“But there’s a bracelet that says ‘OSCAR’, and ‘Oscar’ is the Wizard’s name,” said Dorothy, “and Toto says the baby smells just like the Wizard.”

“Oh, does he?” said Ozma. “I had forgotten about—” she gestured carelessly toward the little dog, “—Toto. But are you sure, Toto? Smell again.”

“Certainly, Ozma,” said Toto. Dorothy held the baby where Toto could reach. “This baby smells just like —nothing at all.”

“Nothing, Toto?” said Dorothy. “But just a minute ago, you said it smelled like the Wizard.”

“And a minute ago it did,” said her old friend, “but now it doesn’t. In fact, neither does anything else. Dorothy! I think I’ve lost my smeller!”

“Are you sure, Toto?” said the Scarecrow. “Perhaps you just have a cold.”

“I don’t think so,” said Toto. “I didn’t have one when I woke up this morning.”

“Well,” said Ozma, interrupting, “if Toto isn’t sure, I’m not sure what I can do. It would be very wrong to turn this baby into the Wizard if it isn’t the Wizard, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes, I suppose so,” said Dorothy.

“But what about the bracelet?” said the Scarecrow. “Perhaps Toto’s nose can’t tell now, but my brains still tell me that if the bracelet says ‘OSCAR’, then ‘Oscar’ must be the baby’s name.”

“But many babies must be named ‘Oscar’,” said Ozma.

“And my heart tells me that Toto and the Scarecrow must be right,” said the Tin Woodman.

“My courage doesn’t say anything one way or the other about it,” said the Lion, “but I have never known Toto’s nose or the Scarecrow’s brains to go wrong.”

“Nevertheless, it is my decision that this baby must stay a baby. My mind is....” Ozma suddenly stopped. Into the throne room flew little ZIP.

“Is Princess Ozma here, or Princess Dorothy?” she cried. “I have to tell them that the Wicked Witch of the East is back, and coming after them!”

“The Wicked Witch of the East?” said the Scarecrow. “But she was destroyed a hundred years ago!”

“Perhaps she was,” said ZIP, “but someone restored her.”

“But who would do that?” gasped the Tin Woodman. “She was evil, and everyone hated her.”

“It was an accident,” said ZIP. “I am supposed to tell you that someone from the outside world found her golden stockings and, not knowing what they were, carried them to the witch’s house, where they came alive and made themselves a new witch.”

Everyone crowded around ZIP as she told them about Dorothy Anne and Uncle Joe, how they had found themselves in Oz, what had happened with the stockings, how she herself delayed the witch, and how she had come on ahead to give the warning.

“Nick, you’re the only one among us who knew her,” said the Scarecrow. “Was she just as bad as the Witch of the West?”

“I never knew the Witch of the West,” said the Tin Woodman, “but the stories I’ve heard about them were just about the same.”

“The Witch of the West wanted me to be her slave,” said the Lion. “I didn’t like her.”

“But you never gave in to her, my friend,” said the Tiger. “If you could be so brave, even before the Wizard gave you your courage, then surely you need not fear any witch now.”

Woot interrupted. “Excuse me,” he said, “but does anyone know where Ozma went?”

They all looked up. Princess Ozma had vanished!

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Chapter 12: Dorothy Anne in Underland

Dorothy Anne blinked. There was no sunlight in the cave into which she had fallen, but a strange blue light came from the walls. She stood up and noticed that she had landed on a large pile of hay, which had saved her from injury. “Maybe,” she said to herself, “lots of people fall through the hole, so someone has put this hay here so that they don’t get hurt.”

She looked around. The cave seemed to be a perfect circle with four doors equally spaced around the wall. Above each door was a letter; turning around, Dorothy Anne read “‘N’... ‘E’”...“ ‘S’... ‘W’. That’s a compass: North, East, South, and West. I wonder what’s on the other side of the doors.”

She looked around again, but couldn’t see anything but the haystack, the cave walls, and the doors. She looked up, but the hole she had fallen through went up and up until it disappeared in the darkness, and even if there was a way to get out of the hole, she couldn’t see any way to climb up to get there in the first place.

She looked first at the door marked “N”. The door was shut tight, and had no handle, no bell, no knocker, and no knob, but when she looked very closely, Dorothy Anne found a tiny bit of brass with an even tinier hole. “It looks like a keyhole,” said Dorothy Anne to herself, “but I don’t have a key, and I’m sure I never saw a key that small.”

She looked at the other doors, and they were all the same. Each was completely solid and closed tight, with no other feature than a little brass plate with a little brass keyhole. Discouraged, she returned to the haystack and sat down to think, but as she reached back to use her arm as a pillow for her head, she felt a sharp prick.

She rolled over onto her side to see what had pricked her, and although her hand stung, she couldn’t help laughing, for there in the middle of the haystack was a needle! She picked it up to look at it more closely, and found that it was, in fact, no needle, but a very tiny key. Quickly, she ran to the north door, inserted the key in the hole, and turned it. As soon as she did, the door opened by itself.

On the other side was a very large cave, so large it almost looked like outdoors, lit almost as bright as day by hundreds of street lamps. Dorothy Anne was at one end of a long street that seemed to be the main street of an underground village. Both sides were full of little shops, and many other little streets ran through the main street; the main street itself vanished into the darkness far away in front of her.

But the strangest thing that she saw was the people, for while the people themselves looked not unlike Munchkins she had seen along the road, they were all arranged around the street in a half circle, all looking at Dorothy Anne, cheering and applauding.

For a moment, all she could do was stand there amazed, turning her head from side to side and wondering what on Earth, or under the Earth, was going on. She couldn’t help but think of Dorothy Gale and how the Munchkins treated her as their heroine when her house landed on the Wicked Witch, but Dorothy Anne was quite sure that she hadn’t killed anyone, not even by accident.

She was wondering what to do when one of the people held up his hand and the noise stopped. He walked up to Dorothy Anne and said, “Hello, Heroine! Welcome to Underland. I am Bozzo, the mayor of North Underland, and I am here to give you any assistance you may require in your adventure.”

Dorothy Anne looked at him. He was rather chubby around the waist, and he had a long, white beard and glasses. He had a nice smile, and he didn’t seem to be a crazy person, although what he said made very little sense to her, so she decided to find out what he could possibly mean by this.

“Do you mean you can help Uncle Joe and me and Boq with the witch?” she said. “We could really use it.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know anything about this witch of yours,” said Bozzo. “But I can aid you on your quest for the Key of Mee.”

“Have you lost your key?” asked Dorothy Anne.

“It’s not my key, o Heroine, but the Key of Mee,” he replied.

“But if it’s the key of you, how can it not be your key?” she asked.

“It is not the Key of Yew, but the Key of Mee,” answered Bozzo. “In fact, that is how the whole trouble started. Years ago, the Wizard Mee lost his key to the magic elevator that travels from Underland to Oz, and, since then, all we Underlanders have had to stay here, out of the sun. After much study, Mee learned that the key had not been lost, but had been stolen by the Wizard Yew, who hid it somewhere in Underland. That day, Mee went in search of Yew and the key, and never returned.”

“Ever since then, whenever people have fallen down the hole that leads to Underland, we have tested them to see whether they are clever enough to find a key, by hiding the key to the city in the haystack that we put up to catch people that come through the hole. As you see, that key is very like a needle, and everyone knows how difficult it is to find a needle in a haystack. If they do not find the key to the city in a day, we let them in anyhow, but if they do find it, we acclaim them as our Hero or Heroine, and send them to find the Key of Mee.”

“So far, though, every one has come back a failure, finding nothing, and have settled down to live here in North Underland. But now you are our Heroine, and because you found the key to the city faster than anyone else ever has, we are sure you will be clever enough to find the Key of Mee, and free us from our underground imprisonment.”

“But,” said Dorothy Anne, “haven’t you ever gone after the Key of Mee by yourself?”

“No, of course not,” said Bozzo. “If the great wizard Mee could not find it, how could we ever do it?”

“But then why do you think I can do it,” said the little girl, “when I’m a stranger, and not a wizard, and don’t know anything about Underland?”

“Why, everyone knows that when a stranger comes to a town, he must be either a hero or a villain, and since no villain would ever want to come to Underland, it follows that you must be a heroine. Besides, you are as trapped here as we are, so you may as well try.”

“That’s true,” thought Dorothy Anne to herself. “But is there anything you can tell me?” she said aloud to Bozzo.

“We can take you to the Wizard Mee’s workshop,” he replied, “and there, perhaps, you will find some clues. You mustn’t take anything with you, of course, for if you fail, all the clues must be available to the next Hero or Heroine. That’s only fair.”

“But what if there is something there that I’ll need?” said Dorothy Anne. “Perhaps the reason no one ever found the Key is that no one had something they needed from the workshop.”

“Ah,” said Bozzo, “but if there were such a thing, the Wizard Mee would have taken it anyway, so it makes no difference.”

Dorothy Anne could think of nothing else to say, so she followed Bozzo. All the other Underlanders watched them as they walked down the street and into the Wizard’s house, which made Dorothy Anne a little nervous, but they didn’t follow inside.

The house was small, and she couldn’t see where the workshop could be, but when Bozzo stood in the middle and clapped his hands three times, there was a loud grinding noise, and a doorway opened in one of the walls. “That was the Wizard Mee’s way of hiding his workshop from outsiders,” he said. “Follow me.”

Inside the workshop, which was lighted by a green glass globe floating a few inches below the ceiling, Dorothy Anne could see only a workbench with a tall stool in front of it. At first, she could see nothing on the workbench, but when she looked again, she saw a sock, a glass eye, and a little branch from an evergreen tree. She picked up each one to examine more closely.

The sock looked like a perfectly ordinary sock, except for a little label sewn into it that said “In my first, find my last.” She recognized the bit of evergreen as a Yew tree, like the ones in Uncle Joe’s back yard, and she saw that there was a ribbon tied to it that said, “In my last, find my first.” Finally, she looked at the glass eye, which also looked ordinary (as far as Dorothy Anne could tell), but it was sitting in a little dish to keep it from rolling around the workbench, and around the outside of the dish was written on one side, “In my first, find my last,” and on the other, “In my last, find my first.”

“Are these all the clues?” she asked Bozzo.

“I’m afraid so,” he said. “So far, no one has ever been able to figure them out.”

“Well, maybe I will,” said Dorothy Anne, and she commenced to study the three clues.

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Chapter 13: A Curious Library

After many hours, Glinda the Good was certain that something was going on that was even stranger than she had at first suspected. All along the road that she was walking, she had not seen one single living creature, apart from trees and other plants and, of course, herself. When she reached the Hill of the Hammerheads, and even those rude creatures were not there to block her path, she became certain that something had happened in the Land of Oz that had never happened before, something involving a strange new kind of magic.

Yet what it could be puzzled her. The disappearance of the Great Book of Records seemed to show that whatever had been done had been done by an enemy. “But what enemy,” she said aloud, “would wish to make all the living creatures in Oz disappear? An empty country is not worth stealing.”

“Why not?” said a voice from behind her.

The lovely sorceress spun about. “Who spoke?” she said, and then let out a gasp, for standing before her was the ugliest and oldest woman Glinda had ever seen. Her hair was gray, and there was little of it. Her eyes were almost yellow, instead of white, and even her nose had wrinkles. “Who are you,” said Glinda, “and what do you know about what has happened to Oz?”

“Who am I?” said the hag. “I am Neeuq Ixiz of Xi. I am she that Queen Zixi of Ix sees in the mirror —or ‘used to see,’ I should say, for she has finally succeeded in banishing me from her sight, as she has sought to do for centuries. You see, she learned long ago the secret of forever looking young and beautiful, but she has always been greatly distressed by the fact that she does not look so to herself, when she looks in a mirror. Instead, she has always seen me.”

“I know of Queen Zixi’s long search for a way to seem to herself as she seems to others,” said Glinda. “My Book of Records has told me of her many attempts to find a spell to do it. Are you saying that she has at long last succeeded?”

“Not precisely,” said Ixiz. “But by holding a mirror up to another mirror, and reciting a certain charm she invented, she has banished me, her reflection, from the world inside the mirror to this world one thousand and three times inside the mirror. Now, instead of me, she sees nothing at all. I have been wandering in this world for some time. Finally, sensing that another living being had come here, I came here to see who you could be. As I am only a reflection, it takes me no time to travel from one place to another in these mirror worlds, and neither the Deadly Desert that separates Oz from Ix, Ev, and other such countries, nor any other barrier can stop me, though I see that you are from the real world, and consequently suffer from the same limitations here that you have there.”

“But why is it that there are no other people here, apart from the two of us?” asked Glinda.

“Because no mirror is perfect,” answered Ixiz. “Starting from the real world, each mirror world fades just a little, until here, through so many mirrors, the images of quickly moving people and animals fade away to nothing. Because other things change so slowly, or not at all, it takes many more mirrors, but in time they likewise vanish.”

“I see,” said the sorceress. “This is a strange new kind of magic with which I am not at all familiar, but perhaps you have told me all I need to know.” Thereupon she opened a purse tied at her side and removed from it a tiny house made of stone. Carefully, she placed it on the ground by the side of the road, and waved her right hand over it; then she stood back, gesturing to Ixiz to do the same.

Slowly at first, then more quickly, the little stone house began to grow, not only in size, but in shape, throwing out wings and a high, broad staircase at the front. Eventually it formed a building almost as large as Ozma’s palace. Above the staircase was carved the legend:

Portable Library of Magical Stvdies

This is Glinda’s traveling library, which holds extra copies of the 500,000 or so most important books in her collection. “You may come with me, if you wish,” she said to Ixiz. “I may be in here for a while.”

Up the steps she went, to the great brass doors. With a wave of her hand, they parted to admit Glinda and Ixiz. Inside was a great hall that ran up to the huge domed roof, with ten galleries around it. It was entirely empty, except at the very center, where there was a pedestal with a crystal ball on it.

“Open catalog,” said Glinda. “Search subject: ‘Mirrors.’” In the ball appeared a list of all magical subjects involving mirrors. “Select ‘worlds within,’” she said, and the list was replaced with a list of books about worlds within mirrors. Glinda, who keeps track of events within the great outside world, as well as Oz, has seen how computers are used in libraries nowadays to manage the lists of books that older libraries keep on little paper cards, one for each book, and she recently constructed these magical computers to list the books in her portable library, the main library at her palace, and the Public Library of Oz in the Emerald city. They work just like the computers of the outside world, but use magic instead of electrical circuits. Also, unlike the computers in our libraries, which need someone to enter all the information about new books, Glinda’s library computers know automatically whenever a new book is added, and what subjects it covers.

“I wish to read these books here,” she said, and all the books listed in the crystal ball came flying down from the galleries. At the same time, a desk appeared next to her, along with a chair; the books swept down and neatly landed on the desk. “Another chair, please,” she added, and a second chair appeared by Ixiz. “Ixiz, I expect I shall be reading for some time. You may sit and wait for me, if you wish, but I’m afraid I have nothing here for you to read, as these are all books for workers of magic.”

“Being the reflection of Queen Zixi of Ix,” said Ixiz, “I am a magic worker myself. Perhaps I can help you, for living behind the mirror as I do, I am more accustomed to these matters.”

“Very well,” said Glinda. “Add a desk to the second chair,” she added, seemingly to the air, and a second desk appeared for Ixiz. “You can take half these books, and I will take the other. Let us hope that one or the other of us will find a way to move us between the worlds.”

Ixiz took some of the books and sat down at her desk. The two opened a book apiece, and started to read. As the hours went by, they continued to turn pages, searching for a way out of the world one thousand and three times inside the mirror.

*   *   *   *   *

After a long time, the beautiful sorceress looked up. “Ixiz,” she said, “I think I may have found an answer, but I will need your help. Do you wish to return to your own world, only once inside the mirror?”

“Indeed I do,” said the crone, “for it is the business of a reflection to reflect, and without Queen Zixi, my life is quite purposeless. Can you help me?”

“Indeed I can,” said Glinda. “But we have a long journey ahead of us, since I cannot flit about from place to place as you can.”

“I have often thought,” said Ixiz, “that it must be very strange, living as you do, not able to go from one place to another without going through all the places in between.”

“It does not seem so strange when it is always that way,” replied Glinda.

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Chapter 14: A Meeting of Villains

That was a very clever idea, transforming yourself to look like Ozma.”

“Who said that?!” shouted Ruggedo, for it was indeed he, and not the lovely little fairy, who had spoken so queerly with Dorothy and her friends. What with everything that had been happening, he had grown afraid that things were becoming too complicated for him, and so, when their attention was diverted by ZIP’s arrival, he had snuck out of the throne room and made his way to the room in the palace cellar where he had concealed the satchel.

“A friend,” said the voice. “But tell me, if Ozma is you, what did you do with the real Ozma?”

“She is where no-one will look for her,” said the wicked Nome, “and that’s all any ‘friend’ that I cannot see needs to know.”

