Книга The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Содержание - Chapter Twenty The Captive Yoop
Presently another imp seized Scraps and began to throw her about, in the same way. They found her a little heavier than the Scarecrow but still light enough to be tossed like a sofa-cushion, and they were enjoying the sport immensely when Dorothy, angry and indignant at the treatment her friends were receiving, rushed among the Tottenhots and began slapping and pushing them until she had rescued the Scarecrow and the Patchwork Girl and held them close on either side of her. Perhaps she would not have accomplished this victory so easily had not Toto helped her, barking and snapping at the bare legs of the imps until they were glad to flee from his attack. As for Ojo, some of the creatures had attempted to toss him, also, but finding his body too heavy they threw him to the ground and a row of the imps sat on him and held him from assisting Dorothy in her battle.
The little brown folks were much surprised at being attacked by the girl and the dog, and one or two who had been slapped hardest began to cry. Then suddenly they gave a shout, all together, and disappeared in a flash into their various houses, the tops of which closed with a series of pops that sounded like a bunch of firecrackers being exploded.
The adventurers now found themselves alone, and Dorothy asked anxiously:
"Is anybody hurt?"
"Not me," answered the Scarecrow. "They have given my straw a good shaking up and taken all the lumps out of it. I am now in splendid condition and am really obliged to the Tottenhots for their kind treatment."
"I feel much the same way," said Scraps. "My cotton stuffing had sagged a good deal with the day's walking and they've loosened it up until I feel as plump as a sausage. But the play was a little rough and I'd had quite enough of it when you interfered."
"Six of them sat on me," said Ojo, "but as they are so little they didn't hurt me much."
Just then the roof of the house in front of them opened and a Tottenhot stuck his head out, very cautiously, and looked at the strangers.
"Can't you take a joke?" he asked, reproachfully; "haven't you any fun in you at all?"
"If I had such a quality," replied the Scarecrow, "your people would have knocked it out of me. But I don't bear grudges. I forgive you."
"So do I," added Scraps. "That is, if you behave yourselves after this."
"It was just a little rough-house, that's all," said the Tottenhot. "But the question is not if we will behave, but if you will behave? We can't be shut up here all night, because this is our time to play; nor do we care to come out and be chewed up by a savage beast or slapped by an angry girl. That slapping hurts like sixty; some of my folks are crying about it. So here's the proposition: you let us alone and we'll let you alone."
"You began it," declared Dorothy.
"Well, you ended it, so we won't argue the matter. May we come out again? Or are you still cruel and slappy?"
"Tell you what we'll do," said Dorothy. "We're all tired and want to sleep until morning. If you'll let us get into your house, and stay there until daylight, you can play outside all you want to."
"That's a bargain!" cried the Tottenhot eagerly, and he gave a queer whistle that brought his people popping out of their houses on all sides. When the house before them was vacant, Dorothy and Ojo leaned over the hole and looked in, but could see nothing because it was so dark. But if the Tottenhots slept there all day the children thought they could sleep there at night, so Ojo lowered himself down and found it was not very deep.
"There's a soft cushion all over," said he. "Come on in."
Dorothy handed Toto to the boy and then climbed in herself. After her came Scraps and the Scarecrow, who did not wish to sleep but preferred to keep out of the way of the mischievous Tottenhots.
There seemed no furniture in the round den, but soft cushions were strewn about the floor and these they found made very comfortable beds. They did not close the hole in the roof but left it open to admit air. It also admitted the shouts and ceaseless laughter of the impish Tottenhots as they played outside, but Dorothy and Ojo, being weary from their journey, were soon fast asleep.
Toto kept an eye open, however, and uttered low, threatening growls whenever the racket made by the creatures outside became too boisterous; and the Scarecrow and the Patchwork Girl sat leaning against the wall and talked in whispers all night long. No one disturbed the travelers until daylight, when in popped the Tottenhot who owned the place and invited them to vacate his premises.
The Captive Yoop
As they were preparing to leave, Dorothy asked: "Can you tell us where there is a dark well?"
"Never heard of such a thing," said the Tottenhot. "We live our lives in the dark, mostly, and sleep in the daytime; but we've never seen a dark well, or anything like one."
"Does anyone live on those mountains beyond here?" asked the Scarecrow.
"Lots of people. But you'd better not visit them. We never go there," was the reply.
"What are the people like?" Dorothy inquired.
"Can't say. We've been told to keep away from the mountain paths, and so we obey. This sandy desert is good enough for us, and we're not disturbed here," declared the Tottenhot.
So they left the man snuggling down to sleep in his dusky dwelling, and went out into the sunshine, taking the path that led toward the rocky places. They soon found it hard climbing, for the rocks were uneven and full of sharp points and edges, and now there was no path at all. Clambering here and there among the boulders they kept steadily on, gradually rising higher and higher until finally they came to a great rift in a part of the mountain, where the rock seemed to have split in two and left high walls on either side.
"S'pose we go this way," suggested Dorothy; "it's much easier walking than to climb over the hills."
"How about that sign?" asked Ojo.
"What sign?" she inquired.
The Munchkin boy pointed to some words painted on the wall of rock beside them, which Dorothy had not noticed. The words read:
"LOOK OUT FOR YOOP."
The girl eyed this sign a moment and turned to the Scarecrow, asking:
"Who is Yoop; or what is Yoop?"
The straw man shook his head. Then looked at Toto and the dog said "Woof!"
"Only way to find out is to go on," said Scraps.
This being quite true, they went on. As they proceeded, the walls of rock on either side grew higher and higher. Presently they came upon another sign which read:
"BEWARE THE CAPTIVE YOOP."
"Why, as for that," remarked Dorothy, "if Yoop is a captive there's no need to beware of him. Whatever Yoop happens to be, I'd much rather have him a captive than running around loose."
"So had I," agreed the Scarecrow, with a nod of his painted head.
"Still," said Scraps, reflectively:
"Yoop-te-hoop-te-loop-te-goop! Who put noodles in the soup? We may beware but we don't care, And dare go where we scare the Yoop."
"Dear me! Aren't you feeling a little queer, just now?" Dorothy asked the Patchwork Girl.
"Not queer, but crazy," said Ojo. "When she says those things I'm sure her brains get mixed somehow and work the wrong way.
"I don't see why we are told to beware the Yoop unless he is dangerous," observed the Scarecrow in a puzzled tone.
"Never mind; we'll find out all about him when we get to where he is," replied the little girl.
The narrow canyon turned and twisted this way and that, and the rift was so small that they were able to touch both walls at the same time by stretching out their arms. Toto had run on ahead, frisking playfully, when suddenly he uttered a sharp bark of fear and came running back to them with his tail between his legs, as dogs do when they are frightened.