Книга The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Содержание - Chapter Twelve The Giant Porcupine

"We may as well pass the night here, where there is shelter for our heads and good water to drink. Road beyond here is pretty bad; worst we shall have to travel; so let's wait until morning before we tackle it."

They agreed to this and Ojo found some brushwood in the cabin and made a fire on the hearth. The fire delighted Scraps, who danced before it until Ojo warned her she might set fire to herself and burn up. After that the Patchwork Girl kept at a respectful distance from the darting flames, but the Woozy lay down before the fire like a big dog and seemed to enjoy its warmth.

For supper the Shaggy Man ate one of his tablets, but Ojo stuck to his bread and cheese as the most satisfying food. He also gave a portion to the Woozy.

When darkness came on and they sat in a circle on the cabin floor, facing the firelight – there being no furniture of any sort in the place – Ojo said to the Shaggy Man:

"Won't you tell us a story?"

"I'm not good at stories," was the reply; "but I sing like a bird."

"Raven, or crow?" asked the Glass Cat.

"Like a song bird. I'll prove it. I'll sing a song I composed myself. Don't tell anyone I'm a poet; they might want me to write a book. Don't tell 'em I can sing, or they'd want me to make records for that awful phonograph. Haven't time to be a public benefactor, so I'll just sing you this little song for your own amusement."

They were glad enough to be entertained, and listened with interest while the Shaggy Man chanted the following verses to a tune that was not unpleasant:

"I'll sing a song of Ozland, where wondrous creatures dwell And fruits and flowers and shady bowers abound in every dell, Where magic is a science and where no one shows surprise If some amazing thing takes place before his very eyes.

Our Ruler's a bewitching girl whom fairies love to please; She's always kept her magic sceptre to enforce decrees To make her people happy, for her heart is kind and true And to aid the needy and distressed is what she longs to do.

And then there's Princess Dorothy, as sweet as any rose, A lass from Kansas, where they don't grow fairies, I suppose; And there's the brainy Scarecrow, with a body stuffed with straw, Who utters words of wisdom rare that fill us all with awe.

I'll not forget Nick Chopper, the Woodman made of Tin, Whose tender heart thinks killing time is quite a dreadful sin, Nor old Professor Woggle-Bug, who's highly magnified And looks so big to everyone that he is filled with pride.

Jack Pumpkinhead's a dear old chum who might be called a chump, But won renown by riding round upon a magic Gump; The Sawhorse is a splendid steed and though he's made of wood He does as many thrilling stunts as any meat horse could.

And now I'll introduce a beast that ev'ryone adores – The Cowardly Lion shakes with fear 'most ev'ry time he roars, And yet he does the bravest things that any lion might, Because he knows that cowardice is not considered right.

There's Tik-Tok – he's a clockwork man and quite a funny sight – He talks and walks mechanically, when he's wound up tight; And we've a Hungry Tiger who would babies love to eat But never does because we feed him other kinds of meat.

It's hard to name all of the freaks this noble Land's acquired; 'Twould make my song so very long that you would soon be tired; But give attention while I mention one wise Yellow Hen And Nine fine Tiny Piglets living in a golden pen.

Just search the whole world over – sail the seas from coast to coast – No other nation in creation queerer folk can boast; And now our rare museum will include a Cat of Glass, A Woozy, and – last but not least – a crazy Patchwork Lass."

Ojo was so pleased with this song that he applauded the singer by clapping his hands, and Scraps followed suit by clapping her padded fingers together, although they made no noise. The cat pounded on the floor with her glass paws – gently, so as not to break them – and the Woozy, which had been asleep, woke up to ask what the row was about.

"I seldom sing in public, for fear they might want me to start an opera company," remarked the Shaggy Man, who was pleased to know his effort was appreciated. "Voice, just now, is a little out of training; rusty, perhaps."

"Tell me," said the Patchwork Girl earnestly, "do all those queer people you mention really live in the Land of Oz?"

"Every one of 'em. I even forgot one thing: Dorothy's Pink Kitten."

"For goodness sake!" exclaimed Bungle, sitting up and looking interested. "A Pink Kitten? How absurd! Is it glass?"

"No; just ordinary kitten."

"Then it can't amount to much. I have pink brains, and you can see 'em work."

"Dorothy's kitten is all pink – brains and all – except blue eyes. Name's Eureka. Great favorite at the royal palace," said the Shaggy Man, yawning.

The Glass Cat seemed annoyed.

"Do you think a pink kitten – common meat – is as pretty as I am?" she asked.

"Can't say. Tastes differ, you know," replied the Shaggy Man, yawning again. "But here's a pointer that may be of service to you: make friends with Eureka and you'll be solid at the palace."

"I'm solid now; solid glass."

"You don't understand," rejoined the Shaggy Man, sleepily. "Anyhow, make friends with the Pink Kitten and you'll be all right. If the Pink Kitten despises you, look out for breakers."

"Would anyone at the royal palace break a Glass Cat?" "Might. You never can tell. Advise you to purr soft and look humble – if you can. And now I'm going to bed."

Bungle considered the Shaggy Man's advice so carefully that her pink brains were busy long after the others of the party were fast asleep.

Chapter Twelve

The Giant Porcupine

Next morning they started out bright and early to follow the road of yellow bricks toward the Emerald City. The little Munchkin boy was beginning to feel tired from the long walk, and he had a great many things to think of and consider besides the events of the journey. At the wonderful Emerald City, which he would presently reach, were so many strange and curious people that he was half afraid of meeting them and wondered if they would prove friendly and kind. Above all else, he could not drive from his mind the important errand on which he had come, and he was determined to devote every energy to finding the things that were necessary to prepare the magic recipe. He believed that until dear Unc Nunkie was restored to life he could feel no joy in anything, and often he wished that Unc could be with him, to see all the astonishing things Ojo was seeing. But alas Unc Nunkie was now a marble statue in the house of the Crooked Magician and Ojo must not falter in his efforts to save him.

The country through which they were passing was still rocky and deserted, with here and there a bush or a tree to break the dreary landscape. Ojo noticed one tree, especially, because it had such long, silky leaves and was so beautiful in shape. As he approached it he studied the tree earnestly, wondering if any fruit grew on it or if it bore pretty flowers.

Suddenly he became aware that he had been looking at that tree a long time – at least for five minutes – and it had remained in the same position, although the boy had continued to walk steadily on. So he stopped short. and when he stopped, the tree and all the landscape, as well as his companions, moved on before him and left him far behind.

Ojo uttered such a cry of astonishment that it aroused the Shaggy Man, who also halted. The others then stopped, too, and walked back to the boy.

"What's wrong?" asked the Shaggy Man.

"Why, we're not moving forward a bit, no matter how fast we walk," declared Ojo. "Now that we have stopped, we are moving backward! Can't you see? Just notice that rock."

Scraps looked down at her feet and said: "The yellow bricks are not moving."

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