The Marvelous Land of Oz eBook: Page2

L. Frank Baum (1993)


  Then she measured out equal parts of milk and vinegar and poured them into the kettle. Next she produced several packets of herbs and powders and began adding a portion of each to the contents of the kettle. Occasionally she would draw near the candle and read from a yellow paper the recipe of the mess she was concocting.

  As Tip watched her his uneasiness increased.

  "What is that for?" he asked.

  "For you," returned Mombi, briefly.

  Tip wriggled around upon his stool and stared awhile at the kettle, which was beginning to bubble. Then he would glance at the stern and wrinkled features of the witch and wish he were any place but in that dim and smoky kitchen, where even the shadows cast by the candle upon the wall were enough to give one the horrors. So an hour passed away, during which the silence was only broken by the bubbling of the pot and the hissing of the flames.

  Finally, Tip spoke again.

  "Have I got to drink that stuff?" he asked, nodding toward the pot.

  "Yes," said Mombi.

  "What'll it do to me?" asked Tip.

  "If it's properly made," replied Mombi, "it will change or transform you into a marble statue."

  Tip groaned, and wiped the perspiration from his forehead with his sleeve.

  "I don't want to be a marble statue!" he protested.

  "That doesn't matter I want you to be one," said the old woman, looking at him severely.

  "What use'll I be then?" asked Tip. "There won't be any one to work for you."

  "I'll make the Pumpkinhead work for me," said Mombi.

  Again Tip groaned.

  "Why don't you change me into a goat, or a chicken?" he asked, anxiously. "You can't do anything with a marble statue."

  "Oh, yes, I can," returned Mombi. "I'm going to plant a flower garden, next Spring, and I'll put you in the middle of it, for an ornament. I wonder I haven't thought of that before; you've been a bother to me for years."

  At this terrible speech Tip felt the beads of perspiration starting all over his body. but he sat still and shivered and looked anxiously at the kettle.

  "Perhaps it won't work," he mutttered, in a voice that sounded weak and discouraged.

  "Oh, I think it will," answered Mombi, cheerfully. "I seldom make a mistake."

  Again there was a period of silence a silence so long and gloomy that when Mombi finally lifted the kettle from the fire it was close to midnight.

  "You cannot drink it until it has become quite cold," announced the old witch for in spite of the law she had acknowledged practising witchcraft. "We must both go to bed now, and at daybreak I will call you and at once complete your transformation into a marble statue."

  With this she hobbled into her room, bearing the steaming kettle with her, and Tip heard her close and lock the door.

  The boy did not go to bed, as he had been commanded to do, but still sat glaring at the embers of the dying fire.

  The Flight of the Fugitives

  *

  Tip reflected.

  "It's a hard thing, to be a marble statue," he thought, rebelliously, "and I'm not going to stand it. For years I've been a bother to her, she says; so she's going to get rid of me. Well, there's an easier way than to become a statue. No boy could have any fun forever standing in the middle of a flower garden! I'll run away, that's what I'll do — and I may as well go before she makes me drink that nasty stuff in the kettle." He waited until the snores of the old witch announced she was fast asleep, and then he arose softly and went to the cupboard to find something to eat.

  "No use starting on a journey without food," he decided, searching upon the narrow shelves.

  He found some crusts of bread; but he had to look into Mombi's basket to find the cheese she had brought from the village. While turning over the contents of the basket he came upon the pepper-box which contained the "Powder of Life."

  "I may as well take this with me," he thought, "or Mombi'll be using it to make more mischief with." So he put the box in his pocket, together with the bread and cheese.

  Then he cautiously left the house and latched the door behind him. Outside both moon and stars shone brightly, and the night seemed peaceful and inviting after the close and ill-smelling kitchen.

  "I'll be glad to get away," said Tip, softly; "for I never did like that old woman. I wonder how I ever came to live with her."

  He was walking slowly toward the road when a thought made him pause.

  "I don't like to leave Jack Pumpkinhead to the tender mercies of old Mombi," he muttered. "And Jack belongs to me, for I made him even if the old witch did bring him to life."

