Книга Ozma of Oz. Содержание - 4. Tiktok the Machine Man
Dorothy now heard the yellow hen laughing, in her cackling, henny way.
“Don’t hurry, my dear,” cried Billina. “They can’t follow us among these rocks, so we’re safe enough now.”
Dorothy stopped at once and sat down upon a broad boulder, for she was all out of breath.
The rest of the Wheelers had now reached the foot of the hill, but it was evident that their wheels would not roll upon the rough and jagged rocks, and therefore they were helpless to follow Dorothy and the hen to where they had taken refuge. But they circled all around the little hill, so the child and Billina were fast prisoners and could not come down without being captured.
Then the creatures shook their front wheels at Dorothy in a threatening manner, and it seemed they were able to speak as well as to make their dreadful outcries, for several of them shouted:
“We’ll get you in time, never fear! And when we do get you, we’ll tear you into little bits!”
“Why are you so cruel to me?” asked Dorothy. “I’m a stranger in your country, and have done you no harm.”
“No harm!” cried one who seemed to be their leader. “Did you not pick our lunch-boxes and dinner-pails? Have you not a stolen dinner-pail still in your hand?”
“I only picked one of each,” she answered. “I was hungry, and I didn’t know the trees were yours.”
“That is no excuse,” retorted the leader, who was clothed in a most gorgeous suit. “It is the law here that whoever picks a dinner-pail without our permission must die immediately.”
“Don’t you believe him,” said Billina. “I’m sure the trees do not belong to these awful creatures. They are fit for any mischief, and it’s my opinion they would try to kill us just the same if you hadn’t picked a dinner-pail.”
“I think so, too,” agreed Dorothy. “But what shall we do now?”
“Stay where we are,” advised the yellow hen. “We are safe from the Wheelers until we starve to death, anyhow; and before that time comes a good many things can happen.”
4. Tiktok the Machine Man
After an hour or so most of the band of Wheelers rolled back into the forest, leaving only three of their number to guard the hill. These curled themselves up like big dogs and pretended to go to sleep on the sands; but neither Dorothy nor Billina were fooled by this trick, so they remained in security among the rocks and paid no attention to their cunning enemies.
Finally the hen, fluttering over the mound, exclaimed: “Why, here’s a path!”
So Dorothy at once clambered to where Billina sat, and there, sure enough, was a smooth path cut between the rocks. It seemed to wind around the mound from top to bottom, like a cork-screw, twisting here and there between the rough boulders but always remaining level and easy to walk upon.
Indeed, Dorothy wondered at first why the Wheelers did not roll up this path; but when she followed it to the foot of the mound she found that several big pieces of rock had been placed directly across the end of the way, thus preventing any one outside from seeing it and also preventing the Wheelers from using it to climb up the mound.
Then Dorothy walked back up the path, and followed it until she came to the very top of the hill, where a solitary round rock stood that was bigger than any of the others surrounding it. The path came to an end just beside this great rock, and for a moment it puzzled the girl to know why the path had been made at all. But the hen, who had been gravely following her around and was now perched upon a point of rock behind Dorothy, suddenly remarked:
“It looks something like a door, doesn’t it?”
“What looks like a door?” enquired the child.
“Why, that crack in the rock, just facing you,” replied Billina, whose little round eyes were very sharp and seemed to see everything. “It runs up one side and down the other, and across the top and the bottom.”
“Why, the crack. So I think it must be a door of rock, although I do not see any hinges.”
“Oh, yes,” said Dorothy, now observing for the first time the crack in the rock. “And isn’t this a key-hole, Billina?” pointing to a round, deep hole at one side of the door.
“Of course. If we only had the key, now, we could unlock it and see what is there,” replied the yellow hen. “May be it’s a treasure chamber full of diamonds and rubies, or heaps of shining gold, or – ”
“That reminds me,” said Dorothy, “of the golden key I picked up on the shore. Do you think that it would fit this key-hole, Billina?”
“Try it and see,” suggested the hen.
So Dorothy searched in the pocket of her dress and found the golden key. And when she had put it into the hole of the rock, and turned it, a sudden sharp snap was heard; then, with a solemn creak that made the shivers run down the child’s back, the face of the rock fell outward, like a door on hinges, and revealed a small dark chamber just inside.
“Good gracious!” cried Dorothy, shrinking back as far as the narrow path would let her.
For, standing within the narrow chamber of rock, was the form of a man – or, at least, it seemed like a man, in the dim light. He was only about as tall as Dorothy herself, and his body was round as a ball and made out of burnished copper. Also his head and limbs were copper, and these were jointed or hinged to his body in a peculiar way, with metal caps over the joints, like the armor worn by knights in days of old. He stood perfectly still, and where the light struck upon his form it glittered as if made of pure gold.
“Don’t be frightened,” called Billina, from her perch. “It isn’t alive.”
“I see it isn’t,” replied the girl, drawing a long breath.
“It is only made out of copper, like the old kettle in the barn-yard at home,” continued the hen, turning her head first to one side and then to the other, so that both her little round eyes could examine the object.
“Once,” said Dorothy, “I knew a man made out of tin, who was a woodman named Nick Chopper. But he was as alive as we are, ’cause he was born a real man, and got his tin body a little at a time – first a leg and then a finger and then an ear – for the reason that he had so many accidents with his axe, and cut himself up in a very careless manner.”
“Oh,” said the hen, with a sniff, as if she did not believe the story.
“But this copper man,” continued Dorothy, looking at it with big eyes, “is not alive at all, and I wonder what it was made for, and why it was locked up in this queer place.”
“That is a mystery,” remarked the hen, twisting her head to arrange her wing-feathers with her bill.
Dorothy stepped inside the little room to get a back view of the copper man, and in this way discovered a printed card that hung between his shoulders, it being suspended from a small copper peg at the back of his neck. She unfastened this card and returned to the path, where the light was better, and sat herself down upon a slab of rock to read the printing.
“What does it say?” asked the hen, curiously.
Dorothy read the card aloud, spelling out the big words with some difficulty; and this is what she read:
SMITH & TINKER’S
Patent Double-Action, Extra-Responsive,
Fitted with our Special Clock-Work Attachment.
Thinks, Speaks, Acts, and Does Everything but Live.
Manufactured only at our Works at Evna, Land of Ev.
All infringements will be promptly Prosecuted according to Law
“How queer!” said the yellow hen. “Do you think that is all true, my dear?”
“I don’t know,” answered Dorothy, who had more to read. “Listen to this, Billina:”
DIRECTIONS FOR USING:
For THINKING: – Wind the Clock-work Man under his left arm,
(marked No. 1.)
For SPEAKING: – Wind the Clock-work Man under his right arm,