How It Plays

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“How does it play?” asked the Queen, eagerly.

“It isn’t a toy at all,” answered the little man, “but a very dangerous creature called the ‘dreadnought.’ It can throw fire from its mouth and kill people even at a distance of thirty feet.”

“If it’s so dangerous,” said Dorothy, “why did you make it?”

“To destroy my enemies,” was the reply.

“And did it?” inquired Dorothy.

“No; it wouldn’t obey me.”

The big head of the dreadnought now turned slowly and looked at Ozma with its round, yellow eyes.

“Ah,” said the Wizard, nodding his head as if pleased; “it sees you are its mistress, and will surely obey you.”

The Scarecrow did not reply at once to this question. He stood still a moment to make sure his straw was well packed, and his joints limbered, and then he moved slowly around the room, trying his arms and legs and body to see if they worked as well as usual.

“I’ll do very well,” he said, presently, “as long as no accident happens to make my straw poke out through my clothes. I might be damaged then, but while I keep in good condition I can’t be hurt.”

“Well,” said the Lion, with a sigh, “I shall have to take care of myself as best I can.”

“And we must help you,” added the little Wizard.

Then the Scarecrow led the way out of the cottage and they walked through the trees until they found an open place in the forest where the grass had been eaten short by many cows and sheep. Here were several herds of fine stock belonging to Mr. Hunk, who was one of Dorothy’s uncles on her father’s side. The girl knew Uncle Henry would not mind her taking any of his fat cattle for food on her journey; so she picked out a nice big cow that had already been killed and dragged her to a place under some

“Wake up, little Dorothy,” called the Wizard, “and tell us how you came to be in that strange country.”

So Dorothy told her story; and when she had finished, the Wizard said to her: “It seems, in spite of dangers, that you have had a most marvelous adventure. I wonder if the same good luck will attend us in our journey through this underground passage.”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” returned Dorothy frankly; “but we’ll try it, and see. What are those queer things hanging from your belt?”

The Wizard looked down and smiled.

“They are weapons of defense,” he answered. “This one is a silver revolver; these others are round balls. The silver balls are for the bears and the other ball is for enemies who are made of flesh and blood.”

“Are there any of those?” asked the girl anxiously.

“I’m not sure,” said the Wizard.

“I don’t know,” answered Dorothy, “but I’m going to find out.”

“I am sure it is nothing good,” remarked the Lion.

“It’s a beast of some sort, anyhow,” said Dorothy, “and it’s coming here to get us.”

They watched the great beast come nearer and nearer, and finally it stopped just before them and looked at them intently with its small eyes. It was a green monster covered with scales, and had a long tail and sharp claws. Around its head it wore a gold crown set with jewels, that sparkled in the sunlight.

The creature opened its mouth wide, but did not bite at them; so Dorothy asked:

“Are you going to eat us?”

“No,” replied the monster; “you are so small that one can scarcely taste you. But tell me; what are you doing in my country?”

The story is that a young girl named Dorothy was traveling with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry when a cyclone came up and carried them all away to the Land of Oz. It set them down, without any damage, right in the middle of a field of tall grasses, and there stood Dorothy upon her feet unhurt, for the good cyclone had set her gently upon the soft grasses.

Aunt Em was lying face downward upon the grass, unable to move from fright; but Uncle Henry sat upon his heels and looked around him with terror in his eyes.

Dorothy ran to her aunt and helped her up, comforting her with soft, kind words; and then she went to Uncle Henry’s side.

“Are you hurt?” she asked tenderly.

“No,” he answered in a shaking voice; “but if we stay here long we shall starve to death.”

“Why?” asked Dorothy.

“Because there isn’t a house within miles of us, nor anything to eat except these wild oats.”

We can’t live on grass,” declared Aunt Em pitifully.”

The Scarecrow was the first to speak. “It is very kind of you,” he said, in his awkward way, “to take so much trouble for my sake. But I really don’t see how a stuffed man can help us.”

“I am only stuffed with straw,” answered the Scarecrow sadly, “and therefore I have no brains.”

“That doesn’t matter,” declared the Tin Woodman; “for we who have brains do not need to be so particular. There is one thing, however, that puzzles me a good deal.”

“What is that?” asked the Scarecrow.

“How you happened to fall off that pole,” replied the Tin Woodman.

“It seems to me that it was very careless in you to come down and leave your pole lying on the ground.”

The Scarecrow looked at the Tin Woodman in a dazed sort of way, as if he could not understand him at all. Then he turned to look at Woot the Wanderer, who shook his head to show that he was as ignorant as the Scarecrow of what the tin man was talking about. Dorothy alone seemed to grasp his meaning for she nodded and said with a smile:

“I think I understand what my friend means

They followed the road until it ended in a great forest, and then they turned directly south, keeping close to the trees. All day long they traveled, with no other stopping place than a lunch basket Dorothy had brought from home. Toward evening they came upon a pretty brook beside which they decided to pass the night. They found a cozy nook between two great trees by the side of the water, where they slept well until morning.

When it was daylight, the girl and her friend ate a hearty breakfast from the food in the lunch basket. Then Dorothy filled her water pitcher at the brook, and putting it in her basket began their journey again.

“If we walk far enough,” said Dorothy, “I am sure we shall sometime come to some place.”

But day by day passed away, and they still seemed to be in the heart of the great forest. Once indeed they caught sight of a high mountain peak far to the south, but when they traveled toward it they found it was much farther away than it had seemed at first, and it was weary weeks before they reached its base. There were no paths at all in this part of the country, nor any signs of people having ever been there before; so their wandering was slow work indeed

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