FictionForest

Chapter 21

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

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Next morning Dorothy’s breakfast was served in her own pretty sitting
room, and she sent to invite Polly and the shaggy man to join her and
Button-Bright at the meal. They came gladly, and Toto also had
breakfast with them, so that the little party that had traveled
together to Oz was once more reunited.

No sooner had they finished eating than they heard the distant blast
of many trumpets, and the sound of a brass band playing martial music;
so they all went out upon the balcony. This was at the front of the
palace and overlooked the streets of the City, being higher than the
wall that shut in the palace grounds. They saw approaching down the
street a band of musicians, playing as hard and loud as they could,
while the people of the Emerald City crowded the sidewalks and cheered
so lustily that they almost drowned the noise of the drums and horns.

Dorothy looked to see what they were cheering at, and discovered that
behind the band was the famous Scarecrow, riding proudly upon the back
of a wooden Saw-Horse which pranced along the street almost as
gracefully as if it had been made of flesh. Its hoofs, or rather the
ends of its wooden legs, were shod with plates of solid gold, and the
saddle strapped to the wooden body was richly embroidered and
glistened with jewels.

As he reached the palace the Scarecrow looked up and saw Dorothy, and
at once waved his peaked hat at her in greeting. He rode up to the
front door and dismounted, and the band stopped playing and went away
and the crowds of people returned to their dwellings.

By the time Dorothy and her friends had re-entered her room, the
Scarecrow was there, and he gave the girl a hearty embrace and shook
the hands of the others with his own squashy hands, which were white
gloves filled with straw.

The shaggy man, Button-Bright, and Polychrome stared hard at this
celebrated person, who was acknowledged to be the most popular and
most beloved man in all the Land of Oz.

“Why, your face has been newly painted!” exclaimed Dorothy, when the
first greetings were over.

“I had it touched up a bit by the Munchkin farmer who first made me,”
answered the Scarecrow, pleasantly. “My complexion had become a bit
grey and faded, you know, and the paint had peeled off one end of my
mouth, so I couldn’t talk quite straight. Now I feel like myself
again, and I may say without immodesty that my body is stuffed with
the loveliest oat-straw in all Oz.” He pushed against his chest.
“Hear me crunkle?” he asked.

“Yes,” said Dorothy; “you sound fine.”

Button-Bright was wonderfully attracted by the strawman, and so was
Polly. The shaggy man treated him with great respect, because he was
so queerly made.

Jellia Jamb now came to say that Ozma wanted Princess Dorothy to
receive the invited guests in the Throne-Room, as they arrived. The
Ruler was herself busy ordering the preparations for the morrow’s
festivities, so she wished her friend to act in her place.

Dorothy willingly agreed, being the only other Princess in the Emerald
City; so she went to the great Throne-Room and sat in Ozma’s seat,
placing Polly on one side of her and Button-Bright on the other. The
Scarecrow stood at the left of the throne and the Tin Woodman at the
right, while the Wonderful Wizard and the shaggy man stood behind.

The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger came in, with bright new bows of
ribbon on their collars and tails. After greeting Dorothy
affectionately the huge beasts lay down at the foot of the throne.

While they waited, the Scarecrow, who was near the little boy, asked:

“Why are you called Button-Bright?”

“Don’t know,” was the answer.

“Oh yes, you do, dear,” said Dorothy. “Tell the Scarecrow how you
got your name.”

“Papa always said I was bright as a button, so mama always called me
Button-Bright,” announced the boy.

“Where is your mama?” asked the Scarecrow.

“Don’t know,” said Button-Bright.

“Where is your home?” asked the Scarecrow.

“Don’t know,” said Button-Bright.

“Don’t you want to find your mama again?” asked the Scarecrow.

“Don’t know,” said Button-Bright, calmly.

The Scarecrow looked thoughtful.

“Your papa may have been right,” he observed; “but there are many
kinds of buttons, you see. There are silver and gold buttons, which
are highly polished and glitter brightly. There are pearl and rubber
buttons, and other kinds, with surfaces more or less bright. But there
is still another sort of button which is covered with dull cloth, and
that must be the sort your papa meant when he said you were bright as
a button. Don’t you think so?”

“Don’t know,” said Button-Bright.

Jack Pumpkinhead arrived, wearing a pair of new, white kid gloves; and
he brought a birthday present for Ozma consisting of a necklace of
pumpkin-seeds. In each seed was set a sparkling carolite, which is
considered the rarest and most beautiful gem that exists. The
necklace was in a plush case and Jellia Jamb put it on a table with
the Princess Ozma’s other presents.

Next came a tall, beautiful woman clothed in a splendid trailing gown,
trimmed with exquisite lace as fine as cobweb. This was the important
Sorceress known as Glinda the Good, who had been of great assistance
to both Ozma and Dorothy. There was no humbug about her magic, you
may be sure, and Glinda was as kind as she was powerful. She greeted
Dorothy most lovingly, and kissed Button-Bright and Polly, and smiled
upon the shaggy man, after which Jellia Jamb led the Sorceress to one
of the most magnificent rooms of the royal palace and appointed fifty
servants to wait upon her.