“Oh, as to that, I haven’t any great objection, except that it is rather disgraceful to be seen as I am.” Out of a shadow behind a door, a green monkey emerged. “You see, I wasn’t always like this. I was a powerful sorceress—or Yookoohoo, to be precise—but that spiteful Ozma transformed me into this shape, merely because I had played some harmless games with a few of her friends. One of them had already stolen my greatest magical instrument, so that it took me years and years to escape from my own castle, but at last I succeeded in weaving this lovely new magic apron for myself. At first, I went after the tin man, but as he and that accursed Woot boy decided to come here, I thought I’d hitch a ride and take care of all my enemies at once—except for the Rainbow’s daughter, who traveled with them; I don’t know when I may find her.”

“Imagine my surprise when I arrived and saw that Ozma was not Ozma at all, but the old king of the Nomes.”

“How did you know?” interrupted Ruggedo.

“Yookoohoo magic is all about transformations, and I am a Yookoohoo. You could not hide under a transformation from me. You couldn’t even hide from a common dog, until you were reminded of it.”

“That’s enough of that!” burst in the Nome King. “I knew the dog was a danger. It merely—slipped my mind.”

“If you say so,” said the monkey. “But the real question is, now that you’ve conquered Oz, what are you going to do with it?”

“I don’t know,” said Ruggedo. “The first time I tried to conquer Oz, they gave me something to drink that made me forget, and although I’ve recovered much of my memory since, I’ve never been certain about what I planned to do with Oz after conquering it. But I know I’ve got my Magic Belt back, and that’s the main thing. After all this time, I finally have my Magic Belt back.”

“I’ve heard of this Magic Belt,” said the green monkey. “I understand it does transformations, just like my magic apron. Belts and aprons are a lot alike; do you suppose there’s any connection?”

“I couldn’t say,” said Ruggedo. “I am not a wizard, myself, and though I have owned and used many magical devices and spells in my long life, I know very little of how they are discovered or made. Take my Belt, for instance. Many years ago, I obtained it from the wizard who first made it by promising to tell him the location of the largest diamond in the world.”

“Then it was a fair trade,” said Mrs. Yoop.

“A fair trade?” replied the wicked little Nome. “Oh yes, it was fair enough, for I told him where that diamond is. It is not my fault that it happens to be in the Hollow Tube that goes all the way through the center of the earth to the realm of the great Jinjin, so that no one can ever get at it.”

“But could he not travel there?” asked the monkey.

“Not at all, for it is impossible to enter the Hollow Tube without ending up in the great Jinjin’s land, and Tititi-Hoochoo (that is the great Jinjin’s name) has strictly forbidden anyone to travel through it.”

“No, I got my Magic Belt fair and square, and if he got no diamond, that is not my problem, for I only promised to tell him where it was, and not that he would have it.” (When Ruggedo was king of the Nomes, he often behaved in just such a manner as this, getting things from people by seeming to promise rewards to them, rewards that he could afterward find a way, like this, of giving without actually giving anything. I am afraid that there are many other people in the world who behave in just this way.)

“He was very angry, as I recall, and said that he would find some way to obtain his diamond, no matter how long it took. I had my Nome guards escort him from my presence, and that was that. And so you see that, although I have known and used much magic over the years, I know very little about how magic is actually made.”

“You have missed much,” said the former giantess. “for it is quite impossible to appreciate anything that one does not understand, and it is impossible to understand anything if one does not understand how it is made.”

“Oh, granite and gravel!” said the wicked old Nome. “I do just fine with my magic as it is.”

“Well, I don’t see that we shall ever agree,” said Mrs. Yoop, “and it doesn’t matter what you do with Oz as long as you leave me alone, and let me have my way with the tin man, the stuffed man, and the boy. And that rainbow fairy, if she ever turns up.”

“Some of them have been troublesome to me, over the years, but Ozma and Dorothy have always been my great enemies. You can deal with them as you like, and it matters not at all to me. Throw them into Lake Orizon, or change them into biscuits and eat them with pickles and mice, for all I care. You stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours, just as long as Oz is mine.”

“How nice,” said a new voice. “Only, you see, Oz is mine!”

The two villains looked up to where the voice was coming from, and there they saw an ash-gray raven, sitting on the head of a statue near the door. “Yours?” said the Nome King, “and who are you? You’re just a bird!”

“Oh, not precisely,” said the raven. As it spoke, it suddenly began to crumble, and the ashes of which it was made drifted toward the floor. But instead of hitting it, they reformed into the shape of an old woman.

“The Witch of the East, at your service,” she said. “Of course the part about ‘service’ is only for politeness; you are going to be at my service. But who are you? You,” she said, gazing at the Nome King, “look like one of those annoying fairies that I thought the four of us got rid of, and you,” she continued, turning to the monkey, “are only a beast, but I know a magic Yookoohoo apron when I see one. And where is that accursed wizard? This is his city, his palace, but he’s nowhere to be seen. And why aren’t you wearing those absurd green spectacles he makes everyone wear in the city.”

“The Wizard of Oz?” cried Mrs. Yoop, the monkey. “He hasn’t ruled in the Emerald City for a hundred years. ‘The Witch of the East’ you say? She hasn’t been around for a hundred years, herself, not since that annoying child Dorothy dropped a house on her. Only.... Perhaps you are, indeed, who you say you are, since you seem not to know what has happened in Oz all these years.

“Very well, then. This ‘fairy’ here is actually Ruggedo, the rightful king of the Nomes, who has just conquered Oz. I am Mrs. Yoop; as you guessed, I am a Yookoohoo; my proper form was stolen from me by Princess Ozma, whose form Ruggedo is at present wearing. The same Dorothy whose house destroyed you a hundred years ago also destroyed the Witch of the West by melting her with water, and sent the Wizard of Oz away to his own country. Soon afterward, Ozma took over the Emerald City. The Wizard came back a few years later, but he no longer rules, and those silly spectacles are long forgotten.”

“And what about my silver shoes?” asked the witch.

“I do not know,” said the monkey. “Do you, your majesty?”

“I have heard that that confounded Dorothy took them and lost them,” said the Nome King.

Lost them?!” shrieked the witch. “Very well, then, we’ll settle the issue of who is to rule Oz later. For now, just tell me where I am to find this Dorothy!”

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Chapter 15: Dorothy Anne’s Quest

Do you know that this is from a yew tree?” said Dorothy Anne to Bozzo. “Wouldn’t that have something to do with the Wizard Yew?”

“That’s what everyone else thought,” replied the mayor.

“Then perhaps they were wrong,” said Dorothy Anne, “since none of them ever found the key,” and she went back to studying the three clues. “Did any of them ever figure out what the ‘first’ and ‘last’ are?”

“What ‘first’ and ‘last’ are you talking about?” said Bozzo.

“Right here on the label,” said Dorothy Anne.

“What’s a ‘label?’”

“A label?” said the little girl. “Why, it’s a little piece of paper or something that you put on something, and you write on it to say what it is.”

“Ah,” said Bozzo. “What’s ‘writing?’”

“Why, writing is—it’s just writing. It’s making marks on paper so you can read it.”

“Oh, reading,” said Bozzo. “No one in Underland can read. Except for the Wizard Mee. He could.”

“None of you can read?!” said Dorothy Anne. “In America, everyone goes to school to learn to read. I thought everyone in Oz could read, too.”

“Perhaps everyone in Oz can read, but we in Underland have never bothered with such things.”

“You should,” said Dorothy Anne. “Everyone should. But if none of you can read, perhaps that is part of the puzzle. I wonder....” She stared at the clues with their labels. “‘In my first, find my last,’ says the sock. The first letter of ‘sock’ is s, and the last is k. The yew says ‘In my last, find my first;’ the last letter of ‘yew’ is w, and the first is y. The eye says both, and the first letter and the last letter of ‘eye’ are both e. So I can find k, y, and e in s, w, and e.” She thought for a moment more. But k, y, and e make ‘k-e-y,’ and that spells ‘key’! And the other letters s, w, and e go with the compass for south, west, and east. No, wait! I should put them in the same order that spells ‘key’, so that would be the sock, the eye, and the yew, and that makes south, east, and west.

“Mr. Bozzo,” she said determinedly, “I think we should go out to the other parts of Underland, south, east, and west. Can we do that?”

“You figured that out by reading?” said Bozzo. “Maybe I should learn to read, too, if it can solve hard puzzles. But to answer your question, I can take you to South Underland, but the doors to East Underland and West Underland have been locked ever since the Wizard Mee disappeared. I have never journeyed with our Hero or Heroine before, but you seem so clever that I am feeling quite hopeful that you will succeed, and perhaps I will learn more from you as we travel.”

“Well, let’s go to South Underland, and maybe we can find out about the other two there.”

Bozzo led Dorothy Anne out of the Wizard’s house and back through the streets of North Underland. “The door to South Underland should already be open, since we have a Heroine. We only lock the doors when we’re waiting for the next one to come along.”

“Are the other parts of Underland like this?” said Dorothy Anne.

“No, the people and their countries are quite different,” said Bozzo. “You’ll see in a minute.” They walked on into the haystack room, where Dorothy Anne saw that the south door was indeed open.

South Underland was, just as Bozzo had said, very different from the north. There was no sign of any town; instead a wild country of rocks and cliffs presented itself. “Where are all the people?” said Dorothy Anne.

“We’re right here, all around you,” said a laughing voice.

“I don’t see anyone!” said Dorothy Anne. “Where are you?”

“We’re right here,” said another voice. “And here!” “And here!” “And here, too!” called out others, giggling. “Don’t you see us?”

Suddenly, a round rock almost as tall as Dorothy Anne started to roll toward her. As it rolled, she noticed something very strange. The rock, like all the other rocks, had cracks and wrinkles in it, but as the rock rolled, they didn’t roll with it. Instead, they flowed backward on the rock’s surface, so that they continued to stay in the same place even as the rock moved toward her. Then all at once the bottom crack, which was the widest, opened wide, and turned up at the edges, and Dorothy Anne realized that it was a smile, and that two of the cracks above it were its eyes.

The rock slowed to a stop in front of Dorothy Anne. “Really, little girl, can’t you see me?” All the voices giggled again, and she could see that the rocks all around her were grinning. “You can’t very well be our Heroine if you can’t even see us.”

“I see you now,” said the girl. “Please excuse me. I never knew a talking rock, before. We don’t have them in America.”

“That sounds terrible,” said the first rock. “I’m sure I would never want to live in a place without others of my kind.”

“I suppose you wouldn’t,” said Dorothy Anne.

“Aren’t we wasting time here?” said Bozzo. “We should be looking for the key.”

“Has our new Heroine any idea of where to find it?” said the rock.

“I think the first part may be here in South Underland,” said the girl, “and I think it may have something to do with a sock, or with the letter k. Does that mean anything to you, Mr. Rock?”

“You may call me Peter, which is a favorite name among us rocks. As to your question, you can see that we South Under- landers have little need for shoes or socks, as we have no feet. As to the letter k, we know nothing of it, or any other letter for that matter. Since we have no hands, we cannot write, and since none of us can write, there’s little point in learning to read, either. What is a k like, if you please?”

“Well,” said Dorothy Anne, “it’s a line with two smaller lines going into it, both on the right side, like a v, but if you don’t know what a k is, I suppose telling you that it’s like a v isn’t very useful.”

“Not at all, I’m afraid,” said Peter.

“Is there anything else about k?” asked Bozzo.

“Not really,” said Dorothy Anne. “But I can draw one for you.” She stooped down, and drew a k in the dirt.

All of a sudden there was a rumbling sound, and the ground began to shake. At first, Dorothy Anne thought it was an earthquake, but she quickly noticed that the way the ground was shaking was faster and buzzier than in the earthquakes she had seen in movies. It felt more as though a big motor were running under the ground. Then the ground in front of Dorothy Anne, where she had drawn the k began to sink in a circle several feet across. Dorothy Anne and Bozzo jumped back. Peter cried out “It’s time for us rocks to roll,” and they all scurried back to a safe distance.

But after the hole was a few feet deep, the sound and the shaking stopped. Dorothy Anne crept up to it on her hands and knees, and looked down. There, at the bottom of the hole, she could see a bronze key!

“Bozzo,” she called out, “there’s a key here! I guess when I wrote the k in the dirt, I opened some kind of magic hole. But how will we get it?”

“Can you climb down?” said Bozzo.

“I suppose I can,” said Dorothy Anne, “but the hole is too deep for me to get out again.”

“Could I get it?” said Bozzo.

“No, because it’s too narrow,” said the girl. “You’d get stuck.”

Slowly, Peter rolled up, but stopped a good distance from the hole. Some of the other rocks followed him, but they stopped even further away. “Oh dear, I don’t like this at all,” he said. “Holes like this are very dangerous indeed.”

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Chapter 16: On the Yellow-Brick Road Again

I don’t know which is worse,” said Princess Dorothy, “ZIP’s news about the Wicked Witch, or Ozma’s disappearing.”

“Perhaps neither one is worse than the other;” said the Scarecrow. “Perhaps they are both the same thing. Nothing can be worse than itself.”

“You mean,” said Dorothy, “that the witch has somehow stolen Ozma?” (for none of them knew how the Nome King had taken her place).

“I am afraid the Scarecrow is right,” said the Cowardly Lion.

“I don’t know,” said the Tin Woodman. “My heart told me that there was something wrong with Ozma even before she disappeared.”

“I know what you mean,” said Dorothy, “but if the witch stole Ozma by magic, perhaps the magic made Ozma sick, somehow. Oz magic can be that way, sometimes.”

“That’s right,” said the Hungry Tiger. “Hey there, ZIP, can you tell us how to find this witch?”

“I can show you where she was,” said the nymph. “But we should hurry, or we might arrive too late.”

“Then hadn’t we better get going?” said Woot. “While we’re wasting time talking, who knows what could be going on?”

“More haste, less speed,” said the Scarecrow, “but I suppose there’s no helping it. But what shall we do with this baby?”

“Woot,” said Dorothy, “you take the baby to Jellia Jamb. Whether it’s really the Wizard or not, someone will have to take care of him. In the meantime, I’ll go to the palace kitchens and get food for us.”

“And I’ll get the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon,” said the Tin Woodman. “Woot, when you’re done with the baby, go to the kitchens and help Dorothy, then all of us can meet in the courtyard in one hour.”

Everyone did as had been arranged, and in only fifty-two minutes, they were all ready to go. “Get-up,” said the Tin Woodman, who was sitting in the front of the wagon, holding the reins, and the wonderful Sawhorse of Oz started to run as fast as the meat animals (the Lion and the Tiger, for Toto was riding with his little mistress) could keep up.

When they reached the gates of the Emerald City, it took only a word from little Dorothy to the Guardian of the Gates for them to pass. Quickly they rode (or ran) down the Yellow-Brick Road, passing through the green country surrounding the capital, and reaching the blue country of the Munchkins as the sun reached its highest point in the sky at noon.

They soon reached the river where, so many years before, Dorothy and her friends had been forced to build a raft. Nowadays, of course, Ozma has caused a fine yellow-brick bridge to be built, which the never-tiring Sawhorse drew the Red Wagon over like a rocket.

After a few hours, the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger were clearly growing tired, so the party came to a halt, and those who needed food ate from the picnic baskets Dorothy and Woot had obtained. “Here you are, eating again,” said the Saw- horse.

“Yes,” said Woot. “I’ve traveled all over Oz, and as a rule I find that most people, except for magical creatures like you, have that habit.”

“Have you had many adventures, Woot?” asked Princess Dorothy.

“Oh yes,” replied the boy, “for wherever one travels in Oz, there seems to be an adventure around every corner. Still, I haven’t had nearly as many important adventures as you. In all the years since we met Mrs. Yoop, I’ve never again had another really first-rate adventure, in fact, but now, here we are with Mrs. Yoop and a Wicked Witch to worry about, too. It would be exciting, if only it weren’t so dangerous.”

“I could do without the danger,” said the Lion, “but I suppose we all have a job to do.”

“Indeed, friend Lion,” said the Tin Woodman, “that’s how it always is; when my heart tells me that I have a job to do, I step right into it, and that is how most adventures find me to begin with.”

“That’s how it is for me today,” remarked ZIP, who had not spoken until now. “But this is my very first adventure, so I suppose I can’t say how things usually are.”

“It is wise of you, not to speak of what you do not know,” said the Scarecrow. “I find that many people have never learned that, and almost everyone (except for our friends Toto and the Sawhorse, here) forgets it from time to time.”

“I never talk unless I have something to say,” said the Sawhorse.

“And I never talk at all, if I can help it,” said Toto. When they had finished, Dorothy picked up the paper wrappings, and so on, and packed it all into one of the picnic baskets, for even in a fairy country, it isn’t nice to leave a mess around. Soon, they were on their way again.

