FictionForest

Chapter 20 – A Puzzling Problem

L. Frank BaumOct 05, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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Glinda the Good, having decided to try her sorcery
upon the abandoned submarine, so that it would obey her
commands, asked all of her party, including the
Skeezers, to withdraw from the shore of the take to the
line of palm trees. She kept with her only the little
Wizard of Oz, who was her pupil and knew how to assist
her in her magic rites. When they two were alone beside
the stranded boat, Glinda said to the Wizard:

“I shall first try my magic recipe No. 1163, which is
intended to make inanimate objects move at my command.
Have you a skeropythrope with you?”

“Yes, I always carry one in my bag,” replied the
Wizard. He opened his black bag of magic tools and took
out a brightly polished skeropythrope, which he handed
to the Sorceress. Glinda had also brought a small
wicker bag, containing various requirements of sorcery,
and from this she took a parcel of powder and a vial of
liquid. She poured the liquid into the skeropythrope
and added the powder. At once the skeropythrope began
to sputter and emit sparks of a violet color, which
spread in all directions. The Sorceress instantly
stepped into the middle of the boat and held the
instrument so that the sparks fell all around her and
covered every bit of the blackened steel boat. At the
same time Glinda crooned a weird incantation in the
language of sorcery, her voice sounding low and
musical.

After a little the violet sparks ceased, and those
that had fallen upon the boat had disappeared and left
no mark upon its surface. The ceremony was ended and
Glinda returned the skeropythrope to the Wizard, who
put it away in his black bag.

“That ought to do the business all right,” he said
confidently

“Let us make a trial and see,” she replied.

So they both entered the boat and seated themselves.

Speaking in a tone of command the Sorceress said to
the boat: “Carry us across the lake, to the farther
shore.”

At once the boat backed off the sandy beach, turned
its prow and moved swiftly over the water.

“Very good — very good indeed!” cried the Wizard,
when the boat slowed up at the shore opposite from that
whence they had departed. “Even Coo-ee-oh, with all
her witchcraft, could do no better.”

The Sorceress now said to the boat:

“Close up, submerge and carry us to the basement door
of the sunken island — the door from which you emerged
at the command of Queen Coo-ee-oh.”

The boat obeyed. As it sank into the water the top
sections rose from the sides and joined together over
the heads of Glinda and the Wizard, who were thus
enclosed in a water-proof chamber. There were four
glass windows in this covering, one on each side and
one on either end, so that the passengers could see
exactly where they were going. Moving under water more
slowly than on the surface, the submarine gradually
approached the island and halted with its bow pressed
against the huge marble door in the basement under the
Dome. This door was tightly closed and it was evident
to both Glinda and the Wizard that it would not open to
admit the underwater boat unless a magic word was
spoken by them or someone from within the basement of
the island. But what was this magic word? Neither of
them knew.

“I’m afraid,” said the Wizard regretfully, “that we
can’t get in, after all. Unless your sorcery can
discover the word to open the marble door.”

“That is probably some word only known to Coo-ce-oh,”
replied the Sorceress. “I may be able to discover what
it is, but that will require time. Let us go back
again to our companions.”

“It seems a shame, after we have made the boat obey
us, to be balked by just a marble door,” grumbled the
Wizard.

At Glinda’s command the boat rose until it was on a
level with the glass dome that covered the Skeezer
village, when the Sorceress made it slowly circle all
around the Great Dome.

Many faces were pressed against the glass from the
inside, eagerly watching the submarine, and in one
place were Dorothy and Ozma, who quickly recognized
Glinda and the Wizard through the glass windows of the
boat. Glinda saw them, too, and held the boat close to
the Dome while the friends exchanged greetings in
pantomime. Their voices, unfortunately, could not be
heard through the Dome and the water and the side of
the boat. The Wizard tried to make the girls
understand, through signs, that he and Glinda had come
to their rescue, and Ozma and Dorothy understood this
from the very fact that the Sorceress and the Wizard
had appeared. The two girl prisoners were smiling and
in safety, and knowing this Glinda felt she could take
all the time necessary in order to effect their final
rescue.

As nothing more could be done just then, Glinda
ordered the boat to return to shore and it obeyed
readily. First it ascended to the surface of the water,
then the roof parted and fell into the slots at the
side of the boat, and then the magic craft quickly made
the shore and beached itself on the sands at the very
spot from which it had departed at Glinda’s command.
All the Oz people and the Skeezers at once ran to the
boat to ask if they had reached the island, and whether
they had seen Ozma and Dorothy. The Wizard told them of
the obstacle they had met in the way of a marble door,
and how Glinda would now undertake to find a magic way
to conquer the door.