  He retraced his steps to the cow-stable and opened the door of the stall where the pumpkin-headed man had been left.

  Jack was standing in the middle of the stall, and by the moonlight Tip could see he was smiling just as jovially as ever.

  "Come on!" said the boy, beckoning."

  "Where to?" asked Jack.

  "You'll know as soon as I do," answered Tip, smiling sympathetically into the pumpkin face.

  "All we've got to do now is to tramp."

  "Very well," returned Jack, and walked awkwardly out of the stable and into the moonlight.

  Tip turned toward the road and the man followed him. Jack walked with a sort of limp, and occasionally one of the joints of his legs would turn backward, instead of frontwise, almost causing him to tumble. But the Pumpkinhead was quick to notice this, and began to take more pains to step carefully; so that he met with few accidents.

  Tip led him along the path without stopping an instant. They could not go very fast, but they walked steadily; and by the time the moon sank away and the sun peeped over the hills they had travelled so great a distance that the boy had no reason to fear pursuit from the old witch. Moreover, he had turned first into one path, and then into another, so that should anyone follow them it would prove very difficult to guess which way they had gone, or where to seek them.

  Fairly satisfied that he had escaped — for a time, at least — being turned into a marble statue, the boy stopped his companion and seated himself upon a rock by the roadside.

  "Let's have some breakfast," he said.

  Jack Pumpkinhead watched Tip curiously, but refused to join in the repast. "I don't seem to be made the same way you are," he said.

  "I know you are not," returned Tip; "for I made you."

  "Oh! Did you?" asked Jack.

  "Certainly. And put you together. And carved your eyes and nose and ears and mouth," said Tip proudly. "And dressed you."

  Jack looked at his body and limbs critically.

  "It strikes me you made a very good job of it," he remarked.

  "Just so-so," replied Tip, modestly; for he began to see certain defects in the construction of his man. "If I'd known we were going to travel together I might have been a little more particular."

  "Why, then," said the Pumpkinhead, in a tone that expressed surprise, "you must be my creator my parent my father!"

  "Or your inventor," replied the boy with a laugh. "Yes, my son; I really believe I am!"

  "Then I owe you obedience," continued the man, "and you owe me — support."

  "That's it, exactly", declared Tip, jumping up. "So let us be off."

  "Where are we going?" asked Jack, when they had resumed their journey.

  "I'm not exactly sure," said the boy; "but I believe we are headed South, and that will bring us, sooner or later, to the Emerald City."

  "What city is that?" enquired the Pumpkinhead.

  "Why, it's the center of the Land of Oz, and the biggest town in all the country. I've never been there, myself, but I've heard all about its history. It was built by a mighty and wonderful Wizard named Oz, and everything there is of a green color — just as everything in this Country of the Gillikins is of a purple color."

  "Is everything here purple?" asked Jack.

  "Of course it is. Can't you see?" returned the boy.

  "I believe I must be color-blind," said the Pumpkinhead, after sta
ring about him.

  "Well, the grass is purple, and the trees are purple, and the houses and fences are purple," explained Tip. "Even the mud in the roads is purple. But in the Emerald City everything is green that is purple here. And in the Country of the Munchkins, over at the East, everything is blue; and in the South country of the Quadlings everything is red; and in the West country of the Winkies, where the Tin Woodman rules, everything is yellow."

  "Oh!" said Jack. Then, after a pause, he asked: "Did you say a Tin Woodman rules the Winkies?"

  "Yes; he was one of those who helped Dorothy to destroy the Wicked Witch of the West, and the Winkies were so grateful that they invited him to become their ruler, — just as the people of the Emerald City invited the Scarecrow to rule them."

  "Dear me!" said Jack. "I'm getting confused with all this history. Who is the Scarecrow?"

  "Another friend of Dorothy's," replied Tip.

  "And who is Dorothy?"

  "She was a girl that came here from Kansas, a place in the big, outside World. She got blown to the Land of Oz by a cyclone, and while she was here the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman accompanied her on her travels."