They passed through the Munchkin forest, crossing several bridges that had been built since Dorothy’s first journey to Oz. They passed near the Tin Woodman’s old house, where he had lived when he was an ordinary meat person, but passed on by, since they had a mission. As the sun began to set behind them, they came upon a tree that had fallen across the road, and there, seated on it, were Joe Robertson and Boq. They were looking very tired and discouraged.

“Uncle Joe!” cried ZIP. “This is Princess Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, Toto, and the Sawhorse,” she said, flittering over to each one as she spoke. “And this boy, here, is Woot the Wanderer. They’ve come to catch the Wicked Witch. But where is Dorothy Anne?”

“We don’t know,” said Uncle Joe. “Hello, Princess Dorothy, Scarecrow, all of you. You have no idea how much I’ve wanted all my life to meet you, but I’m afraid that at the moment, I’m worried about my little niece, Dorothy Anne. She’s disappeared. This, by the way, is Boq. You might remember him, Princess; you stayed at his farm your first night in Oz, all those years ago.”

“Yes, indeed, I remember,” said Dorothy to Boq. “You were very kind to me. But, sir, can you tell me about your Dorothy Anne?”

“Just call me Joe,” he said. “I’m afraid I really don’t know where she’s gotten to. We were walking down the Yellow- Brick Road when we got to this fallen tree, and while we were going around it, Dorothy Anne disappeared.”

“Maybe she’s lost,” said Woot.

“Perhaps she’s lost now,” admitted Uncle Joe, “but she’s a smart little girl, and she wouldn’t just run away. Of course I know that really bad things seldom happen in Oz, but I’m getting very worried.”

“Have you searched around?” asked the Scarecrow.

“Oh yes, we’ve searched and searched. I’m sure there isn’t a tree for half a mile around that I don’t know as well as my own house. And there’s nothing else but trees. Not a house or a shed or a cave anywhere that I can see.”

“And we’ve looked everywhere, both of us,” added Boq. “North, south, east, west, and in between, we’ve looked all around and can’t find her.”

“You’ve looked all around, North, South, East and West, and can’t find her?” asked ZIP.

“So we have,” said Boq.

“Everywhere, and everywhere, and everywhere. Twice,” added Uncle Joe.

“Well, then, it’s plain enough where she must be,” said ZIP. “As plain as the noses on your gloomy faces!”

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Chapter 17: Electrifying Developments

Why is a hole like this dangerous?” Dorothy Anne asked Peter.

“Isn’t it obvious? If anyone should happen to be rolling along, and fell into that hole, he’d never get out again! It frightens me just to be near it.” Dorothy Anne looked at the rock, and decided that he had a point, but that, as she was not a rolling rock, the hole was not particularly dangerous to her, as long as she was careful not to fall in.

She stood at the edge of the hole, wondering how on earth to get at the key on the bottom. After a few minutes of thought, an idea occurred to her. “Bozzo,” she said, “if I went down into the hole, could you get me out?”

“That would depend on the size of the hole, I suppose,” said Bozzo. “Is it shallow enough that if you stand on the bottom and reach up and I lie on the edge and reach down, I can get you?”

“Yes it is, so that’s just what I’m going to do.”

Now, this was a rather foolish thing for Dorothy Anne to do, as we will see. However, there is this excuse for her; without the key, she would be stuck in Underland forever, anyway, so if she got stuck in the hole, she really wouldn’t be any worse off.

In the hole, she quickly picked up the bronze key. “Okay, Bozzo,” she cried, “I’m ready!” She reached up, saw Bozzo’s head and shoulders covering the hole as he reached down to take her hands and started to pull her up. Here, however, things went wrong, for Bozzo wasn’t strong enough in the arms to pull her up.

“I’m sorry, oh Heroine, but I can’t seem to pick you up.”

“Oh,” said Dorothy Anne. “Are you sure?”

“I’m afraid so,” said Bozzo. “You’re so much smaller than I am, that I thought I could pick you up easily. After all, I carry myself around every day.”

“Pardon me,” said Peter, “but you do that with your legs, don’t you?”

“I beg your pardon?” said Bozzo.

“Your legs,” said Peter. “When you carry yourself around, you do it with those great big legs, not with those little arms. Perhaps your legs are stronger.”

“I suppose they are,” said Bozzo, “but I don’t see how I can use them here. I wonder, though....” Bozzo looked down into the hole. “Heroine, I’m going to put hold out my legs over the hole; see if you can get to them.” He lay face down, with his legs sticking out over it. “Can you reach them?” he shouted.

Dorothy Anne jumped as high as she could, and managed to get each hand around one of Bozzo’s ankles. “Hang on!” he said, and started to bend his legs, drawing the girl upward. Suddenly, he began to slide into the hole, but as he did, he felt Dorothy Anne let go, and as she did, he stopped sliding.

“I’m sorry, Heroine. That almost worked, but there’s nothing here that I can hold on to.”

“Was it working otherwise?” asked Peter.

“Yes. If I could only keep from sliding into the hole, I believe we could get her out.”

“But you can’t just hold yourself?” continued the rock.

“No, for there is nothing that I can grasp.”

“Could you hold on to me?” asked Peter.

“Yes, I believe I could,” said Bozzo. “You are large, but not so large that I cannot get my hands around you. But can you hold your place?”

“Oh, yes, for I am very heavy. When I am not rolling, I am very hard to move. That is why this hole frightens me so, because if I get caught in it, I cannot roll. But if it is the only way to get the little girl out, I suppose I must help you.”

Very, very slowly, Peter rolled up to the edge of the hole, looking nervously at it all the time. He came to a stop only a few feet away from the hole. “Okay, grab on,” he said.

Bozzo did, and once again extended his legs over the hole. “All right, Heroine, try again!” he shouted, and Dorothy Anne once more jumped up and grabbed his ankles. “Hold on, Peter!” he said, and again drew up the girl with his legs.

As she rose high enough, Dorothy Anne scrambled out of the hole. “Thank you, Bozzo. Thank you, Peter. Peter, I hope this hole won’t be a problem for you.” But as she spoke, the earth started to rumble again, and she saw the bottom of the hole rising up, until soon there was nothing left but the ground where it was before.

“Well, that’s a relief,” said Peter. “A big hole like that could have been considerable trouble. Is that the key you’re looking for?” he added, for the little girl had taken the key out of the pocket where she had put it for safekeeping, and was gazing at it.

“It is not the Key of Mee,” said Bozzo, “but perhaps it will take us to it. Perhaps it is the key to East Underland. Isn’t that where you wanted to go next, Heroine?”

“Well, I found this key with a k, just as the first clue said,” said Dorothy Anne, “so I suppose we’re going the right way. Shall we try East Underland now?”

“Let’s go,” said Bozzo. “Thank you, Peter, for your help. I’ll be sure to let you know if we find the Key of Mee.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” said Peter, who had rolled away from where the hole had been, just to be sure. “But if you really want to thank me, perhaps you can take me along with you. I’ve always wanted to see someplace besides North and South Underland.”

“It’s fine with me,” said Bozzo, “if it’s all right with our Heroine.”

“It’s fine with me, too,” smiled Dorothy Anne.

They went back out the door to the center cave, and then turned right to the East-Underland door. There Dorothy Anne tried the key in the door, and it turned with a click. Holding her breath, she pulled the door back, to see what was inside. East Underland shone with a brilliant blue light, and something about it made her hair stand on end. This, however, was not because Dorothy Anne was frightened, but because her hair was actually standing on end, all by itself. She thought for a moment, and remembered how, once, Uncle Joe had shown her an experiment with a machine called a Van der Graaf generator, and how it had made all her hair stand out like a dandelion going to seed, just as it was now. “So,” she said to herself, “East Underland is full of static electricity.” She looked at Bozzo, and saw that his hair was beginning to stand up, too, looking very comical. Peter, of course, looked just as he had before, except for the blue light.

“We should be careful here,” she said to the others, “because this is electricity, and electricity can be dangerous, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Bozzo, do you know if people from North Underland used to get hurt here, back before the door was locked?”

“I never heard of it happening, and people used to travel here from the other parts of Underland all the time,” said Bozzo, “so I’m sure it can’t be dangerous.”

Suddenly there was a very bright light, like a flash of lightning. Dorothy Anne blinked hard, and when she could see again, there was a round ball of light sitting in front of her. It looked much like Peter, with eyes and a mouth like him, but was shining brightly, so brightly that she could hardly bear to look at it.

“Are you zzure we’re not dangerouzz?” it said. “Maybe all we have to do is touch you and — zzzap!—that would be the end of you. Zzzap! No more little girl, no more North Underlander, no more Zzouth Underlander. Juzzt zzzap!”

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Chapter 18: Trouble in the Palace

Where is she?!” shrieked the witch. “Where is she?!”

“And where are the others?!” added the green monkey that used to be Mrs. Yoop. “They were all here, and now they’re gone! The stuffed man, the tin man, that annoying little boy—you do realize, don’t you, that without him I’m doomed to stay this way forever?”

“And I want the girl. That girl stole my shoes. She stole them, and she lost them, and I’ll never have any others like them again. I want that girl. Where is she?”

The Nome King, no longer looking like Ozma, sat uneasily on a throne he’d conjured up with the Magic Belt in his secret basement lair. For a few minutes he had had peace from his two rivals, while they sought out their own particular enemies, but here they were back again, and more upset than ever.

“Ladies, ladies, I assure you I have no idea where these Oz folk have gotten to. You, yourselves, saw that they were here when you arrived, you were in here speaking with me, and then you,” he said, turning to the witch, “went out to look for Princess Dorothy, and you,” and here he turned to the monkey, “went out to look for the others. I had nothing to do with them disappearing, for I’d be perfectly happy to see each of you take her revenge.”

“But where have they gone?” asked the witch.

“Perhaps,” said the wicked old Nome, “they went off to look for you. Just before you arrived, some little flying thing arrived with the news that you’d appeared. It would be just like them to go looking for a wicked—err, that is, a lady of your particular talents.”

“Then what do we do?!” cried the green monkey. “I want them now!”

“I suppose you can either go after them or else wait for them here,” said Ruggedo. “I really don’t care in the least which you do, but I’m sure the Emerald City folk are missing their precious Ozma by now, so if you ladies don’t mind, I think I’ll join them. Actually,” he added with a chuckle, “I suppose that before I join them, I’ll have to join you.” He touched the Magic Belt, and in a moment, the room held, not a witch, a monkey, and a Nome, but a witch, a monkey, and the figure of Princess Ozma. “I’ll be seeing you,” he said with a wave in their direction.

“Just a minute!” shouted the witch. “It seems to me I have more to worry about than this hateful Dorothy. What about you? What about the Emerald City? What about Oz?! My sisters of the North and South were defeated long ago by goodie-goodie witches, so if the Wonderful Wizard is gone, and the same Dorothy who stole my silver shoes melted my sister of the West, then Oz belongs to me, and not to you. You have your own underground kingdom; why don’t you just get back to it, and leave Oz to someone who’s earned it. We four it was who defeated the old King Pastoria and divided up Oz between us, and although none of us could ever figure out how that accursed Wizard performed his strange magic, as long as he stayed here in his city, we were content to have the country divided five ways, rather than four.”

“But now I’m the only one left of the four, and seeing that the Wizard, too, has been replaced, I say Oz is rightfully mine, not yours.”

“Oz belongs to whoever can take it,” said Ruggedo. “I have taken it, so Oz belongs to me.”

“Oh does it now?” cried the witch. Suddenly, she dispersed into a cloud of the ashes she was made from, and flew straight at the Nome. He touched the Magic Belt again, and returned to his own natural shape, but he probably should not have taken the time to do that, as the cloud reached him before he could start to work another spell, and it started buzzing around him like a million angry midges. In fact, he realized in a moment that a million angry midges was exactly what the cloud had become. Furiously he swatted at them, but wherever his hands flew, the midges backed away, while others stung him on some part of his body that he was not protecting.

After a moment, however, Ruggedo realized the futility of this, and, ignoring the stings, used the Belt once again to transform himself into a giant bat that launched itself into the air, circled back, and opened its mouth wide to swallow the midges. (You may wonder how a bat could fly about in an enclosed space like Ruggedo’s basement room, but as anyone who has ever seen a bat get lost and fly indoors can tell you, they have an amazing ability to fly about without banging into anything.)

At once, the cloud subtly changed as it transformed once again, this time into sand, which the bat instantly spat out. After a moment, the sand began to pick up its speed, until it was whirling about the wicked Nome at a fantastic rate, while ever drawing tighter about him. The sand began to wear away at Ruggedo the bat, and he started to howl, so yet once more he touched the Belt, this time transforming into a new shape that he made up on the spot, a dragon, but a dragon covered with the woolly fleece of a sheep. The thick wool managed to protect him from the flying sand while he took a deep breath, and then (this being why he chose the form of a woolly dragon, rather than a common sheep) let out a blast of white-hot fire that instantly melted all the sand into tiny glass droplets that fell into a puddle on the floor.

But that was not the end of the fight. The puddle drew itself up onto the woolly dragon’s legs and body, and then hardened into a glass shell completely around it, holding Ruggedo a fast prisoner. He tried breathing fire again, but the glass shell simply opened in front of his mouth, so the fire did nothing. At once he tried to transform himself again, but whatever form it was that he had chosen we will never know, for with all four feet stuck to the floor by the glass, he could no longer touch the Magic Belt to activate it.

“Well fought, o witch!” cried the green monkey, who had climbed up onto a lamp hanging from the ceiling to avoid the fight, “but have you any idea what you are going to do now? It seems to me that you are as much this foolish Nome’s prisoner as he is yours, for if you take any move on your own, you will free him to strike at your glass from the inside, and very likely shatter you. How quaint it is to see amateurs playing at transformations, to be sure!”

Very slowly, the glass-encased sheep-dragon turned around to face Mrs. Yoop. Then, even more slowly, it growled out a noise that sounded like “Wuv-wow?” which the ex-giantess realized meant “What now?” spoken as well as the two deadlocked enemies could manage in their predicament.

“‘Wuv-wow?’” she asked, taunting them. “‘Wuv-wow?’ Well, since it seems there is no safety in letting you two be, I suppose that, after all, I shall have to rule Oz. It’s a pity that I can’t just steal your trick to do it, old Nome, for I’m sure the foolish Oz people will be less troublesome if they think their silly Ozma is still in charge, but as long as I don’t have that hateful Woot to work my magic on, I cannot remove this horrid monkey shape from myself.”

“But a much cleverer idea occurs to me now. Why should I be the one to play Princess Ozma when I can get someone else to do it for me? Someone who, in fact, is far more experienced at these things than I am, but who will have to obey my every whim if he is not to remain in his present ridiculous form forever.”

“You, Ruggedo, together with you, silly witch, are going to be my Princess Ozma, and I am going to be your beloved new pet monkey (until we find the boy).” Touching her apron, Mrs. Yoop pointed at the queer creature, and, slowly, as the glass around it did not want to bend, the sheep-dragon began to transform into the shape of Princess Ozma.

“There, that will do,” said the monkey, as the transformation became complete. “You’d better practice speaking together, you two, for I don’t think the Emerald Citizens will be much impressed by a princess who can say only ‘Wuv-wow.’ After all, the sooner you and I find Woot the Wanderer, the sooner I can return to my castle and let the two of you figure out which one is to have the boring job of king —or queen.”

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Chapter 19: The Silver Key

Stop frightening the child,” said Peter. “You know perfectly well you East Underlanders have no intention of going ‘Zzzap!’ on anyone. You should be grateful to have visitors, after all this time.”

“Oh very well! I wazz juzzt having a little fun, you know,” said the ball of light. “It’zz been agezz zzinzze we had anyone to play a joke on.”

“That’s all very well, but this young lady is a Heroine, and she’s on a quest to recover the lost Key of Mee. I should think you’d want to help. So let’s all introduce ourselves, and see what we can find. My name is Peter, and as you guessed, I’m from South Underland. His name is Bozzo, he’s from North Underland, and the Heroine’s name is Dorothy Anne, and she came from Oz.”

“I always liked the name Ozzz,” said the ball. “Hello, Heroine! My name izzz Amber, which izzz a favorite name of uzz electrical people here in East Underland, and we’d be very happy if you found the Key of Mee. But if it comezzz to that, we’re already very happy that you found the key that openzzz up our country to the rezzt of Underland. We’ve been zztuck here for zzo long!”

“I’m glad I helped.” said Dorothy Anne. “We found the key to East Underland in South Underland, and my clues tell me that we might find the key to West Underland here, and that, maybe, the Key of Mee may be there. I found the first key when I drew a k in the ground in South Underland, so perhaps I can find another key if I draw an e in the ground here. Do you mind?”

“We electrical people always like to be well-grounded,” said Amber. “Draw away!”