Realizing that it would require several days to
succeed in reaching the island raising it and
liberating their friends and the Skeezer people, Glinda
now prepared a camp half way between the lake shore and
the palm trees.

The Wizard’s wizardry made a number of tents appear
and the sorcery of the Sorceress furnished these tents
all complete, with beds, chairs, tables, flags, lamps
and even books with which to pass idle hours. All the
tents had the Royal Banner of Oz flying from the
centerpoles and one big tent, not now occupied, had
Ozma’s own banner moving in the breeze.

Betsy and Trot had a tent to themselves, and Button
Bright and Ojo had another. The Scarecrow and the Tin
Woodman paired together in one tent and so did Jack
Pumpkinhead and the Shaggy Man, Cap’n Bill and Uncle
Henry, Tik-Tok and Professor Wogglebug. Glinda had the
most splendid tent of all, except that reserved for
Ozma, while the Wizard had a little one of his own.
Whenever it was meal time, tables loaded with food
magically appeared in the tents of those who were in
the habit of eating, and these complete arrangements
made the rescue party just comfortable as they would
have been in their own homes.

Far into the night Glinda sat in her tent studying a
roll of mystic scrolls in search of a word that would
open the basement door of the island and admit her to
the Great Dome. She also made many magical experiments,
hoping to discover something that would aid her. Yet
the morning found the powerful Sorceress still
unsuccessful.

Glinda’s art could have opened any ordinary door, you
may be sure, but you must realize that this marble door
of the island had been commanded not to open save in
obedience to one magic word, and therefore all other
magic words could have no effect upon it. The magic
word that guarded the door had probably been invented
by Coo-ee-oh, who had now forgotten it. The only way,
then, to gain entrance to the sunken island was to
break the charm that held the door fast shut. If this
could be done no magic would be required to open it.

The next day the Sorceress and the Wizard again
entered the boat and made it submerge and go to the
marble door, which they tried in various ways to open,
but without success.

“We shall have to abandon this attempt, I think,”
said Glinda. “The easiest way to raise the island would
be for us to gain admittance to the Dome and then
descend to the basement and see in what manner
Coo-ee-oh made the entire island sink or rise at her
command. It naturally occurred to me that the easiest
way to gain admittance would be by having the boat take
us into the basement through the marble door from which
Coo-ee-oh launched it. But there must be other ways to
get inside the Dome and join Ozma and Dorothy, and such
ways we must find by study and the proper use of our
powers of magic.”

“It won’t be easy,” declared the Wizard, “for we must
not forget that Ozma herself understands considerable
magic, and has doubtless tried to raise the island or
find other means of escape from it and failed.”

“That is true,” returned Glinda, “but Ozma’s magic is
fairy magic, while you are a Wizard and I am a
Sorceress. In this way the three of us have a great
variety of magic to work with, and if we should all
fail it will be because the island is raised and
lowered by a magic power none of us is acquainted with.
My idea therefore is to seek — by such magic as we
possess — to accomplish our object in another way.”

They made the circle of the Dome again in their boat,
and once more saw Ozma and Dorothy through their
windows and exchanged signals with the two imprisoned
girls.

Ozma realized that her friends were doing all in
their power to rescue her and smiled an encouragement
to their efforts. Dorothy seemed a little anxious but
was trying to be as brave as her companion.

After the boat had returned to the camp and Glinda
was seated in her tent, working out various ways by
which Ozma and Dorothy could be rescued, the Wizard
stood on the shore dreamily eying the outlines of the
Great Dome which showed beneath the clear water, when
he raised his eyes and saw a group of strange people
approaching from around the lake. Three were young
women of stately presence, very beautifully dressed,
who moved with remarkable grace. They were followed at
a little distance by a good-looking young Skeezer.

The Wizard saw at a glance that these people might be
very important, so he advanced to meet them. The three
maidens received him graciously and the one with the
golden hair said:

“I believe you are the famous Wizard of Oz, of whom I
have often heard. We are seeking Glinda, the Sorceress,
and perhaps you can lead us to her.”

“I can, and will, right gladly,” answered the Wizard.
“Follow me, please.”

The little Wizard was puzzled as to the identity of
the three lovely visitors but he gave no sign that
might embarrass them.

He understood they did not wish to be questioned, and
so he made no remarks as he led the way to Glinda’s
tent.

With a courtly bow the Wizard ushered the three
visitors into the gracious presence of Glinda, the
Good.

 

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