The next arrival was Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T.E.; the “H. M.” meaning
Highly Magnified and the “T.E.” meaning Thoroughly Educated. The
Woggle-Bug was head professor at the Royal College of Oz, and he had
composed a fine Ode in honor of Ozma’s birthday. This he wanted to
read to them; but the Scarecrow wouldn’t let him.

Soon they heard a clucking sound and a chorus of “cheep! cheep!” and
a servant threw open the door to allow Billina and her ten fluffy
chicks to enter the Throne-Room. As the Yellow Hen marched proudly at
the head of her family, Dorothy cried, “Oh, you lovely things!” and
ran down from her seat to pet the little yellow downy balls. Billina
wore a pearl necklace, and around the neck of each chicken was a tiny
gold chain holding a locket with the letter “D” engraved upon the outside.

“Open the lockets, Dorothy,” said Billina. The girl obeyed and found
a picture of herself in each locket. “They were named after you, my
dear,” continued the Yellow Hen, “so I wanted all my chickens to wear
your picture. Cluck–cluck! come here, Dorothy–this minute!” she
cried, for the chickens were scattered and wandering all around the
big room.

They obeyed the call at once, and came running as fast as they could,
fluttering their fluffy wings in a laughable way.

It was lucky that Billina gathered the little ones under her soft
breast just then, for Tik-tok came in and tramped up to the throne on
his flat copper feet.

“I am all wound up and work-ing fine-ly,” said the clock-work
man to Dorothy.

“I can hear him tick,” declared Button-Bright.

“You are quite the polished gentleman,” said the Tin Woodman. “Stand
up here beside the shaggy man, Tik-tok, and help receive the company.”

Dorothy placed soft cushions in a corner for Billina and her chicks,
and had just returned to the Throne and seated herself when the
playing of the royal band outside the palace announced the approach of
distinguished guests.

And my, how they did stare when the High Chamberlain threw open the
doors and the visitors entered the Throne-Room!

First walked a gingerbread man neatly formed and baked to a lovely
brown tint. He wore a silk hat and carried a candy cane prettily
striped with red and yellow. His shirt-front and cuffs were white
frosting, and the buttons on his coat were licorice drops.

Behind the gingerbread man came a child with flaxen hair and merry
blue eyes, dressed in white pajamas, with sandals on the soles of its
pretty bare feet. The child looked around smiling and thrust its
hands into the pockets of the pajamas. Close after it came a big
rubber bear, walking erect on its hind feet. The bear had twinkling
black eyes, and its body looked as if it had been pumped full of air.

Following these curious visitors were two tall, thin men and two
short, fat men, all four dressed in gorgeous uniforms.

Ozma’s High Chamberlain now hurried forward to announce the names of
the new arrivals, calling out in a loud voice:

“His Gracious and Most Edible Majesty, King Dough the First, Ruler of
the Two Kingdoms of Hiland and Loland. Also the Head Boolywag of his
Majesty, known as Chick the Cherub, and their faithful friend Para
Bruin, the rubber bear.”

These great personages bowed low as their names were called, and
Dorothy hastened to introduce them to the assembled company. They
were the first foreign arrivals, and the friends of Princess Ozma were
polite to them and tried to make them feel that they were welcome.

Chick the Cherub shook hands with every one, including Billina, and
was so joyous and frank and full of good spirits that John Dough’s
Head Booleywag at once became a prime favorite.

“Is it a boy or a girl?” whispered Dorothy.

“Don’t know,” said Button-Bright.

“Goodness me! what a queer lot of people you are,” exclaimed the
rubber bear, looking at the assembled company.

“So’re you,” said Button-Bright, gravely. “Is King Dough good to eat?”

“He’s too good to eat,” laughed Chick the Cherub.

“I hope none of you are fond of gingerbread,” said the King,
rather anxiously.

“We should never think of eating our visitors, if we were,” declared
the Scarecrow; “so please do not worry, for you will be perfectly safe
while you remain in Oz.”

“Why do they call you Chick?” the Yellow Hen asked the child.

“Because I’m an Incubator Baby, and never had any parents,” replied the
Head Booleywag.

“My chicks have a parent, and I’m it,” said Billina.

“I’m glad of that,” answered the Cherub, “because they’ll have more
fun worrying you than if they were brought up in an Incubator. The
Incubator never worries, you know.”

King John Dough had brought for Ozma’s birthday present a lovely
gingerbread crown, with rows of small pearls around it and a fine big
pearl in each of its five points. After this had been received by
Dorothy with proper thanks and placed on the table with the other
presents, the visitors from Hiland and Loland were escorted to their
rooms by the High Chamberlain.

They had no sooner departed than the band before the palace began to
play again, announcing more arrivals, and as these were doubtless from
foreign parts the High Chamberlain hurried back to receive them in
his most official manner.

 

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