Книга Ozma of Oz. Содержание - 21. Dorothy’s Magic Belt

Then the party moved on again, and after crossing a broad river on a ferry and passing many fine farm houses that were dome shaped and painted a pretty green color, they came in sight of a large building that was covered with flags and bunting.

“I don’t remember that building,” said Dorothy. “What is it?”

“That is the College of Art and Athletic Perfection,” replied Ozma. “I had it built quite recently, and the Woggle-Bug is its president. It keeps him busy, and the young men who attend the college are no worse off than they were before. You see, in this country are a number of youths who do not like to work, and the college is an excellent place for them.”

And now they came in sight of the Emerald City, and the people flocked out to greet their lovely ruler. There were several bands and many officers and officials of the realm, and a crowd of citizens in their holiday attire.

Thus the beautiful Ozma was escorted by a brilliant procession to her royal city, and so great was the cheering that she was obliged to constantly bow to the right and left to acknowledge the greetings of her subjects.

That evening there was a grand reception in the royal palace, attended by the most important persons of Oz, and Jack Pumpkinhead, who was a little overripe but still active, read an address congratulating Ozma of Oz upon the success of her generous mission to rescue the royal family of a neighboring kingdom.

Then magnificent gold medals set with precious stones were presented to each of the twenty-six officers; and the Tin Woodman was given a new axe studded with diamonds; and the Scarecrow received a silver jar of complexion powder. Dorothy was presented with a pretty coronet and made a Princess of Oz, and Tiktok received two bracelets set with eight rows of very clear and sparkling emeralds.

Afterward they sat down to a splendid feast, and Ozma put Dorothy at her right and Billina at her left, where the hen sat upon a golden roost and ate from a jeweled platter. Then were placed the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and Tiktok, with baskets of lovely flowers before them, because they did not require food. The twenty-six officers were at the lower end of the table, and the Lion and the Tiger also had seats, and were served on golden platters, that held a half a bushel at one time.

The wealthiest and most important citizens of the Emerald City were proud to wait upon these famous adventurers, and they were assisted by a sprightly little maid named Jellia Jamb, whom the Scarecrow pinched upon her rosy cheeks and seemed to know very well.

During the feast Ozma grew thoughtful, and suddenly she asked:

“Where is the private?”

“Oh, he is sweeping out the barracks,” replied one of the generals, who was busy eating a leg of a turkey. “But I have ordered him a dish of bread and molasses to eat when his work is done.”

“Let him be sent for,” said the girl ruler.

While they waited for this command to be obeyed, she enquired:

“Have we any other privates in the armies?”

“Oh, yes,” replied the Tin Woodman, “I believe there are three, altogether.”

The private now entered, saluting his officers and the royal Ozma very respectfully.

“What is your name, my man?” asked the girl.

“Omby Amby,” answered the private.

“Then, Omby Amby,” said she, “I promote you to be Captain General of all the armies of my kingdom, and especially to be Commander of my Body Guard at the royal palace.”

“It is very expensive to hold so many offices,” said the private, hesitating. “I have no money with which to buy uniforms.”

“You shall be supplied from the royal treasury,” said Ozma.

Then the private was given a seat at the table, where the other officers welcomed him cordially, and the feasting and merriment were resumed.

Suddenly Jellia Jamb exclaimed:

“There is nothing more to eat! The Hungry Tiger has consumed everything!”

“But that is not the worst of it,” declared the Tiger, mournfully. “Somewhere or somehow, I’ve actually lost my appetite!”

21. Dorothy’s Magic Belt

Dorothy passed several very happy weeks in the Land of Oz as the guest of the royal Ozma, who delighted to please and interest the little Kansas girl. Many new acquaintances were formed and many old ones renewed, and wherever she went Dorothy found herself among friends.

One day, however, as she sat in Ozma’s private room, she noticed hanging upon the wall a picture which constantly changed in appearance, at one time showing a meadow and at another time a forest, a lake or a village.

“How curious!” she exclaimed, after watching the shifting scenes for a few moments.

“Yes,” said Ozma, “that is really a wonderful invention in magic. If I wish to see any part of the world or any person living, I need only express the wish and it is shown in the picture.”

“May I use it?” asked Dorothy, eagerly.

“Of course, my dear.”

“Then I’d like to see the old Kansas farm, and Aunt Em,” said the girl.

Instantly the well remembered farmhouse appeared in the picture, and Aunt Em could be seen quite plainly. She was engaged in washing dishes by the kitchen window and seemed quite well and contented. The hired men and the teams were in the harvest fields behind the house, and the corn and wheat seemed to the child to be in prime condition. On the side porch Dorothy’s pet dog, Toto, was lying fast asleep in the sun, and to her surprise old Speckles was running around with a brood of twelve new chickens trailing after her.

“Everything seems all right at home,” said Dorothy, with a sigh of relief. “Now I wonder what Uncle Henry is doing.”

The scene in the picture at once shifted to Australia, where, in a pleasant room in Sydney, Uncle Henry was seated in an easy chair, solemnly smoking his briar pipe. He looked sad and lonely, and his hair was now quite white and his hands and face thin and wasted.

“Oh!” cried Dorothy, in an anxious voice, “I’m sure Uncle Henry isn’t getting any better, and it’s because he is worried about me. Ozma, dear, I must go to him at once!”

“How can you?” asked Ozma.

“I don’t know,” replied Dorothy; “but let us go to Glinda the Good. I’m sure she will help me, and advise me how to get to Uncle Henry.”

Ozma readily agreed to this plan and caused the Sawhorse to be harnessed to a pretty green and pink phaeton, and the two girls rode away to visit the famous sorceress.

Glinda received them graciously, and listened to Dorothy’s story with attention.

“I have the magic belt, you know,” said the little girl. “If I buckled it around my waist and commanded it to take me to Uncle Henry, wouldn’t it do it?”

“I think so,” replied Glinda, with a smile.

“And then,” continued Dorothy, “if I ever wanted to come back here again, the belt would bring me.”

“In that you are wrong,” said the sorceress. “The belt has magical powers only while it is in some fairy country, such as the Land of Oz, or the Land of Ev. Indeed, my little friend, were you to wear it and wish yourself in Australia, with your uncle, the wish would doubtless be fulfilled, because it was made in fairyland. But you would not find the magic belt around you when you arrived at your destination.”

“What would become of it?” asked the girl.

“It would be lost, as were your silver shoes when you visited Oz before, and no one would ever see it again. It seems too bad to destroy the use of the magic belt in that way, doesn’t it?”

“Then,” said Dorothy, after a moment’s thought, “I will give the magic belt to Ozma, for she can use it in her own country. And she can wish me transported to Uncle Henry without losing the belt.”

“That is a wise plan,” replied Glinda.

So they rode back to the Emerald City, and on the way it was arranged that every Saturday morning Ozma would look at Dorothy in her magic picture, wherever the little girl might chance to be. And, if she saw Dorothy make a certain signal, then Ozma would know that the little Kansas girl wanted to revisit the Land of Oz, and by means of the Nome King’s magic belt would wish that she might instantly return.

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