Dorothy Anne carefully made an e on the ground, and sure enough, the ground began to shake, twice as fast as it had before, and began to fall in around the e. All four of them stepped back, and Dorothy Anne now saw that several more of the shining East Underlanders had gathered around them. When the shaking stopped, she went back to the hole, and saw that, just as she had hoped, at the bottom was a silver key. But alas, the hole was just as narrow as the other one had been, but was twice as deep.

“Bozzo, Peter, you, too, Amber, we have a problem. This time, the hole is much too deep for me to get into and out again, but there’s a key there, and I’m sure we’re supposed to get it somehow.”

“Are you sure?” asked Bozzo.

“See for yourself,” said the girl, and he went to look.

“You’re right. How ever are we going to get it out? If we can’t get the key, we can’t get to West Underland, and if we can’t get to West Underland, we can’t get the Key of Mee, and if we can’t get the Key of Mee, we’ll still be stuck in Underland forever!”

This was such a disappointment to Dorothy Anne that she felt for a moment as if she were going to cry, but she sat down on the ground and told herself that she was a Heroine and a big girl, and she wasn’t going to do that. Instead, she decided that she would think about the problem, and after a few minutes, she decided that the thing to do would be to get a rope. “Bozzo,” she said, “this is silly. All we need to do is get a rope, and you can lower me down with that.”

“We don’t have a rope,” he said, “but I have one at home in North Underland. It will be the work of only a few minutes to get one.”

“I’m coming with you,” said Amber. “I’ve been locked up here for ever so long!”

But as they walked back into the cave in the middle of Underland, Dorothy Anne received a great surprise, for there, with a big smile on his face, was Uncle Joe! She ran to him.

“Uncle Joe! You found me. I’m sorry I got lost, but I fell down a hole, and this is Underland, and they’ve lost their key so no one can get out, and I’m their Heroine to find it, now. And—oh! Uncle Joe! It’s the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman, and the Lion, and the Hungry Tiger and Toto, too! And Boq! And you must be Dorothy!”

“Yes I am,” said the older girl, “and you must be Dorothy Anne. And this is Woot the Wanderer. We’ve come to rescue you, only now it looks like we need rescuing, too. I guess ZIP was right, Uncle Joe. She said that if Dorothy Anne wasn’t North, East, South, or West, she must be up or down, and down it was!”

“Is ZIP here, too?” asked Dorothy Anne.

“She’s still up top, honey,” said Uncle Joe. “I guess she isn’t heavy enough to work the trap door, even if it caught the rest of us. The Sawhorse is up there, too, he brought the rest of our old friends here, so I guess at the worst, he’ll take the news to the Emerald City, and we’ll be rescued. Still, I’d like it if we could get out on our own. By the way, who are your friends?”

Dorothy Anne introduced the Underlanders to everyone else, and while they were all shaking hands, or paws, with Bozzo (for Peter and Amber had no hands to shake) she explained all about the Key of Mee and about the silver key she had found in East Underland.

“So we were all going to get a rope when we found you,” she was saying, when suddenly the air was torn with a loud “ZZZAPPP!” “What was that?!” she cried.

“I’m very zzorry, I didn’t mean to do it,” said Amber. “I never zzaw a perzzon made of metal before.” She was standing next to Nick Chopper, whose entire body was glowing with an unearthly light. “He juzzt touched me, and all of a zzudden there wazzz a ‘ZZZAPPP!’ I never meant to make, and there he izzz.”

“Nick, are you all right?” said the Scarecrow.

“Oh, I feel just fine, I think,” said the Emperor. “I confess, though, to a rather odd sensation, one that I can’t remember ever having felt, before, and at the same time I do seem to remember, as though I dreamt about it once.”

“Well,” said Uncle Joe, “if everyone’s all right, I suppose we’d better go and get that rope.”

And so the whole party marched to the north door, only to receive a shock of another sort than Amber had given the Tin Woodman. The door to North Underland was closed and locked. “Alas, o Heroine, I fear we have a problem,” said Bozzo. “What did you do with the key you found?”

“I think I left it on the wizard’s workbench,” said Dorothy Anne. “Oh dear, do you mean the key is still in North Underland on the other side of the door?”

“I’m afraid it is,” said Bozzo. “And if all these friends of yours—one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine—came through the trap door and landed in the haystack, that means it will be nine days until the door opens. That’s how the machinery in the door works.”

“I suppose the other doors are the same?” asked Uncle Joe.

“No,” said Bozzo, “the doors to East Underland and West Underland have been locked since before we put the machinery in the other two doors. I suppose, then, that the door to East Underland must still be open.”

“If there is nothing to be done here, then,” said the Scarecrow, “let us proceed to East Underland. If there is no danger of fire....”

“There izzzn’t.” promised Amber.

“...then I’d prefer someplace a bit warmer, where my straw won’t get musty.”

Off the party traipsed to the eastern door, which was, indeed, open.

“As long as we’re here,” said Uncle Joe, “let’s have a look at this hole where the key is. I wish ZIP were here; she could fly down and get it in a moment.”

“Could we lower both Dorothy Anne and Woot into the hole?” asked the Scarecrow.

“Perhaps, if we have to,” said Uncle Joe, “but I’d like to see if there’s a more sensible way first. Let’s all have a look at it.”

One by one, they all looked into the hole. The last to look was Nick Chopper, but as he bent over, there was a sudden clank! “I’m very sorry,” he said, “but I don’t seem to see this key of yours down there.”

“What?!” said Dorothy Anne. “But we’ve all seen it.”

“Perhaps,” said the Tin Woodman, “but I don’t see it now.” As he bent back upwards, they all saw why. There was the silver key, stuck to the Emperor’s breast!

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Chapter 20: West Underland at Last!

I see,” said the Scarecrow. “Somehow when Amber zapped you, she turned your body into a giant magnet. As soon as you came close to the silver key, your body picked it up.”

“But,” said Uncle Joe, “that makes no sense. Everyone knows that magnets don’t pick up silver.”

“That is a problem, I grant,” replied the Scarecrow, “but there it is, you see, stuck to him, so I suppose that either the key isn’t really silver, or, if it is, regular rules don’t count for magical magnets. By the way, can anyone get the key away? Neither one of us has precisely the right sort of fingers for the job.”

“Let me try,” said Uncle Joe. “Someone once told me, ‘A gentleman is never without his pocket knife,’ and I’ve always followed that advice.” He took a knife out of his pocket, and opened it to produce a screwdriver. “Pardon me, your Majesty,” he said, and stuck the blade under the key. With a twist and a pull, he retrieved it, and handed it to Dorothy Anne. “You found it to begin with, so I guess you get to keep it.” Even as he spoke, the hole began to fill in, just as the other one had.

“I suppose,” said the Scarecrow, “the hole doesn’t close until someone actually holds the key,” and no one could think of any other explanation.

“As for me,” said the Tin Woodman, “I’m just glad to be rid of it; I hope my nickel plating isn’t scratched.”

“Cheer up, old friend,” said the Cowardly Lion. “We lions are experts on scratches, and I don’t see one there.”

“So,” said Princess Dorothy, “are we ready to go on to West Underland?”

“I guess we are,” said Dorothy Anne. “Bozzo, are we ready?”

“As far as I know, we are, but you’re the Heroine, so you have to decide.”

“Well, then, I decide we go now.” She turned to her uncle. “Is that all right, Uncle Joe?”

“It looks like this is your expedition, Dorothy Anne. Whatever you say.”

And so they all trooped across the cave one more time, to the western door. Dorothy Anne put the silver key into the keyhole and held her breath for a moment. Then she turned it, and opened the door.

But what a sight it was that met her eyes! West Underland was nothing but a big lake, and the water came up right to the door and lapped at her feet. As far as she could see in every direction, there was nothing but water. At first, she was merely surprised, but in a moment, a terrible thought occurred to her. How could she mark a y in the ground, to go with the k and the e that she had made before, when there was no ground to mark? She stood back and said, “Uncle Joe, everybody—look what’s here. There's nothing but water, and how do I mark a y in the ground when there isn’t any ground?”

“Water!” exclaimed the Tin Woodman. “That’s no good for me; I’ll rust.”

“I can’t say that I care much for it, either,” said the Scarecrow. “Can we build a boat?”

“I know how to build a boat,” said Boq, “but I don’t know how to make a boat out of hay, and that seems to be all we have to work with, unless any of you can perform magic.” They all shook their heads, for none of them had any magic powers or skills.

“I can swim,” said Princess Dorothy, “but I can’t swim without someplace to swim to.”

They all stood before the door, unable to think of what to do next. A strange thing then happened. A bump showed up on the water, like a wave, but round, and only as long as it was deep; it looked like a cat playing under a blanket. The bump came straight toward them, and as it did, several others appeared, all following it toward our friends.

Finally, the lead bump came to a stop right in front of Dorothy Anne, and a mouth opened up in it. (Dorothy Anne was almost getting used to this sort of thing by now.) “Hello,” it said. “Did you open the door?”

“Yes, if you please. I found the silver key in East Underland, and I opened the door with it. I hope you’re not upset.”

“Upset?! Not at all! We’ve been waiting for the longest time for someone to open the door. We’ve had no one to talk to except those two silly wizards ever since they came here and made a mess of things.”

“Wizards?” said Bozzo, pushing his way up to the door. “Wizards? Not the Wizard Mee and the Wizard Yew, by any chance?”

“Oh yes indeed,” said the lump. “First the Wizard Yew came here and got caught, and then the Wizard Mee came looking for him, and got caught, too. It seems that the first one came here to hide something he’d stolen until he wanted it, and the second one was chasing him. They’ve been terrible nuisances, and we’d love it if you’d take them away.”

“Oh, we’d like very much to take them away,” said Bozzo.

“But how can we?” asked Dorothy Anne. “There's nothing here but water, and we don’t have a boat.”

“Just as well, too,” sniffed the lump. “We Aquarians don’t much like boats. We put up with them when we have to, but they’re nasty things, always making waves that don’t belong in our nice water. But you won’t need a boat, little girl. We always used to trade with the North Underlanders, so we know how to make you meat people quite comfortable in our water. I see that some of you aren’t quite meat, and some of you aren’t quite people, so I’m afraid I can’t help you, but the rest of you can come with me.”

“Just a moment!” said Uncle Joe. “I heard you saying something about these wizards getting ‘caught.’ Before we follow after them, I’d like to know just what it is that you’re talking about. I don’t want Dorothy Anne getting caught, too.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” said the lump. “Perhaps when I said ‘caught,’ I should have said ‘stuck.’ If you don’t do what they did, you won’t get into any trouble. We Aquarians have always been friendly to our visitors.”

“That’s true,” said Bozzo. “I never heard of anyone from North Underland getting into trouble here.”

“All right, then,” said Uncle Joe. “It should at least be interesting.”

“Very well,” said the lump. “Just jump into the water. You can keep your clothing; it won’t be harmed.”

Bozzo and Uncle Joe jumped in first, followed by Dorothy Anne, Dorothy. Woot, and Boq. “I’ll see you soon!” said Dorothy, waving to the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, Peter, Amber, and the beasts, who had to remain on shore. “Won’t Trot be surprised when I tell her about this.”

The water felt neither hot nor cold, but just right, and Dorothy Anne and the others soon found that they could breath either the air or the water with equal ease as they followed the lump, and that the swimming was no more tiring to them than walking usually is.

After a while, Uncle Joe, who swam so as to keep even with the lump, decided to learn more about it. “By the way, what’s your name?” he said.

“We Aquarians don’t have names,” said the lump, “for we all know who we are. I have often wondered at you dry-landers, who seem to need constantly to be reminded of yourselves, so that you don’t forget.”

“I don’t think it quite works like that,” said Uncle Joe, “but it is clear that you Aquarians think very differently than we do. I’m sure that your way is as good for you as ours is for us. But tell me, how is it that these wizards became caught or stuck, or whatever you call it?”

“Why, they insisted on going into the Great Sponge, and got lost in it, and by the time they found the right way out, the sponge had grown up around the exit. So now they have nothing to do all day but talk and talk and talk at us, until we are quite sick of their company, while their silly key-hiding game has deprived us of all other visitors. Believe me, we would very much like to see them go.”

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Chapter 21: The Great Sponge

After they had been swimming for a long time, the Aquarian paused. “This is where you will find the Great Sponge, and in it you should find your lost wizards,” it said. “I cannot go with you, for it is the nature of Aquarians to exist only on the surface of the water. Without a surface to bend, our lovely round forms would cease to exist, and that would be the end of us. But there are no dangerous fish here in West Underland, like the sharks I have heard about, so you can dive in perfect safety. Our magic that allows you to breath will also allow you to see clearly, so you should have no trouble, except for the trouble of finding those two bothersome pests. I will remain here to lead you back to the door.”

“Very well,” said Uncle Joe, as he kicked with his legs and dove down into the depths.

“Thank you for your help!” said Dorothy Anne, as she followed him.

“Just take them away, and we’ll have thanks enough!” called the Aquarian after her.

As they descended into the water, they saw many beautiful fish swim up to them to have a look. Dorothy Anne, remembering that Underland was part of Oz and that all animals in Oz can talk, tried to speak with them, but they just swam away. She asked Uncle Joe about this, and he thought for a while, finally saying, “I don’t know, but suppose you saw a giant fish walking down Main Street some fine day. Perhaps you’d decide to run away, too.”

“I guess you’re right,” she said.

“Look!” cried Princess Dorothy. “Isn’t that the Great Sponge?”

“It’s beautiful!” said Woot. “It looks like a gigantic cactus, only without the prickles, and in all colors.”

“I always thought sponges were brown,” said Uncle Joe, “but perhaps I was wrong, or perhaps Oz sponges are different.”

“But Uncle Joe, sponges come in all kinds of colors,” said Dorothy Anne.

“Oh, those are artificial sponges, made of plastic or a special kind of paper. Real sponges are animals that grow in the sea, like this one.”

“But it doesn’t look like an animal at all!” said Dorothy Anne.

“No, it doesn’t. It’s a very old kind of animal, from so many years ago that animals and vegetables hadn’t yet decided for sure which was which, but scientists tell us that it’s an animal just the same. Or, really, it’s a lot of animals, like tiny, tiny jellyfish, all together in a house that they grow around themselves. The sponges that some people have in their kitchens and bathrooms—the real ones, not the paper or plastic kind—are those houses.”

As they reached the Great Sponge, which Dorothy Anne now saw was at least twice as big as the house she and Uncle Joe lived in, they could hear a chorus of tiny voices, all saying:

We don’t want you,
We don’t like you,
Go away, go away.
We don’t like you,
We don’t want you,
Go away, go away.
We don’t want you,
We don’t like you,
We don’t like you,
We don’t want you,
Go away, just go away,
Just go away, just go away,
We wish that you’d just go away,
So go away today!

“Excuse me, o Great Sponge,” began Princess Dorothy, “but we’d like nothing better than to please you by going away. However, before we do that, we’d like to help the two wizards to go away, as well. Wouldn’t you like that?”

We don’t like wizards,
And we don’t like you.
Rut you can’t make us,
So we say “Pooh!”

“But if you don’t like wizards, don’t you want to get rid of them?”

We don’t want them to stay,
We want you to go,
You still can’t make us,
So we say “No!”

“I’m afraid,” Uncle Joe whispered to Dorothy Anne, “the little sponge critters aren’t very bright.”

“They aren’t very nice, either,” she whispered back. “They’re being just like rude little boys.”

Princess Dorothy swam up to talk with them. “They seem very stubborn. I really don’t know what to do next. Bozzo, do you know anything about this Great Sponge.”

“I’m afraid I don’t. I know that before the doors were locked, we of North Underland used to get our sponges from West Underland, but that was a long time ago.”

“Hmmm.... That gives me an idea,” said Uncle Joe, who swam down to the Sponge. “My, what a lovely big sponge this is,” he started saying to no one in particular. “It’s just the sort of thing I need to clean my oil refinery with. Why, I’ll just cut it into bits, and before you can say ‘slick’, it will be soaking up spilled oil all day long.” As he watched, the Sponge began to tremble. “Of course if I had those wizards, I’m sure they could whip up a refinery-cleaning spell in half no time, but a splendidly big sponge like this will do almost as well.” He paused for a moment, but saw that the Sponge’s trembling had decreased, rather than increased. “Certainly I have to do something quickly. The smell is just horrible. I’m sure that when I’ve picked up the mess with the chopped-up bits of this sponge, I’ll have to burn it, just to get rid of that awful smell!”

This was too much for the Sponge. With an


it parted in two places, opening holes big enough to swim through. Then it began to shake violently, and, suddenly, there appeared from each portal two little boys who looked about two years younger than Dorothy Anne.

“Free at last!” shouted one.

“No more stinky old sponge!” shouted the other.

Stinky sponge can go away.
Don’t want a stinky sponge today!
Nya -nya -nya! Nya -nya -nya!

they bellowed in unison.

