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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz||L. Frank Baum|
Dorothy Picks the Princess
|Page 3 of 5||
"Dear me!" murmured the Wizard, looking at his pets in astonishment. "They can actually talk!"
"May I eat one of them?" asked the kitten, in a pleading voice. "I'm awfully hungry."
"Why, Eureka," said Dorothy, reproachfully, "what a cruel question! It would be dreadful to eat these dear little things."
"I should say so!" grunted another of the piglets, looking uneasily at the kitten; "cats are cruel things."
"I'm not cruel," replied the kitten, yawning. "I'm just hungry."
"You cannot eat my piglets, even if you are starving," declared the little man, in a stern voice. "They are the only things I have to prove I'm a wizard."
"How did they happen to be so little?" asked Dorothy. "I never saw such small pigs before."
"They are from the Island of Teenty-Weent," said the Wizard, "where everything is small because it's a small island. A sailor brought them to Los Angeles and I gave him nine tickets to the circus for them."
"But what am I going to eat?" wailed the kitten, sitting in front of Dorothy and looking pleadingly into her face. "There are no cows here to give milk; or any mice, or even grasshoppers. And if I can't eat the piglets you may as well plant me at once and raise catsup."
"I have an idea," said the Wizard, "that there are fishes in these brooks. Do you like fish?"
"Fish!" cried the kitten. "Do I like fish? Why, they're better than piglets--or even milk!"
"Then I'll try to catch you some," said he.
"But won't they be veg'table, like everything else here?" asked the kitten.
"I think not. Fishes are not animals, and they are as cold and moist as the vegetables themselves. There is no reason, that I can see, why they may not exist in the waters of this strange country."
Then the Wizard bent a pin for a hook and took a long piece of string from his pocket for a fish-line. The only bait he could find was a bright red blossom from a flower; but he knew fishes are easy to fool if anything bright attracts their attention, so he decided to try the blossom. Having thrown the end of his line in the water of a nearby brook he soon felt a sharp tug that told him a fish had bitten and was caught on the bent pin; so the little man drew in the string and, sure enough, the fish came with it and was landed safely on the shore, where it began to flop around in great excitement.
The fish was fat and round, and its scales glistened like beautifully cut jewels set close together; but there was no time to examine it closely, for Eureka made a jump and caught it between her claws, and in a few moments it had entirely disappeared.
"Oh, Eureka!" cried Dorothy, "did you eat the bones?"
"If it had any bones, I ate them," replied the kitten, composedly, as it washed its face after the meal. "But I don't think that fish had any bones, because I didn't feel them scratch my throat."
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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
L. Frank Baum
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