FictionForest

Chapter 11

L. Frank BaumAug 04, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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“It’s getting awful rough walking,” said Dorothy, as they trudged
along. Button-Bright gave a deep sigh and said he was hungry.
Indeed, all were hungry, and thirsty, too; for they had eaten nothing
but the apples since breakfast; so their steps lagged and they grew
silent and weary. At last they slowly passed over the crest of a
barren hill and saw before them a line of green trees with a strip of
grass at their feet. An agreeable fragrance was wafted toward them.

Our travelers, hot and tired, ran forward on beholding this refreshing
sight and were not long in coming to the trees. Here they found a
spring of pure bubbling water, around which the grass was full of wild
strawberry plants, their pretty red berries ripe and ready to eat.
Some of the trees bore yellow oranges and some russet pears, so the
hungry adventurers suddenly found themselves provided with plenty to
eat and to drink. They lost no time in picking the biggest
strawberries and ripest oranges and soon had feasted to their hearts’
content. Walking beyond the line of trees they saw before them a
fearful, dismal desert, everywhere gray sand. At the edge of this
awful waste was a large, white sign with black letters neatly painted
upon it and the letters made these words:

ALL PERSONS ARE WARNED NOT TO VENTURE UPON THIS DESERT

For the Deadly Sands will Turn Any Living Flesh
to Dust in an instant. Beyond This Barrier is the

LAND OF OZ

But no one can Reach that Beautiful Country
because of these Destroying Sands

“Oh,” said Dorothy, when the shaggy man had read the sign aloud;
“I’ve seen this desert before, and it’s true no one can live who
tries to walk upon the sands.”

“Then we musn’t try it,” answered the shaggy man thoughtfully.
“But as we can’t go ahead and there’s no use going back,
what shall we do next?”

“Don’t know,” said Button-Bright.

“I’m sure I don’t know, either,” added Dorothy, despondently.

“I wish father would come for me,” sighed the pretty Rainbow’s
Daughter, “I would take you all to live upon the rainbow, where you
could dance along its rays from morning till night, without a care or
worry of any sort. But I suppose father’s too busy just now to search
the world for me.”

“Don’t want to dance,” said Button-Bright, sitting down wearily upon
the soft grass.

“It’s very good of you, Polly,” said Dorothy; “but there are other
things that would suit me better than dancing on rainbows. I’m ‘fraid
they’d be kind of soft an’ squashy under foot, anyhow, although
they’re so pretty to look at.”

This didn’t help to solve the problem, and they all fell silent and
looked at one another questioningly.

“Really, I don’t know what to do,” muttered the shaggy man, gazing
hard at Toto; and the little dog wagged his tail and said “Bow-wow!”
just as if he could not tell, either, what to do. Button-Bright got a
stick and began to dig in the earth, and the others watched him for a
while in deep thought. Finally, the shaggy man said:

“It’s nearly evening, now; so we may as well sleep in this pretty
place and get rested; perhaps by morning we can decide what is best
to be done.”

There was little chance to make beds for the children, but the leaves
of the trees grew thickly and would serve to keep off the night dews,
so the shaggy man piled soft grasses in the thickest shade and when
it was dark they lay down and slept peacefully until morning.

Long after the others were asleep, however, the shaggy man sat in the
starlight by the spring, gazing thoughtfully into its bubbling waters.
Suddenly he smiled and nodded to himself as if he had found a good
thought, after which he, too, laid himself down under a tree and was
soon lost in slumber.

In the bright morning sunshine, as they ate of the strawberries and
sweet juicy pears, Dorothy said:

“Polly, can you do any magic?”

“No dear,” answered Polychrome, shaking her dainty head.

“You ought to know SOME magic, being the Rainbow’s Daughter,”
continued Dorothy, earnestly.

“But we who live on the rainbow among the fleecy clouds have no use
for magic,” replied Polychrome.

“What I’d like,” said Dorothy, “is to find some way to cross the
desert to the Land of Oz and its Emerald City. I’ve crossed it
already, you know, more than once. First a cyclone carried my house
over, and some Silver Shoes brought me back again–in half a second.
Then Ozma took me over on her Magic Carpet, and the Nome King’s Magic
Belt took me home that time. You see it was magic that did it every
time ‘cept the first, and we can’t ‘spect a cyclone to happen along
and take us to the Emerald City now.”

“No indeed,” returned Polly, with a shudder, “I hate cyclones, anyway.”

“That’s why I wanted to find out if you could do any magic,” said the
little Kansas girl. “I’m sure I can’t; and I’m sure Button-Bright
can’t; and the only magic the shaggy man has is the Love Magnet, which
won’t help us much.”

“Don’t be too sure of that, my dear,” spoke the shaggy man, a smile
on his donkey face. “I may not be able to do magic myself, but I
can call to us a powerful friend who loves me because I own the Love
Magnet, and this friend surely will be able to help us.”