“I have a terrible feeling about this,” said Uncle Joe.

“So do I,” said Princess Dorothy. “Bozzo, do you mean to tell us that those are your lost wizards?”

“I’m afraid so,” said Bozzo. “There aren’t any wizards except them.”

“But what about the Key of Mee?” cried Dorothy Anne.

“I got the key,” said one of the boys, who seemed to be twins.

“Gimme it here!” shouted the other. “It’s mine.”

“Finders keepers, losers weepers,” replied the first one, and started to swim off with it.

“Now I know why the Aquarians were so anxious to get rid of them,” said Uncle Joe, as he swam after the first one. “Bozzo, these two are your responsibility; help me!” Bozzo hesitated for a moment, and then took off after the second one. Although the two boy wizards were fast swimmers, the two adults were faster, and it was less than a minute before Mee and Yew were being carried back to the party.

“Now, you, or Yew, or Mee, or whoever you are,” Uncle Joe said sternly. “Give the Key to Bozzo here, or you’re going to be very sorry.”

“But I need it! Mee said I couldn’t have it, but I need it to move the elevator to the Hollow Tube, so I can get the diamond the Nome King promised me!”

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Chapter 22: A Short Rest

It’s mine, and you can’t have it,” said Mee.

“Yes I can, because I got it now!” yelled Yew.

Stop it now!” roared Uncle Joe, “or I’ll see to it that Glinda the Good turns both of you into sour pickles for being the most confounded pair of pests ever to turn the land of Oz upside-down.”

They stopped. Then Mee said, “Could you really make Glinda the Good do that?”

“Listen,” said Uncle Joe. “That young lady over there is Princess Dorothy of Oz, who is the very best friend of Princess Ozma of Oz, and they are both special friends of Glinda, and if they ask Glinda to turn you into pickles, or crabgrass, or a couple of smelly cheeses, I just bet she’d do it, wouldn’t she, Dorothy?”

Dorothy, who knew quite well that Glinda would never think of doing anything of the kind, looked at him, just as he gave her a big wink. She winked back at him, and said, “Oh yes, of course she would. Why, I’ve often seen her turn naughty little boys into all sorts of things, like smelly soap, or baby dolls, or metal hoops to keep the sleeves of little girls’ dresses all nice and puffy. I wonder what she’d turn these two into?”

No!” screamed the twins. “Here, take your dirty old key,” said Mee, handing it to his brother.

“I don’t want it!” he shouted. “Here, Uncle Bozzo, take it!” which is just what Bozzo did. He took a good look at the golden key, and then put it into his pocket.

“I should have known it would be gold,” said Uncle Joe, with a sigh. “Okay, then, we have our wizards, we have our key. Let’s go!”

At once the party began to swim back up to the surface, passing the curious fish. Once, Dorothy Anne looked back to the Great Sponge and saw that the two holes had closed again.

“What were you two doing there, anyway?” Bozzo asked Mee. (Uncle Joe and Bozzo were still holding on to Yew and Mee, just to be sure.)

“Well,” he said, “after Yew stole my key, I found out that he came here. He also stole the key to West Underland, and hid it in East Underland, and stole the key to East Underland and hid it in South Underland, just to make it harder to catch him. He was gonna hide the Key here in the Great Sponge, but he got stuck. Then I came after him, only—I got stuck, too.”

“But how did the two of you get here, if the key was hidden in East Underland?” said Uncle Joe, who was swimming alongside Bozzo, listening.

“Oh, that was easy magic,” said Mee.

“Bozzo, how on Earth did these two children come to be wizards?” Uncle Joe continued.

“They just are,” sighed Bozzo. “They’ve been a terrible burden to their mother and father ever since they were born, and that’s a fact. Since no one in Oz ever has to grow older than he wishes, they’ve remained this age for a very long time. Of course, they don’t really know much about wizardry, but whenever anyone explains to them how to do or build something, even without explaining how the magical part should work, they just go ahead and do whatever it is. A long, long time ago, the Nome King himself came to Yew and asked him to make a Magic Belt. He said he’d help Yew find a big treasure of some kind, so Yew made the Belt, and then I guess the Nome King cheated him, or something, because Yew never got his treasure.”

“But Uncle Bozzo,” chimed in Yew, “that’s why I need the Key of Mee. The diamond’s in the Hollow Tube, and I can use the elevator magic in the Key to get there and find the treasure. I only wanted to borrow it, but Mee got all fussy and said I couldn’t have it, so I took it.”

“So you made the famous Magic Belt?” said Uncle Joe.

“Course I did!” said Yew. “Only I got cheated.”

“If I remember rightly, you weren’t the only one,” Uncle Joe replied.

When they got to the surface, the Aquarian lump was still there waiting. “I see you got them,” he said. “Come, then, let’s get to the door. We Aquarians will be very happy never to see or hear from them again.”

The journey back to the door was uneventful. As they climbed out of the water, they were surprised to see that they and their clothes were as dry as if they’d never been in the water at all, which was a great relief to the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. After introductions and explanations were completed, the Scarecrow grew serious.

“It seems to me that we still have this wicked witch to worry about. Bozzo, can we leave Underland now?”

“Easily!” said Bozzo. “We Underlanders will have to remain behind to bring the good news to our people. Peter and I, I think, with a little help from Amber, will be able to keep these two under control until the door to North Underland opens again.”

“And I can help a little, right now,” said Princess Dorothy. “Yew, you must understand that Tititi-Hoochoo, the great Jinjin, does not like anyone traveling through his Hollow Tube. Do you remember the Nome King? Well, Tititi-Hoochoo got so mad at him for sending people through the Hollow Tube that he took away all his magic. A friend of mine named Betsy Bobbin was there, and saw it all happen. Now if you don’t want Tititi-Hoochoo to take all your magic away, I think you’d better forget about this silly treasure, because if you were afraid of what Glinda would do to you—well, Tititi-Hoochoo’s ever so much scarier. So you two behave from now on!”

“Well,” said Bozzo, “the elevator’s right here, if you want to take it.” He stepped up to a place on the wall, and as soon as he did, a fifth door appeared that Dorothy Anne had not found on her previous search. “It only appears when someone with the key shows up,” he said, as he put the key into the keyhole and turned it. At once, the door opened, revealing the elevator. “Just push the button,” he said. “It will take you up when you’re down, or down when you’re up.”

“Are we all ready?” said the Tin Woodman.

“I guess,” said Dorothy Anne. “Bozzo, goodbye! It was fun being your Heroine.”

“Any time you’re around, feel free to drop in,” he replied. “Or instead of dropping in, just take the elevator.”

“Good-bye, Heroine!” said Peter and Amber. “Thank you!”

As she was getting into the elevator, Princess Dorothy added “Bozzo, Peter, Amber, you’re welcome to visit the Emerald City any time. Ozma and the rest of us are always glad to have visitors. The Aquarian is welcome, too, if it can ever figure out a way to get there. Bozzo, take care of your great and powerful wizards!”

As soon as everyone was in, Uncle Joe pressed the button, and the elevator shot up to the Munchkin forest. The door opened, and everyone got out. Then, empty again, the car vanished back into the ground without a trace. “I wonder how anyone is supposed to get the elevator on this side,” remarked Woot.

“Perhaps you have to have the key,” said the Scarecrow, “but that’s a mystery for another day —or night, for I see the sun set while we were in Underland.”

It took them only a minute to find the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon, and there, fluttering over it, was ZIP. “You’re back!” she cried. “You’re all back! Whatever happened?”

“That,” said Uncle Joe, “is a long story.”

“I have news for you,” said ZIP. “When you disappeared, and I couldn’t work that door, I decided that instead of moping around, I’d be of more use if I went to find what the witch was up to. I found her house, and my trick door is still there, but she isn’t, so I suppose she found another way out. Anyway, I couldn’t find her anywhere, so I think she’s gone to the Emerald City.”

“Then we must go on the same way,” said the Scarecrow. “But although you and I, Nick, and the Sawhorse, and perhaps ZIP, here, don’t need any sleep, I fear the rest of the party will. It seems to me that it might be a good thing to spend the night in the house you used to live in. It’s not far from here, as I recall.”

This was agreed to by all, and the party rode in the Red Wagon to the Tin Woodman’s old cottage, where they ate the remainder of the food they had brought, and slept, while those who did not need to sleep kept watch.

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Chapter 23: Back to the Palace

At dawn the Tin Woodman awoke the sleepers, glad to say that his magnetism had worn off during the night. They all got into the Red Wagon and rode away without breakfast, since they had finished the food the night before. The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger ran along behind, glad to be away from all the water in West Underland, for cats of all kinds generally do not much enjoy getting wet. The road sped by at a furious rate, and before noon they were back at the Emerald City, where the Guardian of the Gates let them through. But on the other side of the gates, there was a surprise.

“Halt!” cried the Royal Army of Oz. “You are my prisoners!”

“Prisoners?!” cried Uncle Joe. “I know you’ve never seen me before, but you certainly know Princess Dorothy Gale and Toto, not to mention the Scarecrow of Oz, the Emperor of the Winkies, and the famous Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger.”

“You know me, too!” said Woot.

“Omby Amby, what’s happening? How can we be your prisoners?” asked Princess Dorothy.

“I’m sorry, Princess,” said the Royal Army, wiping a tear from his eye with his magnificent green whiskers, “but Princess Ozma has ordered the whole lot of you to be taken to the palace dungeons, there to await her pleasure, so you must follow me there.”

“But the palace dungeons haven’t been used for ages and ages!” said Dorothy.

“I know,” said the Soldier with the Green Whiskers, “but that’s where I am to take you.”

“Shall we fall upon him and tear him to pieces?” asked the Cowardly Lion.

“I wonder what green whiskers taste like,” said the Hungry Tiger.

“No, Lion, Tiger, no,” said Dorothy. “Omby Amby is our friend, and it would never do to tear him to pieces. If Ozma is angry with us, she must surely have a reason, and we must obey. But what,” she continued to the Royal Army, “about the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon? Are they your prisoners, too?”

“Sawhorse is, wagon isn’t,” said Omby Amby.

“Then we must get out of the wagon and unharness the Sawhorse,” said the Scarecrow, “for it would be unjust to punish the Red Wagon for our crimes.”

The Soldier with the Green Whiskers could not think of an answer to this, so he merely nodded, and they all got out.

“Mr. Robertson, will you please take care of the harness?” said the Scarecrow. “I’m afraid that Nick and I aren’t very good at that sort of work.”

Uncle Joe did as he was asked, but he saw that the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman were taking advantage of the delay to speak privately with one another, so he did the work as slowly as he could.

“Nick,” said the Scarecrow, “do you think this is Ozma’s doing?”

“I don’t, old friend,” said the tin man. “I am sure in my heart that our dear ruler would never do so wicked a thing as to put Dorothy, us, and the others into the dungeons.”

“My marvelous brains tell me the same thing. What is more, it seems to me that Ozma was behaving most peculiarly, yesterday.”

“I feel the same.”

“Well, then, it seems to me that the best thing to do would be for us either not to go to the dungeons, or else to leave them as quickly as possible.”

“Do you have a plan?” asked the Tin Woodman.

“Indeed I do. I wonder whether Jinjur would like being a general again.”

Now you should know that many, many years ago, a young lady named Jinjur decided to lead an army, composed of herself and other young ladies, against the Scarecrow, when he was ruling the Emerald City in the place of the Wonderful Wizard. In the long run, this led to Ozma’s being restored to the throne, so no one was very angry with her, and she retired to a simple life of farming and painting. But as she was one of the few people in Oz with any experience at leading a revolution, it is natural that the Scarecrow would think of her for the job he had in mind.

“Jinjur?” said the Tin Woodman.

“Not now,” said the Scarecrow. “Mr. Robertson is finished with the harness, and here comes the Royal Army of Oz to lead us to the dungeon.”

Down they went through the streets of the Emerald City, followed by Omby Amby, who was clearly not enjoying his duty. When they got to the palace, they turned away from the regular door, to a door hidden away in a corner.

“This is the dungeon door,” said the soldier. He took out a set of keys and opened the barred door. “You must all go inside now.” They all went in, and he closed and locked the door behind them. “I’m very sorry!” was the last thing they heard him say before he marched off.

They looked around the cell, and saw that there were two doors in the cell, the outside door through which they had entered, and a back door leading into a corridor in the palace. Like the front door, it was locked.

“Nick, watch and see that no one sees us,” said the Scarecrow, standing by the front door. “Toto, these bars were never built for a little dog like you. Dorothy, please lift Toto up to these bars so that he can get out. Toto, I want you to run to Jinjur’s farm and tell her what has happened. Tell her that I think Ozma isn’t Ozma, and that I think we may need another army of revolt, and that she is to raise one—but secretly. Perhaps I am wrong about this. I hope I am.”

“Ozma isn’t Ozma?” asked Dorothy, as she raised Toto up to the window.

“Think about it,” said the Scarecrow. “She was behaving very queerly yesterday, she’s behaving even more queerly today, and isn’t it funny that Toto’s nose should stop working just at this time?”

“I never thought of that,” said Dorothy. “Toto, you run and do what the Scarecrow says. Tell Jinjur about all of this, and tell her that we are locked up here.” Toto squeezed through the bars and ran away as fast as his four little legs could take him.

“I can get through those bars, too,” said ZIP.

“That is so,” said the Scarecrow, “but you do not know where Jinjur lives, and, being able to fly, you may be of more use to us if you go through the back door into the palace as a spy. You may be able to find out if the witch has done something to Ozma.”

“Or Mrs. Yoop,” said the Tin Woodxnan. “With all our worries about the witch, and all our adventures in Underland, we’ve almost forgotten about her.”

“Mrs. Yoop, too?” said Dorothy Anne. “I remember reading about the adventure you had with her. It was terrible!”

“But isn’t she stuck as a green monkey?” said Uncle Joe.

“Yes,” said Woot, “but the other day, I saw a green monkey with a lace apron, and it turned a squirrel into an orange and ate it, so I’m sure Mrs. Yoop has gotten free and has her old magic back.”

“I wonder what a green monkey tastes like,” said the Hungry Tiger.

“I feel the same—sort of,” said Uncle Joe.

“So,” said ZIP, “do you want me to look for a witch, or for a green monkey, or for both?”

“Both,” said the Scarecrow. “And then come here to tell us what you’ve found, if we’re still here.”

As ZIP flew away, Uncle Joe asked the Scarecrow, “So you think we won’t be here long?”

“Omby Amby said that we were to remain here at Princess Ozma’s pleasure. I suppose that means that, eventually, we’ll be let out.”

“But isn’t that good?” said Dorothy Anne.

“Alas,” said the Tin Woodman, “I think that my friend means that we may be let out of this room, but not set free.”

They all sat down to wait.

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Chapter 24: Toto’s Mission

Toto sped along the streets of the Emerald City. No time to chase a cat or a bird, even if he found one. His little mistress was in trouble, something was wrong in Oz, and he had to get to Jinjur right away. As he got to the gates of the city, though, he skidded to a stop. There was the Guardian of the Gates at his usual post. Would he make trouble for Toto? He hadn’t stopped the party in the Red Wagon, but of course he knew that the Soldier with the Green Whiskers was waiting for them on the other side, so that didn’t necessarily mean anything. Would the Guardian ignore Toto, or would he try to stop him from getting out? He crept under the wagon of a Munchkin farmer who had come to the Emerald City with bushels of apples, and watched and thought.

It was noontime now, and some of the Emerald Citizens were leaving the city to have picnic lunches in the fields outside the walls. That gave Toto an idea, so he waited until he saw a little girl carrying a large basket, and then came out of his hiding place to follow her, trying not to be seen by the Guardian. He was in luck, because the Tin Woodman’s Silver Cornet band was parading by, and the girl put down her basket to watch them.

The parade was splendid, although the band was feeling a bit confused. They had come to the Emerald City today especially for Princess Dorothy’s celebration, but now, everyone in the palace seemed to have forgotten all about it, leaving the band, along with many others who had shown up for the event, wondering what in Oz to do with themselves. The band finally decided that if they couldn’t have a parade for Princess Dorothy, they would have a parade for no reason in particular, and that was what they were doing.

But Toto cared nothing about all this. He carefully sneaked up to the basket, opened it with his nose, and looked inside. The basket was mostly empty! Toto carefully stepped in, and used his forepaws, ever so carefully, to shut himself into the basket.

Since the band was the entire parade, it was soon over, and the little girl picked up the basket and proceeded to the gates, where the Guardian let her out, along with the other picnickers. Toto waited then, until the basket was on the ground, and its owner opened it. Imagine her surprise to find a small dog inside! “Sorry!” barked Toto, and off he went.

No time for butterflies! No time for rabbits! No time for anything but Jinjur. Toto ran as fast as ever he had across the fields, jumping over holes made by gophers and groundhogs, jumping over little brooks when he could, and swimming across the ones he couldn’t. No time to find a bridge! He had to find Jinjur!

