Read The Woggle-Bug Book Page 1




  Pictures by Ike Morgan

  ChicagoThe Reilly & Britton Co.1905

  Copyright1905byL. Frank BaumEvery Right Reserved

  The Unique Adventures of the WOGGLE-BUG

  ONE day Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E., becoming separated from hiscomrades who had accompanied him from the Land of Oz, and finding thattime hung heavy on his hands (he had four of them), decided to walkdown the Main street of the City and try to discover something or otherof interest.

  The initials "H. M." before his name meant "Highly Magnified," for thisWoggle-Bug was several thousand times bigger than any other woggle-bugyou ever saw. And the initials "T. E." after his named meant "ThoroughlyEducated"--and so he was, in the Land of Oz. But his education, beingapplied to a woggle-bug intellect, was not at all remarkable in thiscountry, where everything is quite different than Oz. Yet theWoggle-Bug did not suspect this, and being, like so many other thoroughlyeducated persons, proud of his mental attainments, he marched along thestreet with an air of importance that made one wonder what greatthoughts were occupying his massive brain.

  Being about as big, in his magnified state, as a man, the Woggle-Bugtook care to clothe himself like a man; only, instead of choosing sobercolors for his garments, he delighted in the most gorgeous reds andyellows and blues and greens; so that if you looked at him long thebrilliance of his clothing was liable to dazzle your eyes.

  I suppose the Waggle-Bug did not realize at all what a queer appearancehe made. Being rather nervous, he seldom looked into a mirror; and asthe people he met avoided telling him he was unusual, he had falleninto the habit of considering himself merely an ordinary citizen of thebig city wherein he resided.

  So the Woggle-Bug strutted proudly along the street, swinging a cane inone hand, flourishing a pink handkerchief in the other, fumbling hiswatch-fob with another, and feeling his necktie was straight withanother. Having four hands to use would prove rather puzzling to you orme, I imagine; but the Woggie-Bug was thoroughly accustomed to them.

  Presently he came to a very fine store with big plate-glass windows,and standing in the center of the biggest window was a creature sobeautiful and radiant and altogether charming that the first glance ather nearly took his breath away. Her complexion was lovely, for it waswax; but the thing which really caught the Woggle-Bug's fancy was themarvelous dress she wore. Indeed, it was the latest (last year's) Parismodel, although the Woggle-Bug did not know that; and the designer musthave had a real woggly love for bright colors, for the gown was made ofred cloth covered with big checks which were so loud the fashion bookscalled them "Wagnerian Plaids."

  Never had our friend the Woggle-Bug seen such a beautiful gown before,and it afflicted him so strongly that he straightaway fell in love withthe entire outfit--even to the wax-complexioned lady herself! Verypolitely he tipped his to her; but she stared coldly back without inany way acknowledging the courtesy.

  "Never mind," he thought; "'faint heart never won fair lady.' And I'mdetermined to win this kaliedoscope of beauty or perish in theattempt!" You will notice that our insect had a way of using big wordsto express himself, which leads us to suspect that the school system inOz is the same they employ in Boston.

  As, with swelling heart, the Woggle-Bug feasted his eyes upon theenchanting vision, a small green tag that was attached to a button ofthe waist suddenly attracted his attention. Upon the tag was marked:"Price $7.93--GREATLY REDUCED."

  "Ah!" murmured the Woggle-Bug; "my darling is in greatly reducedcircumstances, and $7.93 will make her mine! Where, oh where, shall Ifind the seven ninety-three wherewith to liberate this divinity andmake her Mrs. Woggle-Bug?"

  "Move on!" said a gruff policeman, who came along swinging his club.And the Woggle-Bug obediently moved on, his brain working fast andfurious in the endeavor to think of a way to procure seven dollars andninety-three cents.

  You see, in the Land of Oz they use no money at all, so that when theWoggle-Bug arrived in America he did not possess a single penny. And noone had presented him with any money since.