“Who is your friend?” asked Dorothy.

“Johnny Dooit.”

“What can Johnny do?”

“Anything,” answered the shaggy man, with confidence.

“Ask him to come,” she exclaimed, eagerly.

The shaggy man took the Love Magnet from his pocket and unwrapped the
paper that surrounded it. Holding the charm in the palm of his hand
he looked at it steadily and said these words:

“Dear Johnny Dooit, come to me.
I need you bad as bad can be.”

“Well, here I am,” said a cheery little voice; “but you shouldn’t say
you need me bad, ’cause I’m always, ALWAYS, good.”

At this they quickly whirled around to find a funny little man sitting
on a big copper chest, puffing smoke from a long pipe. His hair was
grey, his whiskers were grey; and these whiskers were so long that he
had wound the ends of them around his waist and tied them in a hard
knot underneath the leather apron that reached from his chin nearly to
his feet, and which was soiled and scratched as if it had been used a
long time. His nose was broad, and stuck up a little; but his eyes
were twinkling and merry. The little man’s hands and arms were as
hard and tough as the leather in his apron, and Dorothy thought Johnny
Dooit looked as if he had done a lot of hard work in his lifetime.

“Good morning, Johnny,” said the shaggy man. “Thank you for coming to
me so quickly.”

“I never waste time,” said the newcomer, promptly. “But what’s
happened to you? Where did you get that donkey head? Really,
I wouldn’t have known you at all, Shaggy Man, if I hadn’t looked
at your feet.”

The shaggy man introduced Johnny Dooit to Dorothy and Toto and
Button-Bright and the Rainbow’s Daughter, and told him the story of
their adventures, adding that they were anxious now to reach the
Emerald City in the Land of Oz, where Dorothy had friends who would
take care of them and send them safe home again.

“But,” said he, “we find that we can’t cross this desert, which turns
all living flesh that touches it into dust; so I have asked you to
come and help us.”

Johnny Dooit puffed his pipe and looked carefully at the dreadful
desert in front of them–stretching so far away they could not see
its end.

“You must ride,” he said, briskly.

“What in?” asked the shaggy man.

“In a sand-boat, which has runners like a sled and sails like a ship.
The wind will blow you swiftly across the desert and the sand cannot
touch your flesh to turn it into dust.”

“Good!” cried Dorothy, clapping her hands delightedly. “That was the
way the Magic Carpet took us across. We didn’t have to touch the
horrid sand at all.”

“But where is the sand-boat?” asked the shaggy man, looking all
around him.

“I’ll make you one,” said Johnny Dooit.

As he spoke, he knocked the ashes from his pipe and put it in his
pocket. Then he unlocked the copper chest and lifted the lid, and
Dorothy saw it was full of shining tools of all sorts and shapes.

Johnny Dooit moved quickly now–so quickly that they were astonished
at the work he was able to accomplish. He had in his chest a tool for
everything he wanted to do, and these must have been magic tools
because they did their work so fast and so well.

The man hummed a little song as he worked, and Dorothy tried to listen
to it. She thought the words were something like these:

The only way to do a thing
Is do it when you can,
And do it cheerfully, and sing
And work and think and plan.
The only real unhappy one
Is he who dares to shirk;
The only really happy one
Is he who cares to work.

Whatever Johnny Dooit was singing he was certainly doing things, and
they all stood by and watched him in amazement.

He seized an axe and in a couple of chops felled a tree. Next he took
a saw and in a few minutes sawed the tree-trunk into broad, long
boards. He then nailed the boards together into the shape of a boat,
about twelve feet long and four feet wide. He cut from another tree a
long, slender pole which, when trimmed of its branches and fastened
upright in the center of the boat, served as a mast. From the chest
he drew a coil of rope and a big bundle of canvas, and with
these–still humming his song–he rigged up a sail, arranging it so
it could be raised or lowered upon the mast.

Dorothy fairly gasped with wonder to see the thing grow so speedily
before her eyes, and both Button-Bright and Polly looked on with the
same absorbed interest.

“It ought to be painted,” said Johnny Dooit, tossing his tools back
into the chest, “for that would make it look prettier. But ‘though I
can paint it for you in three seconds it would take an hour to dry,
and that’s a waste of time.”

“We don’t care how it looks,” said the shaggy man, “if only it will
take us across the desert.”

“It will do that,” declared Johnny Dooit. “All you need worry about
is tipping over. Did you ever sail a ship?”

“I’ve seen one sailed,” said the shaggy man.

“Good. Sail this boat the way you’ve seen a ship sailed, and you’ll
be across the sands before you know it.”

With this he slammed down the lid of the chest, and the noise made
them all wink. While they were winking the workman disappeared,
tools and all.

 

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