Finally, he reached Jinjur’s farm. He ran up to the farmhouse, and saw that the door was opened, but the screen door was closed.

“Jinjur! Jinjur! Come quickly! Dorothy needs you! Scarecrow needs you! Everybody needs you! We need the Army of Revolt again.”

Jinjur came up to the door, a pretty young lady, if a bit too determined-looking. “Toto? What’s this you say? My Army of Revolt? It’s been almost a hundred years, and everyone loves Ozma. I no longer wish to rule Oz, or anything but my little farm.”

“Scarecrow says Ozma isn’t Ozma, but to be quiet in case he’s wrong. Scarecrow, Tin man, Lion, all locked up in palace and need Army of Revolt to help!”

“Oh,” said Jinjur. “I suppose the Scarecrow wants the Army right away?”

“Right now!” said Toto.

“Well, I can’t really do that,” said Jinjur. “The Army of Revolt was made up of girls from all over Oz, and only a few of them live around here or in the Emerald City, and I’m afraid that’s all I can find quickly, so that will have to be enough. I’ll tell you what. You go back to the Emerald City and find my old friend Nettie Meshie at 124 Pudding Lane. You tell her that she’s to find all of my old girls that live in the Emerald City now, and in the meantime I’ll saddle my horse and gather as many as I can from here in Munchkin country.”

“Right!” said Toto, and he was off in a flash. Back across the fields, still no time for butterflies or rabbits! No time for anything if he was to be in time to save Oz! Over the gopher holes, over or through the brooks, Toto ran like a greyhound.

And then there he was, back at the Emerald City gates, with the puzzle of the Guardian again. This was the problem with being Princess Dorothy’s little dog; everybody knew him. Sometimes being a celebrity was very nice, but some times (and this was one of them) it was a great bother. How could he get past the Guardian a second time? He looked for picnickers, but during the time he had spent going to and from Jinjur’s. all of them had already eaten their lunches and gone back inside the city to work. Neither were there any farmers arriving for market, for they had all come in the morning. There was simply no way for Toto to conceal himself.

“What’cha doin’, doggie?” came a voice from behind him.

“Yeah, what’cha doin’?” came a second, that sounded exactly like the first.

Toto spun around, and there, behind him, were the Wizard Mee and the Wizard Yew.

“You two?!” said Toto. “Didn’t we leave you back in Underland?”

“We got bored waiting...” said Mee.

“...so we turned invisible...” said Yew.

“...and borrowed the Key...” added Mee.

“...from Uncle Bozzo...” inserted Yew.

“...and here we are.” explained Mee.

“So what’cha doin’, anyway?” concluded Yew.

“Trying to get in there without getting caught,” said Toto.

“Oh, we can do that,” replied Mee.

“It’s easy,” interjected Yew.

“Just follow us,” finished Mee, and off the two of them started toward the gate.

Toto was flabbergasted, but seeing that the two boy wizards might be the only distraction to come along for hours, he followed after them, trying to keep as low to the ground as he could. But he was even more surprised when Mee and Yew marched straight through the gates, and the Guardian didn’t notice them at all. He stood still and shook himself for a moment, to clear his head, but there they were, in plain sight of the Guardian, facing him and waving.

“C’mon doggie!”

“Hurry up!”

“While he’s not looking!”

Toto could not make any sense of it at all, but deciding that he could do anything those two silly Underlanders could do, he ran straight for them, and ran past the Guardian, who didn’t seem to see either him or them at all.

Wishing to ask them more, but knowing that time was important, Toto wheeled around and headed straight for Pudding Lane, to find Jinjur’s friend.

“Hey, whereya goin’, doggie?”

“Yeah, whereya goin’?”

But Toto was already out of sight. After a moment, Mee and Yew looked at each other and shrugged.

“Follow the doggie?”


And off they went, in the direction they had last seen Toto.

“Hey, doggie, wait for us!”

“Yeah, wait for us, doggie!”

Toto heard them coming and ran even faster.

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Chapter 25: ZIP’s Adventure

ZIP flew around from the side of the palace where the dungeons were, and into the main entrance. Because she was so small, and made no sound at all, no one noticed her, except for a robin that was sitting on the edge of the roof, who saw her, but never said a word about it, and by the next morning had completely forgotten all about her.

On the tiny nymph flew, heading straight for the great throne room that dominates the Emerald City palace. There on the throne she found one of the things she was looking for, for sitting on the lap of the pretended Ozma was a very green monkey. ZIP flew up to the ceiling and then placed herself above the throne to listen.

“Now scratch me behind the ears,” the monkey was saying.

The Nome King, looking like Ozma, obeyed, but slowly.

“Come, come,” said the monkey. “Be a good little fairy princess, and once I’m back in my own shape, maybe I’ll let you be.”

“This is embarrassing,” said the old Nome.

“I really don’t care about that,” said Mrs. Yoop. “I’m enjoying myself, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? But,” she said, changing the subject, “isn’t it time for that nasty little boy, Woot, to be here?”

“I told that ridiculous soldier only to arrest them and put them in the dungeon. We’ll have to send someone else to fetch the boy, and I’ll have to ring the bell to fetch someone.”

“Go ahead,” said the monkey.

The Nome King picked up a little bell from a table near the throne and rang it. In a moment, Jellia Jamb appeared. “How may I serve you, Princess?” she said.

“You may go down to the dungeons and you may fetch Woot the Wanderer and you may bring him here, that’s what you may do,” said Ruggedo.

“Very well, Ozma,” said Jellia Jamb, and she left the throne room.

Here was news! ZIP hadn’t found the witch, but here was the green monkey, and Ozma was taking orders from it—or her. But what should she do now? Should she go looking for the witch, or should she stay here and find out what Mrs. Yoop wanted? And what did Mrs. Yoop want with young Woot? And why was the green monkey suddenly hiding behind the throne?

That decided it for ZIP. She flew to a chandelier in the middle of the throne room and waited.

She did not have to wait too long. Soon, Jellia Jamb returned, leading Woot, who had his hands tied together and his legs tied to either end of a short rope, so that he could not run. Jellia looked very ashamed, but Woot seemed to be mostly curious, waiting to see what would happen next.

“I beg your pardon, your Highness,” said Jellia Jamb. “This is Woot the Wanderer. You wanted me to get him.”

“So I did,” said Ruggedo, “so I did.” There was a long silence. “You may go now.”

“Very well, your Highness,” said Jellia Jamb, and she backed slowly out of the room.

When she was gone, Ruggedo continued. “So, you are Woot the Wanderer. I have heard much about you.”

“Excuse me, your Highness, but actually, we’ve met before. It was you who restored me to my proper shape when Mrs. Yoop turned me into a green monkey.”

“Yes, of course, I remember now,” lied Ruggedo. “Well, anyway, speaking of green monkeys, I have a friend who’d like to talk with you.” The monkey came out from behind the throne.

“I just love surprises, don’t you?” it said. “Surprise!”

“Mrs. Yoop!” shouted Woot. “Princess Ozma, this is the wicked Yookoohoo herself! We came to the Emerald City to warn you about her.”

“Well, well, what a coincidence!” said Mrs. Yoop. “I followed you here. You see, I don’t enjoy being a green monkey, and since there must always be a green monkey in the land of Oz, I thought I’d let you take on the job.” The monkey took hold of the apron it was wearing, and suddenly Woot began to shrink and turn green, while Mrs. Yoop started to grow into her own shape as a giantess.

This was too much for ZIP. Without even stopping to think, she flew down to Mrs. Yoop and grabbed one of the apron strings. Her idea was to untie the apron and fly away with it, but it turned out to be heavier than she thought, and right after the bow knot came undone, the string pulled out of her hand, and the apron fell to the floor as the little nymph flew upward. This turned out to be a very good thing, because Woot immediately changed all the way back to his natural self, and Mrs. Yoop changed all the way back to the green monkey.

But ZIP could see that this wouldn’t last for long, as the monkey was reaching for the apron strings, and would clearly have it before ZIP could catch it again. Quickly, ZIP realized that her best chance to fight Yookoohoo magic was a bit of her own computer game magic, and she cried out a spell in her own language.


At once, there was a flash of light, and when the green monkey tried to pick up the apron, it stuck where it was. “Run, Woot, run!” shouted ZIP.

“Where?!” he shouted back.

“Anywhere!” answered ZIP. “No, with me, to the dungeon, so we can rescue the others. Oh, you’re tied up.”


The ropes on Woot fell off by themselves. “Come on!” said ZIP, and off they ran.

The Nome King sat, amazed, on the throne. “What sort of magic was that!” he asked.

“I don’t know, but I’m sure I can defeat it, so don’t expect it to be of any help to you,” said Mrs. Yoop.

*   *   *   *   *

Woot ran, and ZIP flew, through corridors and down staircases, until they came to the dungeon’s back door. ZIP flew in.

“Mrs. Yoop is in the throne room,” ZIP reported, as fast as she could speak. “She seems to have some kind of control over Ozma, and she was going to turn Woot into a green monkey so that she could turn herself back into a giantess. I stopped her for a while when she dropped her apron, by making it be already being worn when she wasn’t wearing it, so she can’t pick it up, because she already has it. So we have to hurry!”

“What?!” said the Scarecrow.

“It’s ZIP’s special magic,” explained Uncle Joe. “Sometimes it doesn’t make any sense at all, but it works all the same. But ZIP, if I remember rightly, she’s helpless without her apron, so why do we have to worry?”

“That’s the problem,” said ZIP. “The way I tricked her means that, even though she isn’t wearing it, it’s being worn by her all the same. If she tries, she’ll discover its magic works just as well as if she were really wearing it.”

“That makes even less sense,” said the Scarecrow.

“Believe me, where she comes from, this happens all the time,” said Uncle Joe. “It even makes a kind of sense, once you know how it works. ZIP, can you open the door for us?”

“Can you open it some other way?” said ZIP. “My specialty is confusing and stopping people, not helping them, so I might get it wrong.”

“Nick, old friend,” said the Scarecrow, “can you open this back door for us?”

“I think I can,” said the Tin Woodman, who began swinging his axe against the big wooden door. He chopped hard and fast, and soon the door was hanging loosely from the wall.

“That’s enough, friend Woodman,” said the Cowardly Lion. “From here on, this is a job for the Tiger and me.” The tin man stepped back, and the two great beasts jumped on the door with all their might. It came crashing down, and they all jumped through to join Woot in the corridor.

Just at that moment, the green monkey came dashing around a corner. “Run, run!” cried ZIP, and all the companions scampered down the corridor in the other direction.

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Chapter 26: The End of the Yookoohoo

Through the corridors and up the stairs they ran, with the green monkey right behind them. “Stop! Stop, or I’ll turn all of you into toads! Into snakes! Into newts!”

But they ran on and on, twisting through halls, and turning onto staircases, sometimes down, but mostly up. Fortunately, all of them, except ZIP, who was flying anyway, had longer legs than the monkey, so they pulled ahead. They could still hear the monkey behind them though, as it occasionally overturned statues and vases in the halls and they crashed to the floor.

But perhaps they weren’t paying enough attention to where they were running, because they eventually found themselves at a dead end, at the top of one of the towers that are at every corner of Ozma’s palace. Each tower has a clock in it, that tells the people of the Emerald City what time it is, playing musical chimes every quarter hour.

From the tower, they would see all of the city and the land around it spread out like a beautiful color map. “If we had the Gump, we could fly away from here,” said Dorothy Anne.

“Yes,” said the Scarecrow, “but we don’t have the Gump. ZIP, can your magic help us here?”

“I don’t see how,” replied the nymph. “My magic is best at doing little things, fastening and unfastening and so on. I can’t make people fly, except myself.”

They all stood looking about, wondering whether Mrs. Yoop had discovered that she had her magic yet.

“What’s this?” said Boq. “What?” said Uncle Joe and the Scarecrow.

“This, here on the wall.” He pointed to a sign.

These are Smith and Tinker’s finest co-acting, chronosynoptic, tetraquadrifacial patent self-regulating mechanical clocks, adjusted for Julian, Gregorian, Lunar, Sidereal, Tropical, and all other forms of Ephemeral time.
To actify our exclusive tetramechanical coordinatronic super-regulator, please apply an appropriate activating force to the energizing stud.

N.B. This mechanism is guaranteed to work perfectly for a thousand years.

“I’m afraid even my wonderful brains cannot make head nor tail of it,” said the Scarecrow.

“That’s all right,” said Uncle Joe. “I know a little of the language it’s written in, which is a far cry from English (or Ozish, which is the same thing). I think it says that this clock has four faces, and that there are four clocks, with sixteen faces all together. Am I right, Princess Dorothy?”

“Yes, there are four of these clocks, one on each of the four towers.”

“Well, then,” continued Uncle Joe, “it goes on to say that they are very, very good clocks that understand all sorts of calendars, and so forth, and—hmmm—it finishes by saying that to resynchronize the four clocks, you should press a button. Let’s see.... Yes, there’s a little black button, right here.”

“But what does ‘resynchronize’ mean?” asked the Tin Woodman.

“It means to make things all run together at the same speed, or at the same time.”

“Run at the same time?” said the Scarecrow. “Nick, what did that receipt say?”

“I still have it, I think,” said the tin Emperor. “Yes, here it is:”

To defeat a Yookoohoo once and for all, make the clocks run on time.

“This must be the answer!”

“Uncle Joe,” said Dorothy Anne, “do you remember that dream I had? Didn’t the missing word have to end in ‘-ize’”?

“Yes,” said Uncle Joe. “Do you remember how it went?”

The little girl thought for a minute. “Yes, I do.” She began to recite:

“There's only one way out; did you surmise
The route by now? For if ’tis a surprise,
Perhaps it is too late, but if you’re wise,
You’ve found the—”                                
                                “—button marked resynchronize!”

finished Uncle Joe. “And way back in Maine, before we started all this, the instructions for the game said to press the ‘resynchronize’ button in event of a malfunction, only there wasn’t any ‘resynchronize’ button. Well, Boq, you found this, so it seems to me that you should do the honors.”

Suddenly, the green monkey burst onto the scene. “I have you now, boy!” She gestured at Woot, and once again the boy began to change into a green monkey, while Mrs. Yoop began to change into a giantess.

“Push the button, Boq!” shouted the Cowardly Lion, as he coiled and sprang onto Mrs. Yoop. But the giantess was growing even as the Lion moved, and he merely bounced off her large side.

“Kitty-cats shouldn’t play so roughly,” said Mrs. Yoop, as she gestured at the Lion, and suddenly in the Lion’s place, there was only a little yellow kitten that let out a single “Mew!” and ran back to the others.

“Where’s the button? I don’t see it,” shouted Boq.

“Another kitty-cat,” said Mrs. Yoop, and the Hungry Tiger disappeared, to be replaced by a cat of white porcelain.

“Right under the sign,” said Uncle Joe.

“Old ways are the best,” said Mrs. Yoop, and there, where the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman had been, were a stuffed bear and a tin owl.

“What? Oh, here!” said Boq, and pressed the button.

Just at that moment, for the first time in many years, the four tower clocks all struck five o’clock at the exact same instant, as though there were only one clock, but four times as loud.

Here’s time for Oz,
Never a pause,
I strike because
Here’s time for Oz.
Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!

Mrs. Yoop, who had completely recovered her own form, shook, as though something had struck her. The kitten, the porcelain cat, the stuffed bear, the tin owl, and the green monkey all vanished, and the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, the Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman, and Woot the Wanderer stood in their places.

“What has happened?” said Mrs. Yoop. “What is wrong with me? Who are you people? And—who am I?”

They all looked at each other. Finally, the Scarecrow spoke. “Your name is Mrs. Yoop, and we are your friends. You’ve been visiting the Emerald City, but now it’s time for you to go home. Only.... Dear me, I don’t quite see how you can get down from here, for you’re much too big to come through the door.”

“I’ll tell you what,” said Uncle Joe. “We’re going to go now, and see if we can find someone who can help get you down. In the meantime, why don’t you enjoy this beautiful view?”

“It is beautiful, isn’t it?” said the giantess. “Look at the sun shining on the jewels of the city—and look at the splendid fields outside. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything so lovely. Go find your friend, to be sure, for I know I cannot stay here forever. But you need not hurry back on my account.”

“Very well,” said the Tin Woodman. “We’ll see you soon.”

As the party were descending the stairs, the tin man asked the Scarecrow, “Do you think she’ll be all right up there?”

“I think so,” said the Scarecrow. “This world is full of many lovely things, but we grow so accustomed to seeing them that we no longer notice. Mrs. Yoop is lucky, because tonight she will see a sunset as though she’s never seen one before.”

“It almost seems like rewarding her for her wickedness,” said the Cowardly Lion.

“Perhaps,” said Uncle Joe, “but it has happened, one way or the other, and I suppose we can even say that she’s learned her lesson, although not in the way that people usually mean it when they say those words. It seems that she will be doing no more harm, and that’s the main thing.”