  "Yet there must be several ways to procure money in this country," hereflected; "for otherwise everybody would be as penniless as I am. Buthow, I wonder, do they manage to get it?"

  Just then he came along a side street where a number of men were atwork digging a long and deep ditch in which to lay a new sewer.

  "Now these men," thought the Woggle-Bug, "must get money for shovelingall that earth, else they wouldn't do it. Here is my chance to win thecharming vision of beauty in the shop window!"

  Seeking out the foreman, he asked for work, and the foreman agreed tohire him.

  "How much do you pay these workmen?" asked the highly magnified one.

  "Two dollars a day," answered the foreman.

  "Then," said the Woggle-Bug, "you must pay me four dollars a day; for Ihave four arms to their two, and can do double their work."

  "If that is so, I'll pay you four dollars," agreed the man.

  The Woggle-Bug was delighted.

  "In two days," he told himself, as he threw off his brilliant coat andplaced his hat upon it, and rolled up his sleeves; "in two days I canearn eight dollars--enough to purchase my greatly reduced darling andbuy her seven cents worth of caramels besides."

  He seized two spades and began working so rapidly with his four armsthat the foreman said: "You must have been forewarned."

  "Why?" asked the Insect.

  "Because there's a saying that to be forewarned is to be four-armed,"replied the other.

  "That is nonsense," said the Woggle-Bug, digging with all his might;"for they call you the foreman, and yet I only see one of you."

  "Ha, ha!" laughed the man, and he was so proud of his new worker thathe went into the corner saloon to tell his friend the barkeeper what atreasure he had found.

  It was just after noon that the Woggle-Bug hired as a ditch-digger inorder to win his heart's desire; so at noon on the second day he quitwork, and having received eight silver dollars he put on his coat andrushed away to the store that he might purchase his intended bride.

  But, alas for the uncertainty of all our hopes! Just as the Woggle-Bugreached the door he saw a lady coming out of the store dressed inidentical checks with which he had fallen in love!

  At first he did not know what to do or say, for the young lady'scomplexion was not wax--far from it. But a glance into the windowshowed him the wax lady now dressed in a plain black tailor-made suit,and at once he knew the wearer of the Wagnerian plaids was his reallove, and not the stiff creature behind the glass.

  "Beg pardon!" he exclaimed, stopping the young lady; "but you're mine.Here's the seven ninety-three, and seven cents for candy."

  But she glanced at him in a haughty manner, and walked away with hernose slightly elevated.

  He followed. He could not do otherwise with those delightful checksshining before him like beacon-lights to urge him on.

  The young lady stepped into a car, which whirled away rapidly. For amoment he was nearly paralyzed at his loss; then he started after thecar as fast as he could go, and this was very fast indeed--he being awoggle-bug.

  Somebody cried: "Stop, thief!" and a policeman ran out to arrest him.But the Woggle-Bug used his four hands to push the officer aside, andthe astonished man went rolling into the gutter so recklessly that hisuniform bore marks of the encounter for many days.

  Still keeping an eye on the car, the Woggle-Bug rushed on. Hefrightened two dogs, upset a fat gentleman who was crossing the street,leaped over an automobile that shot in front of him, and finally ranplump into the car, which had abruptly stopped to let off a passenger.Breathing hard from his exertions, he jumped upon the rear platform ofthe car, o
nly to see his charmer step off at the front and walkmincingly up the steps of a house. Despite his fatigue, he flew afterher at once, crying out:

  "Stop, my variegated dear--stop! Don't you know you're mine?"

  But she slammed the door in his face, and he sat down upon the stepsand wiped his forehead with his pink handkerchief and fanned himselfwith his hat and tried to think what he should do next.

  Presently a very angry man came out of the house. He had a revolver inone hand and a carving-knife in the other.

  "What do you mean by insulting my wife?" he demanded.

  "Was that your wife?" asked the Woggle-Bug, in meek astonishment.

  "Of course it is my wife," answered the man.

  "Oh, I didn't know," said the insect, rather humbled. "But I'll