Read Little Wizard Stories of Oz Page 2


  Dorothy was a little Kansas girl who once accidentally found thebeautiful Land of Oz and was invited to live there always. Toto wasDorothy's small black dog, with fuzzy, curly hair and bright black eyes.Together, when they tired of the grandeur of the Emerald City of Oz,they would wander out into the country and all through the land,peering into queer nooks and corners and having a good time in their ownsimple way. There was a little Wizard living in Oz who was a faithfulfriend of Dorothy and did not approve of her traveling alone in thisway, but the girl always laughed at the little man's fears for her andsaid she was not afraid of anything that might happen.

  One day while on such a journey, Dorothy and Toto found themselves amongthe wild wooded hills at the southeast of Oz--a place usually avoided bytravelers because so many magical things abounded there. And, as theyentered a forest path, the little girl noticed a sign tacked to a tree,which said: "Look out for Crinklink."

  Toto could not talk, as many of the animals of Oz can, for he was justa common Kansas dog; but he looked at the sign so seriously that Dorothyalmost believed he could read it, and she knew quite well that Totounderstood every word she said to him.

  "Never mind Crinklink," said she. "I don't believe anything in Oz willtry to hurt us, Toto, and if I get into trouble you must take care ofme."

  "Bow-wow!" said Toto, and Dorothy knew that meant a promise.

  The path was narrow and wound here and there between the trees, but theycould not lose their way, because thick vines and creepers shut them inon both sides. They had walked a long time when, suddenly turning acurve of the pathway, they came upon a lake of black water, so big andso deep that they were forced to stop.

  "Well, Toto," said Dorothy, looking at the lake, "we must turn back, Iguess, for there is neither a bridge nor a boat to take us across theblack water."

  "Here's the ferryman, though," cried a tiny voice beside them, and thegirl gave a start and looked down at her feet, where a man no tallerthan three inches sat at the edge of the path with his legs danglingover the lake.

  "Oh!" said Dorothy; "I didn't see you before."

  Toto growled fiercely and made his ears stand up straight, but thelittle man did not seem in the least afraid of the dog. He merelyrepeated: "I'm the ferryman, and it's my business to carry people acrossthe lake."

  Dorothy couldn't help feeling surprised, for she could have picked thelittle man up with one hand, and the lake was big and broad. Looking atthe ferryman more closely she saw that he had small eyes, a big nose,and a sharp chin. His hair was blue and his clothes scarlet, and Dorothynoticed that every button on his jacket was the head of some animal. Thetop button was a bear's head and the next button a wolf's head; the nextwas a cat's head and the next a weasel's head, while the last button ofall was the head of a field-mouse. When Dorothy looked into the eyesof these animals' heads, they all nodded and said in a chorus: "Don'tbelieve all you hear, little girl!"

  "Silence!" said the small ferryman, slapping each button head in turn,but not hard enough to hurt them. Then he turned to Dorothy and asked:"Do you wish to cross over the lake?"

  "Why, I'd like to," she answered, hesitating; "but I can't see how youwill manage to carry us, without any boat."

  "If you can't see, you mustn't see," he answered with a laugh. "All youneed do is shut your eyes, say the word, and--over you go!"

  Dorothy wanted to get across, in order that she might continue herjourney.

  "All right," she said, closing her eyes; "I'm ready."

  Instantly she was seized in a pair of strong arms--arms so big andpowerful that she was startled and cried out in fear.

  "Silence!" roared a great voice, and the girl opened her eyes to findthat the tiny man had suddenly grown to a giant and was holding both herand Toto in a tight embrace while in one step he spanned the lake andreached the other shore.

  Dorothy became frightened, then, especially as the giant did not stopbut continued tramping in great steps over the wooded hills, crushingbushes and trees beneath his broad feet. She struggled in vain to freeherself, while Toto whined and trembled beside her, for the little dogwas frightened, too.

  "Stop!" screamed the girl. "Let me down!" But the giant paid noattention. "Who are you, and where are you taking me?" she continued;but the giant said not a word. Close to Dorothy's ear, however, a voiceanswered her, saying: "This is the terrible Crinklink, and he has you inhis power."

  Dorothy managed to twist her head around and found it was the secondbutton on the jacket--the wolf's head--which had spoken to her.

  "What will Crinklink do with me?" she asked anxiously.

  "No one knows. You must wait and see," replied the wolf.

  "Some of his captives he whips," squeaked the weasel's head.