“You seem to have brains almost as excellent as mine, Mr. Robertson,” said the Scarecrow.

“And a heart almost as kind as mine,” said the Tin Woodman.

“I thank you, gentlemen,” said Uncle Joe. “Coming from you two, that is praise indeed. Still, you deserve more praise than I, for I was born with what I have, while you earned yours.”

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Chapter 27: The New Army of Revolt

As they descended the stairs, they continued to talk.

“ZIP,” said Princess Dorothy, “what did you mean when you said that Mrs. Yoop had some kind of control over Ozma?”

“I don’t know,” said the little nymph, “except that the green monkey told Ozma what to do, and Ozma did it. She didn’t seem to be very happy about it, though.”

“I wish one of us knew more about Yookoohoo magic,” said the Scarecrow. “Perhaps she used it to enslave our dear Ozma.”

“I don’t think so,” said Princess Dorothy, “for I never heard of a Yookoohoo doing anything with magic besides transformations.”

“Yes,” said Uncle Joe, “Reera the Red was a Yookoohoo, too, and that was all she ever used magic for.”

“But then what can have happened to our Princess?” said the Tin Woodman. “It is terrible to think of her as the slave of that wicked Mrs. Yoop.”

“I don’t know,” said the Cowardly Lion, “but we have defeated Mrs. Yoop, now, thanks to Boq, and I am sure we will soon learn the truth about the rest of this.”

“You mustn’t thank me,” said Boq. “All I did was push a button.”

“Nevertheless,” said the Lion, “you pushed the right button when it needed to be pushed, and that makes you our savior.”

They all noticed that Boq seemed to stand up taller after hearing these words, and from that day, he no longer felt in the least embarrassed for not having gone along with Dorothy on her first journey. This time, he had had his chance to be a hero, too.

Eventually, they came, by a side door, into the throne room. There was Ozma (or rather Ruggedo), sitting by herself on the throne.

“Your Highness, we have great news,” began the Scarecrow. “Mrs. Yoop is defeated, and her Yookoohoo magic will never bother us again.”

“That’s nice,” said Ruggedo.

“All that is left to be done is to find some way to remove her from the top of the northwest tower of the palace, for she has returned to her own form as a giantess, and so cannot fit in the stairs.”

“That’s fine,” said Ruggedo.

“So we thought if you could use your Magic Belt—”

“There it is again, the Magic Belt!” roared Ruggedo. He stood up and continued. “The Magic Belt, the Magic Belt. Don’t you think I’d like to...? Oh, never mind. I have a good mind to take the seven—no, I see there are eight of you, with the little fairy—and send you to that dungeon forever!”

“But Ozma, dear—” began Princess Dorothy, when suddenly the great doors to the throne room burst open, and in rushed the New Army of Revolt, led by Jinjur and Toto, and with them the two wizard boys.

“Hi. Are we in time?” shouted Mee.

“Time for the revolution?” clarified Yew.

“We heard there was going to be one...” added Mee.

“...so we came along!” inserted his brother.

“Pardon me, Princess,” said Jinjur, “but we heard from Toto that there was trouble in the palace dungeons, so I put together as many as I could find of my old army (together with their husbands, for almost all of them are married now) and came straight here. When we couldn’t find anyone there, we decided to come here, to ask you what was going on. These two insisted on coming along.” (At her last words, she glared at Mee and Yew.)

“Don’t wanna talk!” screamed Mee.

“Wanna have a revolution now!” agreed Yew, as he gestured and his hands shot a gigantic cream pie straight at the throne.

“Yeah, a revolution! Wanna have a revolution!” yelled Mee, and a big ball of wet, slimy mud flew at the throne from behind.

“Ozma! The Magic Belt!” cried Dorothy, but nothing happened. First the pie and then the ball of mud hit Ruggedo in front and back, and there he stood, still looking like a beautiful fairy, but the messiest beautiful fairy you ever imagined.

Everyone stood in shock, even Mee and Yew, who began to suspect that they just might be in real trouble now. Ruggedo, however, just stood there for a minute, almost like a statue. Then slowly, very slowly, he sat down on the throne. “All right. All right. That’s enough. This whole thing has gone wrong almost from the beginning. Ruling Oz is driving me crazy, I can’t use the Magic Belt, because I can’t even touch it, and now this.”

“I’m not Ozma, I’m Ruggedo. I enchanted Ozma, and Glinda, and the Wizard of Oz, and I made myself look just like Ozma. Everything was going well until that witch and that Yookoohoo showed up, and ever since then everything’s been a mess. Now I’m wrapped in glass, and pie, and mud, and I can’t work any magic, and all I want to do is get out of this silly situation. Even being a cactus was better than this.”

“Ruggedo? The Nome King?” asked Uncle Joe, astonished.

“The very same, I believe,” said the Scarecrow. “But I don’t understand the part about the glass.”

“The Wicked Witch of the East transformed herself into sand, and I transformed myself into a dragon, and I breathed fire on her, and the sand made glass that melted all over me, and then the Yookoohoo said maybe she’d make me better, but only if I did as she said, and now she’s gone, and you’re here, and I just wish this were over.”

“And because of the glass that’s all over you, you can’t use the Magic Belt?” asked Dorothy.

“That’s it,” sighed the miserable Nome.

For a minute, no one could think of anything to say. Then Yew spoke up. “Hey! If you’re the Nome King, that’s my Magic Belt anyway!”

No!” shouted Uncle Joe at once. “We’re not going into that. It may have been your belt once, but it belongs to Princess Dorothy and to Princess Ozma now, and that’s that, and as soon as we can figure out a way to get it off this imposter, it’s going to one of them, not to you.”

“I want my Magic Belt!” yelled Yew.

“But what do you want it for?” asked Dorothy Anne. “You’re already a wizard, so you don’t need any silly little thing like a Magic Belt to work magic. Why, wearing a Magic Belt would only make it look like you weren’t smart enough, or magical enough, to do magic by yourself.”

“Maybe,” grunted Yew, who began to calm down.

“And even if you did want one,” added ZIP, “I bet you could make a much better one from scratch, because you’re much older and wiser now than when you made this one.”

“I’m not sure about the ‘wiser’ part,” whispered Uncle Joe to Dorothy Anne, “and I’m not sure whether a new Magic Belt is such a good idea, anyway. Still he’ll probably forget all about it in a day or two.”

“But what,” asked the Scarecrow, “are we going to do about all that glass? It seems to me that that is our first problem.”

“And after that, we must get the real Ozma back,” added the Tin Woodman.

“Or the Tiger and I will have to pounce on this fake Ozma and tear it to pieces,” said the Lion.

“There will be no need for that,” said a new voice. Everyone turned to see where it had come from, and there, stepping out of a mirror on one of the throne room walls, was Glinda the Good Sorceress, with Neeuq Ixiz right behind her.

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Chapter 28: Glinda Takes Charge

Glinda!” cried Princess Dorothy joyfully. “We’re so glad you’re here!” All our friends gathered around the sorceress and explained what had been happening over the last few days, and Glinda introduced them all to Ixiz and explained where she had been.

When they were all done, Glinda walked over to the throne. “So, Ruggedo, I hear that this time you’ve surrendered.”

“Yes, I surrender. I give up. I yield. Just get me out of this awful mess.”

“Well, the first thing I suppose I must do is obtain the Magic Belt. It will be much easier for Dorothy or the real Ozma to use the Belt to undo the wickedness you have done with it than for me to oppose its magic with my own. But if I remove the glass from you, you will be able to use the Belt again, and I do not think I can trust you to do that. Here, drink this.” Suddenly, there was a golden cup in Glinda’s hand, though nobody could see how it got there.

“Is it poison?” said Ruggedo.

“No, foolish Nome, it is not poison, for I do not deal in such,” said Glinda. “It will merely send you to sleep while I remove from you the glass, and then the Magic Belt. Drink! so that we may all soon be done with this.”

Ruggedo stared at Glinda’s face for a moment, and then took the cup. Again he hesitated, but then made up his mind and drank the potion down in one gulp.

“Lie down, now, as you will be asleep very quickly,” said the sorceress, and he obeyed. Almost at once he was in a sound sleep, and Glinda produced a glass cutter and proceeded to go to work.

“Excuse me, but will the witch be hurt?” asked the Tin Woodman. “She was an enemy to me, but I could not stand to see her cut up.”

“No indeed,” said Glinda, “for this was never the Wicked Witch of the East at all. She died a hundred years ago today, when Dorothy’s house landed on her and destroyed her. Do not blame yourself for unloosing a wicked witch on Oz,” she continued to Uncle Joe, “for this thing was never alive at all; it was merely the old witch’s hatred and evil, given a sort of life of its own because it was so strong. Besides, you have heard from Ruggedo what happened; if you had not uncovered the golden stockings, who knows what might have happened these last few days? The Nome King’s plan was a very clever one, after all, and this sand witch may have saved us all.”

As she spoke, she finished cutting the glass apart, and removed all the pieces. Then she spoke a word under her breath, and the glass transformed back to sand. She spoke another word, and the sand vanished. “I have dispersed the sand throughout the Deadly Desert, where no one is ever likely to encounter it again,” she said. “Now on to Ozma,” she added, as she removed the Magic Belt from Ruggedo and gave it to Dorothy. “But I have been careless. I do not know what Ruggedo did with Ozma, and he will remain asleep for some time yet.”

“It seems to me,” said Uncle Joe, “that it might be interesting to look in the palace conservatory for a cactus that shouldn’t be there. As I remember, that was Ruggedo’s last known address.”

“That is very clever of you,” said Glinda. “Dorothy, why don’t you try that? In the meantime, I believe the Wizard is still to be found.” She rang a bell, and Jellia Jamb appeared. “Jellia, don’t be afraid anymore. This isn’t Ozma, but the Nome King. The real Ozma should be back soon, but I believe Princess Dorothy gave you a baby to care for a day or two ago.”

“Indeed, great Glinda, she did,” said Jellia Jamb, with the beginnings of a new smile.

“Then if you can bring this baby here to us, I believe I can relieve you of your charge.”

Jellia Jamb dropped a quick curtsy, and ran off to do as she was bid.

Glinda turned to Mee and Yew, who had been quiet this whole time, recognizing for the first time in their lives a magical power far beyond their own. “I know that you two have lived long in your Underland, not knowing that, as subjects of Princess Ozma, you are forbidden to work magic. Moreover, it may even be that Underland has need of a magic worker or two, and Ozma has, from time to time, made exceptions to the law for those who prove themselves sufficiently useful. Therefore, I shall not, unless Ozma should bid me to, remove your magical powers. However, from this moment on, you will be unable to perform any more magic, with three exceptions. First, if you decide to learn how to perform magic responsibly, and take on a teacher, you will be permitted to work whatever spells are necessary for your studies, provided that Ozma has approved of your choice of instructor. Second, you will be permitted to work any magic for the good of Underland, provided that the Mayor of North Underland and your parents agree. Third, if you decide to grow up, and Ozma gives you permission, you will be free to work magic at your will. If you attempt to work any magic otherwise, it will fail, and I will know of it.”

“But we helped!” said Mee.

“Yeah, we helped!” said Yew.

“It is true that you helped to defeat Ruggedo, but so did that poor mixture of magic and ashes that thought it was the Wicked Witch of the East, and so did Mrs. Yoop, and yet they did not mean to do good. You didn’t mean to do good, either; you just joined Jinjur’s army because you like the idea of making a mess of things. Not another word, you two! Just hope that Princess Ozma’s idea of a fit punishment is not worse than mine.”

*   *   *   *   *

Princess Dorothy ran through the conservatory, wearing the Magic Belt, for she remembered well enough where the cactus that had been the Nome King had been. Sure enough, there was a cactus, of an unusually brilliant shade of emerald green, in the same place. It took only a moment for her to use the Belt to transform the cactus back into her old friend.

“Ozma, I’m so glad you’re back!” she cried.

“Back?” said the Princess, but then she looked around and saw where she was. “Well, since I don’t remember going to bed here in the conservatory, I suppose I’ve been transformed again?”

“Yes,” said Dorothy, giving the beautiful fairy a hug, “but everything’s all right now. Ruggedo got loose and transformed you and Glinda and the Wizard, and Mrs. Yoop and the Wicked Witch of the East—sort of—got into it, but we all pitched in, along with some new friends, and now Glinda’s fixing everything up. She sent me here to rescue you while she was taking care of other things. Oh, here, you’d better take the Magic Belt. There's more work for it to do, and you’re better at magic than I am. Anyway, now we have to go back to the throne room.”

They arrived just as Jellia Jamb was bringing the baby in. “Hello, Princess,” said Glinda with a smile. “I’m afraid this baby is the Wizard of Oz. Do you think you could fix him up?”

Ozma touched the Belt for a moment, and there was the little Wizard of Oz. “Thank you, Ozma,” he said. “It was very awkward being a baby again at my age, and I’m most appreciative to be put back as I ought to be.” (Having been a baby, rather than a cactus, the Wizard had some notion of what had been going on the last few days, although, of course, he knew only a very little of the whole story.)

“There are a few things left to be done,” said Glinda, “such as bringing back the Wizard’s Black Bag, the Magic Picture, and so on, but they can more easily be done once Ruggedo has awakened. May I suggest that after you have used the Magic Belt to restore him to his proper form, we place him under guard in one of the palace’s guest rooms?”

“Yes, let us do that,” said Ozma, and as she touched the Magic Belt, the Nome was restored to his own shape. “Jellia, please take care of him; and then join us in the banquet hall.”

“The banquet hall?” chorused everyone.

“I know that we missed part of Dorothy’s celebration, but it is not yet six o’clock, and if Scraps has done her job, there should still be a celebration tonight, and we would not want to upset either our beloved Patchwork Girl or our guests.”

“I forgot all about the celebration!” said Dorothy.

“Yes, but Scraps very likely hasn’t,” said Ozma with a smile.

“I will join you there,” said Glinda. “First, I must do something about Mrs. Yoop.”

“What will you do?” wondered Uncle Joe.

“I will send her back to her own castle in the Gillikin country, and for the time being, I will make some magical arrangements so that she will not grow hungry. In time, no doubt, she will have to learn how to make herself useful, like other grown-ups, but right now she is so like a child that she will have to be taken care of.”

“Ozma,” said Toto, “what about my smeller?”

“Right you are, Toto!” said Ozma, and she touched the Belt.

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Chapter 29: Dorothy’s Celebration

Scraps had not forgotten the party, nor had she heard of Ruggedo’s command to cancel the festivities, and so the banquet went on as planned. Of course, it really does not do to leave Oz’s Patchwork Girl all alone in charge of things, so there were occasional hitches. The King of Bunnybury really shouldn’t have been given a seat next to the Hungry Tiger, since the King and all his people happen to be rabbits, and perhaps it wasn’t altogether wise to put the Frogman next to the friendly stork who had been so useful to Dorothy and her friends on their long-ago journey. The Queen of the field mice kept looking uneasily at Eureka the kitten, while John Dough the gingerbread man and Mr. Pop Over of Bunbury seemed miffed at losing their respective uniqueness, until they noticed that the Tin Woodman and his almost twin, Captain Fyter, the Tin Soldier, did not seem to mind each other’s company, at least not on such a special occasion.

The palace cooks had outdone themselves, and the food was magnificent. Those who needed very special food, such as the Woozy, had whatever they liked, and those whose appetites were more ordinary had a splendid array of chops, roasts, salads, and vegetables—but only the vegetables that they liked. For dessert there was Ozcream with Ozade-syrup sauce and a huge chocolate surprise cake made to look like the cyclone that originally brought Dorothy to Oz.

After dessert came the entertainment. The Tin Woodman sang “Our Ozma, our Dear”, the Frogman recited a poem of his adventures, the Guardian of the Gates and the Soldier with the Green Whiskers (who were very glad to learn that the Ozma who had been so wicked was an imposter) performed a duet for Ozophone and piccoloz, Boq told the story of Dorothy’s first day among the Munchkins, and Uncle Joe won a thunderous round of applause by singing a funny song called “The Traveller and the Pie,” which he explained came from a play that Mr. L. Frank Baum had made out of the story of Dorothy’s first adventure.

“I didn’t like that play,” said Toto. “He turned me into a cow.”

“He didn’t turn you into a cow, exactly,” said Uncle Joe. “But in America, there are no talking animals, and it’s much easier for a human actor to dress up as a cow than as a little dog.”

“I suppose so,” said Toto, “but I didn’t much like it anyway.”

“Well,” said Uncle Joe, “over the years, many people have told stories about Oz in the great outside world. I see now that some of them are certainly not true— and a good thing, where some of them are concerned—but Mr. Baum’s are still the most famous and the most loved.”

“He was a very good man,” said Dorothy, “and I was glad to help him tell stories about Oz for all the boys and girls in the outside world.”