  "And where is she now?" inquired the Pumpkinhead.

  "Glinda the Good, who rules the Quadlings, sent her home again," said the boy.

  "Oh. And what became of the Scarecrow?"

  "I told you. He rules the Emerald City," answered Tip.

  "I thought you said it was ruled by a wonderful Wizard," objected Jack, seeming more and more confused.

  "Well, so I did. Now, pay attention, and I'll explain it," said Tip, speaking slowly and looking the smiling Pumpkinhead squarely in the eye. "Dorothy went to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard to send her back to Kansas; and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman went with her. But the Wizard couldn't send her back, because he wasn't so much of a Wizard as he might have been. And then they got angry at the Wizard, and threatened to expose him; so the Wizard made a big balloon and escaped in it, and no one has ever seen him since."

  "Now, that is very interesting history," said Jack, well pleased; "and I understand it perfectly all but the explanation."

  "I'm glad you do," responded Tip. "After the Wizard was gone, the people of the Emerald City made His Majesty, the Scarecrow, their King; "and I have heard that he became a very popular ruler."

  "Are we going to see this queer King?" asked Jack, with interest.

  "I think we may as well," replied the boy; "unless you have something better to do."

  "Oh, no, dear father," said the Pumpkinhead. "I am quite willing to go wherever you please."

  Tip Makes an Experiment in Magic

  *

  The boy, small and rather delicate in appearance seemed somewhat embarrassed at being called "father" by the tall, awkward, pumpkinheaded man, but to deny the relationship would involve another long and tedious explanation; so he changed the subject by asking, abruptly:

  "Are you tired?"

  "Of course not!" replied the other. "But," he continued, after a pause, "it is quite certain I shall wear out my wooden joints if I keep on walking."

  Tip reflected, as they journeyed on, that this was true. He began to regret that he had not constructed the wooden limbs more carefully and substantially. Yet how could he ever have guessed that the man he had made merely to scare old Mombi with would be brought to life by means of a magical powder contained in an old pepper-box?

  So he ceased to reproach himself, and began to think how he might yet remedy the deficiencies of Jack's weak joints.

  While thus engaged they came to the edge of a wood, and the boy sat down to rest upon an old sawhorse that some woodcutter had left there.

  "Why don't you sit down?" he asked the Pumpkinhead.

  "Won't it strain my joints?" inquired the other.

  "Of course not. It'll rest them," declared the boy.

  So Jack tried to sit down; but as soon as he bent his joints farther than usual they gave way altogether, and he came clattering to the ground with such a crash that Tip feared he was entirely ruined.

  He rushed to the man, lifted him to his feet, straightened his arms and legs, and felt of his head to see if by chance it had become cracked. But Jack seemed to be in pretty good shape, after all, and Tip said to him:

  "I guess you'd better remain standing, hereafter. It seems the safest way."

  "Very well, dear father." just as you say, replied the smiling Jack, who had been in no wise confused by his tumble.

  Tip sat down again. Presently the Pumpkinhead asked:

  "What is that thing you are sitting on?"

  "Oh, this is a horse," replied the boy, carelessly.

  "What is a horse?" demanded Jack.

  "A horse? Why, there are two kinds of horses," returned Tip, slightly puzzled how to explain. "One kind of horse is alive, and has four legs and a head and a tail. And people ride upon its back."

  "I understand," said Jack, cheerfully "That's the kind of horse you are now sitting on."

  "No, it isn't," answered Tip, promptly.

  "Why not? That one has four legs, and a head, and a tail." Tip looked at the saw-horse more carefully, and found that the Pumpkinhead was right. The body had been formed from a tree-trunk, and a branch had been left sticking up at one end that looked very much like a tail. In the other end were two big knots that resembled eyes, and a place had been chopped away that might easily be mistaken for the horse's mouth. As for the legs, they were four straight limbs cut from trees and stuck fast into the body, being spread wide apart so that the saw-horse would stand firmly when a log was laid across it to be sawed.