  "Some he transforms into bugs and other things," growled the bear'shead.

  "Some he enchants, so that they become doorknobs," sighed the cat'shead.

  "Some he makes his slaves--even as we are--and that is the most dreadfulfate of all," added the field-mouse. "As long as Crinklink exists weshall remain buttons, but as there are no more buttonholes on his jackethe will probably make you a slave."

  Dorothy began to wish she had not met Crinklink. Meantime, the gianttook such big steps that he soon reached the heart of the hills,where, perched upon the highest peak, stood a log castle. Before thiscastle he paused to set down Dorothy and Toto, for Crinklink was atpresent far too large to enter his own doorway. So he made himself growsmaller, until he was about the size of an ordinary man. Then he said toDorothy, in stern, commanding tones:

  "Enter, girl!"

  Dorothy obeyed and entered the castle, with Toto at her heels. Shefound the place to be merely one big room. There was a table andchair of ordinary size near the center, and at one side a wee bedthat seemed scarcely big enough for a doll. Everywhere else weredishes--dishes--dishes! They were all soiled, and were piled upon thefloor, in all the corners and upon every shelf. Evidently Crinklink hadnot washed a dish for years, but had cast them aside as he used them.

  Dorothy's captor sat down in the chair and frowned at her.

  "You are young and strong, and will make a good dishwasher," said he.

  "Do you mean me to wash all those dishes?" she asked, feeling bothindignant and fearful, for such a task would take weeks to accomplish.

  "That's just what I mean," he retorted. "I need clean dishes, for all Ihave are soiled, and you're going to make 'em clean or get trounced. Soget to work and be careful not to break anything. If you smash a dish,the penalty is one lash from my dreadful cat-o'-nine-tails for everypiece the dish breaks into," and here Crinklink displayed a terriblewhip that made the little girl shudder.

  Dorothy knew how to wash dishes, but she remembered that often shecarelessly broke one. In this case, however, a good deal depended onbeing careful, so she handled the dishes very cautiously.

  While she worked, Toto sat by the hearth and growled low at Crinklink,and Crinklink sat in his chair and growled at Dorothy because she movedso slowly. He expected her to break a dish any minute, but as the hourspassed away and this did not happen Crinklink began to grow sleepy. Itwas tiresome watching the girl wash dishes and often he glancedlongingly at the tiny bed. Now he began to yawn, and he yawned andyawned until finally he said:

  "I'm going to take a nap. But the buttons on my jacket will be wideawake and whenever you break a dish the crash will waken me. As I'mrather sleepy I hope you won't interrupt my nap by breaking anything fora long time."

  Then Crinklink made himself grow smaller and smaller until he was threeinches high and of a size to fit the tiny bed. At once he lay down andfell fast asleep.

  Dorothy came close to the buttons and whispered: "Would you really warnCrinklink if I tried to escape?"

  "You can't escape," growled the bear. "Crinklink would become a giant,and soon overtake you."

  "But you might kill him while he sleeps," suggested the cat, in a softvoice.

  "Oh!" cried Dorothy, draw
ing back; "I couldn't poss'bly _kill_anything--even to save my life."

  But Toto had heard this conversation and was not so particular aboutkilling monsters. Also the little dog knew he must try to save hismistress. In an instant he sprang upon the wee bed and was about toseize the sleeping Crinklink in his jaws when Dorothy heard a loud crashand a heap of dishes fell from the table to the floor. Then the girl sawToto and the little man rolling on the floor together, like a fuzzyball, and when the ball stopped rolling, behold! there was Toto wagginghis tail joyfully and there sat the little Wizard of Oz, laughingmerrily at the expression of surprise on Dorothy's face.

  "Yes, my dear, it's me," said he, "and I've been playing tricks onyou--for your own good. I wanted to prove to you that it is reallydangerous for a little girl to wander alone in a fairy country; so Itook the form of Crinklink to teach you a lesson. There isn't anyCrinklink, to be sure; but if there had been you'd be severely whippedfor breaking all those dishes."

  The Wizard now rose, took off the coat with the button heads, and spreadit on the floor, wrong side up. At once there crept from beneath it abear, a wolf, a cat, a weasel, and a field-mouse, who all rushed fromthe room and escaped into the mountains.

  "Come on, Toto," said Dorothy; "let's go back to the Emerald City.You've given me a good scare, Wizard," she added, with dignity, "andp'raps I'll forgive you, by'n'by; but just now I'm mad to think howeasily you fooled me."