“It isn’t only boys and girls,” said Dorothy Anne. “Uncle Joe still likes reading the Oz books, and he’s even a member of the Oz Club, where practically all they do is talk about Oz.”

“And you have no idea how wonderful it is,” Uncle Joe continued, “actually to be here, here in the Emerald City, in Oz, and to meet all of you, after I’ve read so many of your stories, over the years.”

“And what’s more,” said Cap’n Bill, a sailor who used to live in California, “I hear you helped save Oz from its latest danger.”

“A lot of people helped, mostly people from Oz,” blushed Uncle Joe. “I just happened to be there.”

After that, there was coffee or tea for the grown-ups and hot Ozade for the children. (Some of the beasts had something, too.) Then everyone went outside to see fireworks, and a new play about Dorothy’s first trip to Oz, which everyone said was the best one yet. Afterwards, the children went to sleep. (Naturally, Dorothy Anne had a fine guest room in the palace, right next to Uncle Joe’s.) One at a time, the others joined them, either to sleep, or, for those who did not sleep, to talk quietly with others like themselves, so as not to disturb the rest. At last, Uncle Joe and Ozma were the only ones left.

“I have said before,” Uncle Joe was saying, “that I feel as though I’m cheating. I know that other adults have come to Oz before me, like Cap’n Bill and the Shaggy Man, but somehow it doesn’t feel right, me being here. I keep thinking that Oz is for children.”

“And yet you were brought here,” said Ozma, “and in my experience, no one ever comes to Oz without a reason. You certainly helped save us from the Nome King and Mrs. Yoop.”

“I know, I know,” said Uncle Joe. “But it still feels strange, as though I don’t deserve it.”

“Didn’t a wise man from the outside world say something like, ‘If everyone was treated the way he deserved, everyone would get a whipping’? Even in Oz, I don’t know anyone who is perfect.”

“No,” said Uncle Joe. “No, you’re right. Unless, maybe, you’re perfect, Princess Ozma.”

Ozma smiled. “Mr. Robertson, you are a mortal, and I am a fairy; even if I were perfect, how would you know? Believe me, I try to be as wise and good as I can be, for the happiness of the Oz people depends much upon what I can do for them, but I have still made mistakes from time to time.”

“Part of me would like to quarrel with you about that,” replied Uncle Joe, “but I am wise enough to realize that anything more that I say about the subject would be very foolish.”

For a while, they just sat.

“Is it as wonderful, living in Oz all the time, as it is to visit?” he finally asked.

“Not as wonderful, certainly, for the word wonderful means ‘full of wonders’, and no place seems so full of wonders when you actually live there. People from the outside world have often told me that Oz is the most beautiful place in the world, so many times that I must believe them, but I am sure there are still many beautiful places in Maine, and America, and the rest of the outside world, and for me, there would surely be as many wonders there as here. Your scientists have managed to do many things that seem like magic to us. In fact, we have sometimes used magic to copy them; for example, we have made magical computers. But to us, your machines made without magic are even more wonderful than our own machines that need magic to make them work.”

“Yet your people seem much happier than ours.”

“I know so little of the outside world, Mr. Robertson, that I do not care to talk too much about it. But if you really want me to guess, I would say that your problem may have something to do with money. As you know, we have mostly abolished money here, although we sometimes use it, here and there, as a way of keeping score about things. Now, I don’t say that you should abolish money in America, because that is a very hard thing to do in a land where you don’t have magic to solve problems in an emergency.”

“It is true,” said Uncle Joe, “that countries that try abolishing money in the outside world haven’t done very well. Some people even say that Oz is wicked to try.”

“Then you shouldn’t abolish money, until you are more like Oz. Nevertheless, I think that you have a problem caused by money, because you forget that the only reason for having money is to make it easier for people to trade one thing for another. Instead you begin to treat money as if it were a good thing by itself, and that makes people chase after more and more money, and even use money to make more money, even when it hurts other people. People in the outside world, if I am correctly informed, do work that they don’t like, making things that nobody really wants, and then talking people into buying them, all in the name of more money. They would be happier if they made things that they liked making, and that their neighbors really needed. Or so it seems to me; I may be wrong.”

“No, Princess, I do not think you are. But it is late, and my mortal body is getting sleepy. Shall I see you in the morning?”

“Yes indeed, Mr. Robertson. Thank you for this talk.”

“Oh no, your Highness, thank you. I think I have learned much from what you have told me.”

“Perhaps, but I believe I have also learned. Sometimes the one who has to answer questions, after all, learns as much as the one who hears the answers.”

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Chapter 30: How the Nome King was Punished

Early the next morning, Ozma, Glinda, the Scarecrow, and Uncle Joe met at the door of the Nome King’s room. “Good morning, your Highness, mighty sorceress, and great Scarecrow,” said Uncle Joe.

“I’m not sure how great I am,” said the Scarecrow.

“Why, you were once king of all Oz, as I recall,” said Uncle Joe, “and so I call you ‘great’. I can’t just call you ‘Scarecrow’, as though we went to school together, after all.”

“Why not?” asked the Scarecrow.

“I don’t know,” said Uncle Joe, “but I know I can’t.”

Glinda opened the door. “Our prisoner should be waking in a moment,” she said as they entered.

Even as they did, the old Nome awoke. “So, here you are, my enemies. Well, what do you want with me? And what is he doing here?” he said, pointing to Uncle Joe.

Glinda answered him. “First, we are here to learn of the treasures of Oz that you stole.”

“They are all in a room in the palace cellars,” said Ruggedo. “I can show you the way there, but I think I would get mixed up if I tried to tell you.”

“This sounds like a trick,” said the Scarecrow.

“I think not,” said Ozma. “Many people can find a place without getting lost, who nevertheless cannot tell you how to get there. But it doesn’t matter, as my Silver Wand will tell me, now that it has an idea where to look.” She took out the Silver Wand, which is her own, as a fairy, and pointed it downward. “Yes,” she said, after a moment, “they’re all there. And now,” she said a moment later, after touching the Magic Belt, “they’re all back where they belong.”

“So,” said the Scarecrow, “that leaves only the problem of what we are to do with this wicked old Nome. Shall we make a cactus of him again?”

“I don’t know,” said Ozma, “although he remained a prisoner of that cactus for a very, very long time, he did eventually escape.”

“But do we have anything better?” asked Glinda.

“If the three of you will pardon me,” said Uncle Joe, “I’d like to talk with the prisoner before you do anything to him.”

Ozma gave him a queer look, but then turned to the door. “Glinda, Scarecrow, I think Mr. Robertson has something to say to Ruggedo. Let us give him an opportunity.” The three of them went out the door.

“I ask again, what are you doing here?” said Ruggedo.

“Well,” said Uncle Joe, “I’ve met most of the Oz celebrities in the last two days, but you are one of the most famous of all, and I haven’t met you yet.”

“An Oz celebrity? Me?!” laughed Ruggedo.

“Yes indeed,” said Uncle Joe. “All my life I’ve read the Oz books; so did my father, and so did his father. In the outside world, some of the Oz folk are as famous as they are here, and you are one of the most famous. Many people know you. Many people even love you.”

“Love me?!” Ruggedo laughed even harder.

“In a way, yes. When I read about you, how you enchanted the royal family of Ev, how you dug a tunnel under the Deadly Desert to invade Oz, all the many times since then you’ve tried to conquer Oz, I was glad that you didn’t win, but it was always fun to read the story of how you tried. Lots of villains have tried to conquer Oz over the years, of course, but you were always my favorite. I think you’re most people’s favorite, too.”

“So does that mean that you think I should still keep on conquering Oz?”

“Ha-ha!” laughed Uncle Joe. “I suppose in a way I do think that. But,” he continued in a more serious tone of voice, “only as long as you keep failing.”

“That sounds nice for you, but not very nice for me,” grumbled Ruggedo.

“Then maybe you should stop trying. After all, look at the Oz people. They’re happy. They’re really, really happy, and they never try conquering anybody, whereas you keep trying to conquer them, and have spent most of the last hundred years being punished for one thing or another. Most of the time, it hasn’t even been the Oz people who have punished you, but someone else, much more powerful than you. So if conquering Oz always gets you into trouble, why not just stop conquering Oz?”

For a long time, Ruggedo just sat there, on the edge of his bed, with a strange look on his face. Finally, he spoke. “Mortal, for the first time in a long while, I feel uncertain about my deeds. I will not promise to be good, and even if I did, I don’t suppose anyone would believe me, for I’ve promised that before. But I will think about what you have said, at least if they don’t turn me again into something that doesn’t think.”

“Please do that,” said Uncle Joe. “You’re no fun when you’re being a cactus, and I don’t suppose it’s any fun for you, either.” He went to the door, “We’re ready now,” he said, and Ozma, Glinda, and the Scarecrow returned.

“Well,” said Ruggedo, “what is it to be? Banishment? Perhaps you will turn me into a mouse or a beetle this time?”

“We haven’t decided,” said Ozma. “It seems that no matter what is done to you, you always come back to bother us.”

“Then,” said Ruggedo, with a grin that seemed strangely unlike him, “perhaps you should do nothing to me, and perhaps then I will do nothing to you.”

“I do not think we can do nothing,” said the Scarecrow, “but it seems to me that one old Nome isn’t very dangerous unless he has magical powers. Once, Tititi-Hoochoo, the great Jinjin, took away all of Ruggedo’s powers, and that one time he actually seemed to be behaving himself for a while.”

“Princess, Lady Glinda,” said Uncle Joe, “is it possible to keep Ruggedo from being able to use any magic, whether it’s his own or not?”

“Yes, that could be done,” said Glinda.

“Ruggedo, you had some magic this time, to get unenchanted and to steal all the things you did, didn’t you?” continued Uncle Joe.

“I don’t exactly know how I was unenchanted,” said Ruggedo. “All I know is that some child poured a lot of water on the cactus, and suddenly I wasn’t a cactus anymore. Since the child paid no attention to me, I suppose she never had any notion of what she had done. As to what I did afterwards, I found a satchel in the palace, which I discovered takes you to the land inside mirrors, to the land inside mirrors inside mirrors, and so on.”

“And that’s where you put me,” said Glinda.

“Not exactly. I put you in the same place, but I did that with the Magic Belt, after I had it. I used the satchel to sneak around the palace, and got the Belt with that. You’ll find the satchel in the same room where the other things were.”

Ozma took out her Silver Wand and then touched the Magic Belt. In a moment, the satchel was there before them. Glinda picked it up.

“‘Professor Marzipan-Little’s Fractal Satchel’” she read. “‘Anything goes right in.’ How does this work?” she asked.

“Just as it says,” said Ruggedo. “If you climb in and turn to the right, you’ll get into the world inside the mirror, and if you get out and climb in again and turn right again, you’ll get into the mirror world inside the mirror world. If you climb in and turn left, you’ll move out until you get to the real world.”

“What if you turn left again?” asked the Scarecrow.

“I never tried that,” replied Ruggedo.

“I’m not sure it would be a good idea to try,” said Uncle Joe.

“Well, Ruggedo, I’m going to take Mr. Robertson’s suggestion,” said Ozma. “Glinda, can you make him magic-proof?”

“I have already done it,” replied the beautiful Sorceress.

“Very well, then,” said Ozma. “Ruggedo, I’m sure you’re feeling flummoxed just now, so you are free to stay here in this room at the palace until you have some idea of what you mean to do with yourself, and if you wish to leave, this room will be kept ready for you, should you need it.”

“Thank you, Princess,” said Ruggedo.

“You should thank Mr. Robertson,” said the fairy.

“Thank you, sir,” said Ruggedo.

“You’re welcome,” said Uncle Joe.

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Chapter 31: Back to Maine

For the rest of the day, the Emerald City had the parades and other extravaganzas that had been planned for the day before, completing the celebration of Princess Dorothy’s anniversary. Dorothy Anne was fascinated by it all: the bands, the magical display by the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the amazing gymnastic displays by the students of Professor Wogglebug’s Athletic College.

But as the evening came, Uncle Joe spoke to her. “Dear, being in Oz has been delightful, but I think it’s time for us to go back to America.”

“I know, Uncle Joe. Oz is wonderful, but I guess you have to get back to work.”

“Yes, and you have to be back in school, don’t you?”

“Yes,” said the little girl. “I guess I do.”

Ozma appeared at the door. “Mr. Robertson, I’d like to speak with you alone for a moment.”

“Very well, your Highness,” he said, and went out the door. Dorothy Anne could not hear what they were saying, but after a minute, they came in together.

“Well, Dorothy Anne, are you ready to go home?” said Ozma.

“Yes, Ozma, I’m ready. But can I ever come back to Oz?”

“I don’t know,” replied the fairy, “but I have noticed that the boys and girls who come to Oz often come back, so I suppose there is a chance. Besides, we still have no idea who sent you the mysterious game that brought you to Oz.”

At that moment, ZIP flew in. “Hello, Dorothy Anne,” she said. “I hear you’re leaving us.”

“Are you staying, ZIP?” said the little girl.

“Yes, I’m staying in Oz. Since the Castle of the Implementors is gone, I really don’t have any place to call home, and Oz is so beautiful. And Ozma says it’s all right for me to keep doing magic, as long as I don’t make a nuisance of myself, because a nymph is a kind of fairy, and the law against magic doesn’t apply to fairies. So Oz will be my new home!”

“That’s wonderful, ZIP. I’m so happy for you.”

“If you’re ready,” said Ozma, “I can send you home right away. And, Dorothy Anne, I have a surprise for you there.”

“Do you, Ozma? Then I’ll thank you right now.”

“Are you ready, my dear? Are you ready, Mr. Robertson?”

“Yes,” said Uncle Joe, “I think we’re ready.” Dorothy Anne nodded. They saw Ozma’s hand move toward the Magic Belt, and suddenly there they were back in the room with Uncle Joe’s computer. On the screen, there was a message.

Thank you for playing “A Day in Oz”.
Watch for “A Day in Oz II: Return to Jinxland”

“Well,” said Uncle Joe, “I guess that was only to be expected. What’s a successful game without a sequel?”

“So we will go back to Oz, Uncle Joe?” asked Dorothy Anne. “I don’t know, dear, we’ll have to see that when it comes.” The front doorbell rang.

“Now who could that be?” asked Uncle Joe. “Dorothy Anne, why don’t you find out?”

Dorothy Anne ran to the door, and paused. “Go ahead, open the door; it’s all right,” said Uncle Joe, so the little girl did. There, on the doorstep, stood Dorothy Anne’s mother and father!

“Mommy! Daddy!” she cried. “Where have you been?”

“On the island of Pingaree,” said her father. “When our airplane went down, we found ourselves just a little way from the beach, and we all swam there. We’ve been there ever since, because no one on Pingaree had any idea where America was or how to make a radio, but this afternoon, Prince Inga came to us, and said that we would all be sent back to our homes by magic, tonight. And here we are!”

“Uncle Joe,” said Dorothy Anne, “was that Ozma’s surprise?”

“Yes it was, dear. The island of Pingaree isn’t far from Oz. At dinner last night, I told her about your Mom and Dad, and so she had the idea of looking in the Magic Picture today, where she found them on Pingaree.”

“Oz? Ozma?” said Mrs. Peridot. “Did I hear you correctly? Have you been in Oz?”

“Yes, Mommy,” said Dorothy Anne. “Uncle Joe and I were in Oz, and we met Ozma, and the Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, and Glinda, and Dorothy, and even the Nome King. And we helped to save Oz, and Ozma just sent us home now, and she sent you home, too.”

“It sounds like quite a story,” said Mr. Peridot, “and I have a feeling there’s going to be no bedtime until we hear it all. So tell us all about it, dear.”

“Well,” began Dorothy Anne, “it all started when Uncle Joe got a new DVD-ROM called A Day in Oz....”

*   *   *   *   *

And here, for the moment, our story ends, for there is little more to say, except that Mee and Yew did go back to Underland, where they have been behaving themselves, so far, and Toto and General Jinjur and her New Army of Revolt all got medals for their part in defeating Ruggedo.

Queen Zixi had come to Dorothy’s party, and Glinda introduced her to Ixiz. At first, Zixi was very unhappy to see Ixiz again, but Glinda told her: “Queen Zixi, Ixiz is a part of you, and you are a part of her, and it is not right for the two of you to be separated. Whether you see her in the mirror or not, you must know that she will always be there. To send her away is only deceiving yourself, and I never thought that you were that easy to deceive.”

“I suppose you are right, as usual, Glinda,” said Zixi. “Ixiz, you are welcome to return to my mirror. But try to smile more when we get up in the morning, if you please.”

As for Ruggedo himself, he has so far stayed reformed, and spends most of his days telling stories about his adventures to the children of the Emerald City, who all agree that they like a good villain, as long as he isn’t actually hurting anybody. And who can deny that that is the best kind of villain?

The End

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