Книга The Marvelous Land of Oz. Содержание - In the Jackdaw's Nest
The two sofas were now bound firmly together with ropes and clothes-lines, and then Nick Chopper fastened the Gump's head to one end.
"That will show which is the front end of the Thing," said he, greatly pleased with the idea. "And, really, if you examine it critically, the Gump looks very well as a figure-head. These great palm-leaves, for which I have endangered my life seven times, must serve us as wings."
"Are they strong enough?" asked the boy.
"They are as strong as anything we can get," answered the Woodman; "and although they are not in proportion to the Thing's body, we are not in a position to be very particular."
So he fastened the palm-leaves to the sofas, two on each side.
Said the Woggle-Bug, with considerable admiration:
"The Thing is now complete, and only needs to be brought to life."
"Stop a moment!" exclaimed Jack. "Are you not going to use my broom?"
"What for?" asked the Scarecrow.
"Why, it can be fastened to the back end for a tail," answered the Pumpkinhead. "Surely you would not call the Thing complete without a tail."
"Hm!" said the Tin Woodman, "I do not see the use of a tail. We are not trying to copy a beast, or a fish, or a bird. All we ask of the Thing is to carry us through the air."
"Perhaps, after the Thing is brought to life, it can use a tail to steer with," suggested the Scarecrow. "For if it flies through the air it will not be unlike a bird, and I've noticed that all birds have tails, which they use for a rudder while flying."
"Very well," answered Nick, "the broom shall be used for a tail," and he fastened it firmly to the back end of the sofa body.
Tip took the pepper-box from his pocket.
"The Thing looks very big," said he, anxiously; "and I am not sure there is enough powder left to bring all of it to life. But I'll make it go as far as possible."
"Put most on the wings," said Nick Chopper; "for they must be made as strong as possible."
"And don't forget the head!" exclaimed the Woggle-Bug.
"Or the tail!" added Jack Pumpkinhead.
"Do be quiet," said Tip, nervously; "you must give me a chance to work the magic charm in the proper manner."
Very carefully he began sprinkling the Thing with the precious powder. Each of the four wings was first lightly covered with a layer, then the sofas were sprinkled, and the broom given a slight coating.
"The head! The head! Don't, I beg of you, forget the head!" cried the Woggle-Bug, excitedly.
"There's only a little of the powder left," announced Tip, looking within the box. "And it seems to me it is more important to bring the legs of the sofas to life than the head."
"Not so," decided the Scarecrow. "Every thing must have a head to direct it; and since this creature is to fly, and not walk, it is really unimportant whether its legs are alive or not."
So Tip abided by this decision and sprinkled the Gump's head with the remainder of the powder.
"Now" said he, "keep silence while I work the, charm!"
Having heard old Mombi pronounce the magic words, and having also succeeded in bringing the Saw-Horse to life, Tip did not hesitate an instant in speaking the three cabalistic words, each accompanied by the peculiar gesture of the hands.
It was a grave and impressive ceremony.
As he finished the incantation the Thing shuddered throughout its huge bulk, the Gump gave the screeching cry that is familiar to those animals, and then the four wings began flopping furiously.
Tip managed to grasp a chimney, else he would have been blown off the roof by the terrible breeze raised by the wings. The Scarecrow, being light in weight, was caught up bodily and borne through the air until Tip luckily seized him by one leg and held him fast. The Woggle-Bug lay flat upon the roof and so escaped harm, and the Tin Woodman, whose weight of tin anchored him firmly, threw both arms around Jack Pumpkinhead and managed to save him. The Saw-Horse toppled over upon his back and lay with his legs waving helplessly above him.
And now, while all were struggling to recover themselves, the Thing rose slowly from the roof and mounted into the air.
"Here! Come back!" cried Tip, in a frightened voice, as he clung to the chimney with one hand and the Scarecrow with the other. "Come back at once, I command you!"
It was now that the wisdom of the Scarecrow, in bringing the head of the Thing to life instead of the legs, was proved beyond a doubt. For the Gump, already high in the air, turned its head at Tip's command and gradually circled around until it could view the roof of the palace.
"Come back!" shouted the boy, again.
And the Gump obeyed, slowly and gracefully waving its four wings in the air until the Thing had settled once more upon the roof and become still.
[Full page line-art drawing.]
In the Jackdaw's Nest
"This," said the Gump, in a squeaky voice not at all proportioned to the size of its great body, "is the most novel experience I ever heard of. The last thing I remember distinctly is walking through the forest and hearing a loud noise. Something probably killed me then, and it certainly ought to have been the end of me. Yet here I am, alive again, with four monstrous wings and a body which I venture to say would make any respectable animal or fowl weep with shame to own. What does it all mean? Am I a Gump, or am I a juggernaut?" The creature, as it spoke, wiggled its chin whiskers in a very comical manner.
"You're just a Thing," answered Tip, "with a Gump's head on it. And we have made you and brought you to life so that you may carry us through the air wherever we wish to go."
"Very good!" said the Thing. "As I am not a Gump, I cannot have a Gump's pride or independent spirit. So I may as well become your servant as anything else. My only satisfaction is that I do not seem to have a very strong constitution, and am not likely to live long in a state of slavery."
"Don't say that, I beg of you!" cried the Tin Woodman, whose excellent heart was strongly affected by this sad speech. "Are you not feeling well today?"
"Oh, as for that," returned the Gump, "it is my first day of existence; so I cannot Judge whether I am feeling well or ill." And it waved its broom tail to and fro in a pensive manner.
"Come, come!" said the Scarecrow, kindly. "do try, to be more cheerful and take life as you find it. We shall be kind masters, and will strive to render your existence as pleasant as possible. Are you willing to carry us through the air wherever we wish to go?"
"Certainly," answered the Gump. "I greatly prefer to navigate the air. For should I travel on the earth and meet with one of my own species, my embarrassment would be something awful!"
"I can appreciate that," said the Tin Woodman, sympathetically.
"And yet," continued the Thing, "when I carefully look you over, my masters, none of you seems to be constructed much more artistically than I am."
"Appearances are deceitful," said the Woggle-Bug, earnestly. "I am both Highly Magnified and Thoroughly Educated."
"Indeed!" murmured the Gump, indifferently.
"And my brains are considered remarkably rare specimens," added the Scarecrow, proudly.
"How strange!" remarked the Gump.
"Although I am of tin," said the Woodman, "I own a heart altogether the warmest and most admirable in the whole world."
"I'm delighted to hear it," replied the Gump, with a slight cough.
"My smile," said Jack Pumpkinhead, "is worthy your best attention. It is always the same."
"Semper idem," explained the Woggle-Bug, pompously; and the Gump turned to stare at him.
"And I," declared the Saw-Horse, filling in an awkward pause, "am only remarkable because I can't help it."