  "This thing resembles a real horse more than I imagined," said Tip, trying to explain. "But a real horse is alive, and trots and prances and eats oats, while this is nothing more than a dead horse, made of wood, and used to saw logs upon."

  "If it were alive, wouldn't it trot, and prance, and eat oats?" inquired the Pumpkinhead.

  "It would trot and prance, perhaps; but it wouldn't eat oats," replied the boy, laughing at the idea." And of course it can't ever be alive, because it is made of wood."

  "So am I," answered the man.

  Tip looked at him in surprise.

  "Why, so you are!" he exclaimed. "And the magic powder that brought you to life is here in my pocket."

  He brought out the pepper box, and eyed it curiously.

  "I wonder," said he, musingly, "if it would bring the saw-horse to life."

  "If it would," returned Jack, calmly for nothing seemed to surprise him" I could ride on its back, and that would save my joints from wearing out."

  "I'll try it!" cried the boy, jumping up. "But I wonder if I can remember the words old Mombi said, and the way she held her hands up."

  He thought it over for a minute, and as he had watched carefully from the hedge every motion of the old witch, and listened to her words, he believed he could repeat exactly what she had said and done.

  So he began by sprinkling some of the magic Powder of Life from the pepper- box upon the body of the saw-horse. Then he lifted his left hand, with the little finger pointing upward, and said: "Weaugh!"

  "What does that mean, dear father?" asked Jack, curiously.

  "I don't know," answered Tip. Then he lifted his right hand, with the thumb pointing upward and said: "Teaugh!"

  "What's that, dear father?" inquired Jack.

  "It means you must keep quiet!" replied the boy, provoked at being interrupted at so important a moment.

  "How fast I am learning!" remarked the Pumpkinhead, with his eternal smile.

  Tip now lifted both hands above his head, with all the fingers and thumbs spread out, and cried in a loud voice: "Peaugh!"

  Immediately the saw-horse moved, stretched its legs, yawned with its chopped-out mouth, and shook a few grains of the powder off its back. The rest of the powder seemed to have vanished into the body of the horse.

  "Good!" called Jack, while the boy looked on in astonishment. "You are a very clever sorcerer,
dear father!"

  The Awakening of the Saw-horse

  *

  The Saw-Horse, finding himself alive, seemed even more astonished than Tip. He rolled his knotty eyes from side to side, taking a first wondering view of the world in which he had now so important an existence. Then he tried to look at himself; but he had, indeed, no neck to turn; so that in the endeavor to see his body he kept circling around and around, without catching even a glimpse of it. His legs were stiff and awkward, for there were no knee-joints in them; so that presently he bumped against Jack Pumpkinhead and sent that personage tumbling upon the moss that lined the roadside.

  Tip became alarmed at this accident, as well as at the persistence of the Saw-Horse in prancing around in a circle; so he called out:

  "Whoa! Whoa, there!"

  The Saw-Horse paid no attention whatever to this command, and the next instant brought one of his wooden legs down upon Tip's foot so forcibly that the boy danced away in pain to a safer distance, from where he again yelled:

  "Whoa! Whoa, I say!"

  Jack had now managed to raise himself to a sitting position, and he looked at the Saw-Horse with much interest.

  "I don't believe the animal can hear you," he remarked.

  "I shout loud enough, don't I?" answered Tip, angrily.

  "Yes; but the horse has no ears," said the smiling Pumpkinhead.

  "Sure enough!" exclaimed Tip, noting the fact for the first time. "How, then, am I going to stop him?"

  But at that instant the Saw-Horse stopped himself, having concluded it was impossible to see his own body. He saw Tip, however, and came close to the boy to observe him more fully.

  It was really comical to see the creature walk; for it moved the legs on its right side together, and those on its left side together, as a pacing horse does; and that made its body rock sidewise, like a cradle.

  Tip patted it upon the head, and said "Good boy! Good Boy!" in a coaxing tone; and the Saw-Horse pranced away to examine with its bulging eyes the form of Jack Pumpkinhead.