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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz||L. Frank Baum|
They Meet the Wooden Gargoyles
|Page 2 of 5||
"No one can love a person he's afraid of," asserted Dorothy. "If you behave, and don't scare the little pigs, I'm sure they'll grow very fond of you."
The Wizard now put the nine tiny ones back into his pocket and the journey was resumed.
"We must be pretty near the top, now," said the boy, as they climbed wearily up the dark, winding stairway.
"The Country of the Gurgles can't be far from the top of the earth," remarked Dorothy. "It isn't very nice down here. I'd like to get home again, I'm sure."
No one replied to this, because they found they needed all their breath for the climb. The stairs had become narrower and Zeb and the Wizard often had to help Jim pull the buggy from one step to another, or keep it from jamming against the rocky walls.
At last, however, a dim light appeared ahead of them, which grew clearer and stronger as they advanced.
"Thank goodness we're nearly there!" panted the little Wizard.
Jim, who was in advance, saw the last stair before him and stuck his head above the rocky sides of the stairway. Then he halted, ducked down and began to back up, so that he nearly fell with the buggy onto the others.
"Let's go down again!" he said, in his hoarse voice.
"Nonsense!" snapped the tired Wizard. "What's the matter with you, old man?"
"Everything," grumbled the horse. "I've taken a look at this place, and it's no fit country for real creatures to go to. Everything's dead, up there--no flesh or blood or growing thing anywhere."
"Never mind;. we can't turn back," said Dorothy; "and we don't intend to stay there, anyhow."
"It's dangerous," growled Jim, in a stubborn tone.
"See here, my good steed," broke in the Wizard, "little Dorothy and I have been in many queer countries in our travels, and always escaped without harm. We've even been to the marvelous Land of Oz--haven't we, Dorothy?--so we don't much care what the Country of the Gargoyles is like. Go ahead, Jim, and whatever happens we'll make the best of it."
"All right," answered the horse; "this is your excursion, and not mine; so if you get into trouble don't blame me."
With this speech he bent forward and dragged the buggy up the remaining steps. The others followed and soon they were all standing upon a broad platform and gazing at the most curious and startling sight their eyes had ever beheld.
"The Country of the Gargoyles is all wooden!" exclaimed Zeb; and so it was. The ground was sawdust and the pebbles scattered around were hard knots from trees, worn smooth in course of time. There were odd wooden houses, with carved wooden flowers in the front yards. The tree-trunks were of coarse wood, but the leaves of the trees were shavings. The patches of grass were splinters of wood, and where neither grass nor sawdust showed was a solid wooden flooring. Wooden birds fluttered among the trees and wooden cows were browsing upon the wooden grass; but the most amazing things of all were the wooden people--the creatures known as Gargoyles.
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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
L. Frank Baum
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