FictionForest

Chapter 20

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

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The royal historians of Oz, who are fine writers and know any number
of big words, have often tried to describe the rare beauty of Ozma and
failed because the words were not good enough. So of course I cannot
hope to tell you how great was the charm of this little Princess, or
how her loveliness put to shame all the sparkling jewels and
magnificent luxury that surrounded her in this her royal palace.
Whatever else was beautiful or dainty or delightful of itself faded to
dullness when contrasted with Ozma’s bewitching face, and it has often
been said by those who know that no other ruler in all the world can
ever hope to equal the gracious charm of her manner.

Everything about Ozma attracted one, and she inspired love and the
sweetest affection rather than awe or ordinary admiration. Dorothy
threw her arms around her little friend and hugged and kissed her
rapturously, and Toto barked joyfully and Button-Bright smiled a happy
smile and consented to sit on the soft cushions close beside the Princess.

“Why didn’t you send me word you were going to have a birthday party?”
asked the little Kansas girl, when the first greetings were over.

“Didn’t I?” asked Ozma, her pretty eyes dancing with merriment.

“Did you?” replied Dorothy, trying to think.

“Who do you imagine, dear, mixed up those roads, so as to start you
wandering in the direction of Oz?” inquired the Princess.

“Oh! I never ‘spected YOU of that,” cried Dorothy.

“I’ve watched you in my Magic Picture all the way here,” declared
Ozma, “and twice I thought I should have to use the Magic Belt to save
you and transport you to the Emerald City. Once was when the Scoodlers
caught you, and again when you reached the Deadly Desert. But the shaggy
man was able to help you out both times, so I did not interfere.”

“Do you know who Button-Bright is?” asked Dorothy.

“No; I never saw him until you found him in the road, and then only
in my Magic Picture.”

“And did you send Polly to us?”

“No, dear; the Rainbow’s Daughter slid from her father’s pretty arch
just in time to meet you.”

“Well,” said Dorothy, “I’ve promised King Dox of Foxville and King
Kik-a-bray of Dunkiton that I’d ask you to invite them to your party.”

“I have already done that,” returned Ozma, “because I thought it would
please you to favor them.”

“Did you ‘vite the Musicker?” asked Button-Bright.

“No; because he would be too noisy, and might interfere with the comfort
of others. When music is not very good, and is indulged in all the time,
it is better that the performer should be alone,” said the Princess.

“I like the Musicker’s music,” declared the boy, gravely.

“But I don’t,” said Dorothy.

“Well, there will be plenty of music at my celebration,” promised
Ozma; “so I’ve an idea Button-Bright won’t miss the Musicker at all.”

Just then Polychrome danced in, and Ozma rose to greet the Rainbow’s
Daughter in her sweetest and most cordial manner.

Dorothy thought she had never seen two prettier creatures together
than these lovely maidens; but Polly knew at once her own dainty
beauty could not match that of Ozma, yet was not a bit jealous because
this was so.

The Wizard of Oz was announced, and a dried-up, little, old man, clothed
all in black, entered the drawing-room. His face was cheery and his
eyes twinkling with humor, so Polly and Button-Bright were not at all
afraid of the wonderful personage whose fame as a humbug magician had
spread throughout the world. After greeting Dorothy with much
affection, he stood modestly behind Ozma’s throne and listened to the
lively prattle of the young people.

Now the shaggy man appeared, and so startling was his appearance, all
clad in shaggy new rainment, that Dorothy cried “Oh!” and clasped her
hands impulsively as she examined her friend with pleased eyes.

“He’s still shaggy, all right,” remarked Button-Bright; and Ozma
nodded brightly because she had meant the shaggy man to remain shaggy
when she provided his new clothes for him.

Dorothy led him toward the throne, as he was shy in such fine company,
and presented him gracefully to the Princess, saying:

“This, your Highness, is my friend, the shaggy man, who owns
the Love Magnet.”

“You are welcome to Oz,” said the girl Ruler, in gracious accents.
“But tell me, sir, where did you get the Love Magnet which you say
you own?”

The shaggy man grew red and looked downcast, as he answered
in a low voice:

“I stole it, your Majesty.”

“Oh, Shaggy Man!” cried Dorothy. “How dreadful! And you told me the
Eskimo gave you the Love Magnet.”

He shuffled first on one foot and then on the other, much embarrassed.

“I told you a falsehood, Dorothy,” he said; “but now, having bathed in
the Truth Pond, I must tell nothing but the truth.”

“Why did you steal it?” asked Ozma, gently.

“Because no one loved me, or cared for me,” said the shaggy man, “and I
wanted to be loved a great deal. It was owned by a girl in
Butterfield who was loved too much, so that the young men quarreled
over her, which made her unhappy. After I had stolen the Magnet from
her, only one young man continued to love the girl, and she married
him and regained her happiness.”

“Are you sorry you stole it?” asked the Princess.

“No, your Highness; I’m glad,” he answered; “for it has pleased me to
be loved, and if Dorothy had not cared for me I could not have
accompanied her to this beautiful Land of Oz, or met its kind-hearted
Ruler. Now that I’m here, I hope to remain, and to become one of your
Majesty’s most faithful subjects.”

“But in Oz we are loved for ourselves alone, and for our kindness to
one another, and for our good deeds,” she said.

“I’ll give up the Love Magnet,” said the shaggy man, eagerly; “Dorothy
shall have it.”

“But every one loves Dorothy already,” declared the Wizard.

“Then Button-Bright shall have it.”

“Don’t want it,” said the boy, promptly.

“Then I’ll give it to the Wizard, for I’m sure the lovely Princess
Ozma does not need it.”

“All my people love the Wizard, too,” announced the Princess,
laughing; “so we will hang the Love Magnet over the gates of the
Emerald City, that whoever shall enter or leave the gates may be
loved and loving.”

“That is a good idea,” said the shaggy man; “I agree to it most willingly.”

Those assembled now went in to dinner, which you can imagine was a
grand affair; and afterward Ozma asked the Wizard to give them an
exhibition of his magic.

The Wizard took eight tiny white piglets from an inside pocket and set
them on the table. One was dressed like a clown, and performed funny
antics, and the others leaped over the spoons and dishes and ran
around the table like race-horses, and turned hand-springs and were so
sprightly and amusing that they kept the company in one roar of merry
laughter. The Wizard had trained these pets to do many curious
things, and they were so little and so cunning and soft that
Polychrome loved to pick them up as they passed near her place and
fondle them as if they were kittens.

It was late when the entertainment ended, and they separated to go to
their rooms.

“To-morrow,” said Ozma, “my invited guests will arrive, and you will
find among them some interesting and curious people, I promise you.
The next day will be my birthday, and the festivities will be held on
the broad green just outside the gates of the City, where all my
people can assemble without being crowded.”

“I hope the Scarecrow won’t be late,” said Dorothy, anxiously.

“Oh, he is sure to return to-morrow,” answered Ozma. “He wanted new
straw to stuff himself with, so he went to the Munchkin Country, where
straw is plentiful.”

With this the Princess bade her guests good night and went to her own room.

 

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