Книга The Marvelous Land of Oz. Содержание - Princess Ozma of Oz
Princess Ozma of Oz
"You are my prisoner, and it is useless for you to struggle any longer," said Glinda, in her soft, sweet voice. "Lie still a moment, and rest yourself, and then I will carry you back to my tent."
"Why do you seek me?" asked Mombi, still scarce able to speak plainly for lack of breath. "What have I done to you, to be so persecuted?"
"You have done nothing to me," answered the gentle Sorceress; "but I suspect you have been guilty of several wicked actions; and if I find it is true that you have so abused your knowledge of magic, I intend to punish you severely."
"I defy you!" croaked the old hag. "You dare not harm me!"
Just then the Gump flew up to them and alighted upon the desert sands beside Glinda. Our friends were delighted to find that Mombi had finally been captured, and after a hurried consultation it was decided they should all return to the camp in the Gump. So the Saw-Horse was tossed aboard, and then Glinda still holding an end of the golden thread that was around Mombi's neck, forced her prisoner to climb into the sofas. The others now followed, and Tip gave the word to the Gump to return.
The Journey was made in safety, Mombi sitting in her place with a grim and sullen air; for the old hag was absolutely helpless so long as the magical thread encircled her throat. The army hailed Glinda's return with loud cheers, and the party of friends soon gathered again in the royal tent, which had been neatly repaired during their absence.
"Now," said the Sorceress to Mombi, "I want you to tell us why the Wonderful Wizard of Oz paid you three visits, and what became of the child, Ozma, which so curiously disappeared."
The Witch looked at Glinda defiantly, but said not a word.
"Answer me!" cried the Sorceress.
But still Mombi remained silent.
"Perhaps she doesn't know," remarked Jack.
"I beg you will keep quiet," said Tip. "You might spoil everything with your foolishness."
"Very well, dear father!" returned the Pumpkinhead, meekly.
"How glad I am to be a Woggle-Bug!" murmured the Highly Magnified Insect, softly. "No one can expect wisdom to flow from a pumpkin."
"Well," said the Scarecrow, "what shall we do to make Mombi speak? Unless she tells us what we wish to know her capture will do us no good at all."
"Suppose we try kindness," suggested the Tin Woodman. "I've heard that anyone can be conquered with kindness, no matter how ugly they may be."
At this the Witch turned to glare upon him so horribly that the Tin Woodman shrank back abashed.
Glinda had been carefully considering what to do, and now she turned to Mombi and said:
"You will gain nothing, I assure you, by thus defying us. For I am determined to learn the truth about the girl Ozma, and unless you tell me all that you know, I will certainly put you to death."
"Oh, no! Don't do that!" exclaimed the Tin Woodman. "It would be an awful thing to kill anyone – even old Mombi!"
"But it is merely a threat," returned Glinda. "I shall not put Mombi to death, because she will prefer to tell me the truth."
"Oh, I see!" said the tin man, much relieved.
"Suppose I tell you all that you wish to know,". said Mombi, speaking so suddenly that she startled them all. "What will you do with me then?"
"In that case," replied Glinda, "I shall merely ask you to drink a powerful draught which will cause you to forget all the magic you have ever learned."
"Then I would become a helpless old woman!"
"But you would be alive," suggested the Pumpkinhead, consolingly.
"Do try to keep silent!" said Tip, nervously.
"I'll try," responded Jack; "but you will admit that it's a good thing to be alive."
"Especially if one happens to be Thoroughly Educated," added the Woggle-Bug, nodding approval.
"You may make your choice," Glinda said to old Mombi, "between death if you remain silent, and the loss of your magical powers if you tell me the truth. But I think you will prefer to live."
Mombi cast an uneasy glance at the Sorceress, and saw that she was in earnest, and not to be trifled with. So she replied, slowly:
"I will answer your questions."
"That is what I expected," said Glinda, pleasantly. "You have chosen wisely, I assure you."
She then motioned to one of her Captains, who brought her a beautiful golden casket. From this the Sorceress drew an immense white pearl, attached to a slender chain which she placed around her neck in such a way that the pearl rested upon her bosom, directly over her heart.
"Now," said she, "I will ask my first question: Why did the Wizard pay you three visits?"
"Because I would not come to him," answered Mombi.
"That is no answer," said Glinda, sternly. "Tell me the truth."
"Well," returned Mombi, with downcast eyes, "he visited me to learn the way I make tea-biscuits."
"Look up!" commanded the Sorceress.
"What is the color of my pearl?" demanded Glinda.
"Why – it is black!" replied the old Witch, in a tone of wonder.
"Then you have told me a falsehood!" cried Glinda, angrily. "Only when the truth is spoken will my magic pearl remain a pure white in color."
Mombi now saw how useless it was to try to deceive the Sorceress; so she said, meanwhile scowling at her defeat:
"The Wizard brought to me the girl Ozma, who was then no more than a baby, and begged me to conceal the child."
"That is what I thought," declared Glinda, calmly. "What did he give you for thus serving him?"
"He taught me all the magical tricks he knew. Some were good tricks, and some were only frauds; but I have remained faithful to my promise."
"What did you do with the girl?" asked Glinda; and at this question everyone bent forward and listened eagerly for the reply.
"I enchanted her," answered Mombi.
"In what way?"
"I transformed her into – into – "
"Into what?" demanded Glinda, as the Witch hesitated.
"Into a boy!" said Mombi, in a low tone.
"A boy!" echoed every voice; and then, because they knew that this old woman had reared Tip from childhood, all eyes were turned to where the boy stood.
"Yes," said the old Witch, nodding her head; "that is the Princess Ozma – the child brought to me by the Wizard who stole her father's throne. That is the rightful ruler of the Emerald City!" and she pointed her long bony finger straight at the boy.
"I!" cried Tip, in amazement. "Why, I'm no Princess Ozma – I'm not a girl!"
Glinda smiled, and going to Tip she took his small brown hand within her dainty white one.
[Full page line-art drawing: MOMBI POINTED HER LONG, BONY FINGER AT THE BOY]
"You are not a girl just now" said she, gently, "because Mombi transformed you into a boy. But you were born a girl, and also a Princess; so you must resume your proper form, that you may become Queen of the Emerald City."
"Oh, let Jinjur be the Queen!" exclaimed Tip, ready to cry. "I want to stay a boy, and travel with the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, and the Woggle-Bug, and Jack – yes! and my friend the Saw-Horse – and the Gump! I don't want to be a girl!"
"Never mind, old chap," said the Tin Woodman, soothingly; "it don't hurt to be a girl, I'm told; and we will all remain your faithful friends just the same. And, to be honest with you, I've always considered girls nicer than boys."
"They're just as nice, anyway," added the Scarecrow, patting Tip affectionately upon the head.
"And they are equally good students," proclaimed the Woggle-Bug. "I should like to become your tutor, when you are transformed into a girl again."
"But – see here!" said Jack Pumpkinhead, with a gasp: "if you become a girl, you can't be my dear father any more!"
"No," answered Tip, laughing in spite of his anxiety. "and I shall not be sorry to escape the relationship." Then he added, hesitatingly, as he turned to Glinda: "I might try it for awhile,-just to see how it seems, you know. But if I don't like being a girl you must promise to change me into a boy again."