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|Ozma of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
Dorothy Tries to be Brave
|Page 3 of 4||
"What is Tiktok doing now?" asked the girl, uneasily.
"Nothing," replied the King, with a frown. "He is standing perfectly still, in the middle of a room."
"Oh, I expect he's run down," said Dorothy. "I forgot to wind him up this morning. How many guesses has he made?"
"All that he is allowed except one," answered the King. "Suppose you go in and wind him up, and then you can stay there and make your own guesses."
"All right," said Dorothy.
"It is my turn next," declared the Scarecrow.
"Why, you don't want to go away and leave me all alone, do you?" asked the girl. "Besides, if I go now I can wind up Tiktok, so that he can make his last guess."
"Very well, then," said the Scarecrow, with a sigh. "Run along, little Dorothy, and may good luck go with you!"
So Dorothy, trying to be brave in spite of her fears, passed through the doorway into the gorgeous rooms of the palace. The stillness of the place awed her, at first, and the child drew short breaths, and pressed her hand to her heart, and looked all around with wondering eyes.
Yes, it was a beautiful place; but enchantments lurked in every nook and corner, and she had not yet grown accustomed to the wizardries of these fairy countries, so different from the quiet and sensible common-places of her own native land.
Slowly she passed through several rooms until she came upon Tiktok, standing motionless. It really seemed, then, that she had found a friend in this mysterious palace, so she hastened to wind up the machine man's action and speech and thoughts.
"Thank you, Dor-oth-y," were his first words. "I have now one more guess to make."
"Oh, be very careful, Tiktok; won't you?" cried the girl.
"Yes. But the Nome King has us in his power, and he has set a trap for us. I fear we are all lost." he answered.
"I fear so, too," said Dorothy, sadly.
"If Smith & Tin-ker had giv-en me a guess-ing clock-work at-tach-ment," continued Tiktok, "I might have de-fied the Nome King. But my thoughts are plain and sim-ple, and are not of much use in this case."
"Do the best you can," said Dorothy, encouragingly, "and if you fail I will watch and see what shape you are changed into."
So Tiktok touched a yellow glass vase that had daisies painted on one side, and he spoke at the same time the word "Ev."
In a flash the machine man had disappeared, and although the girl looked quickly in every direction, she could not tell which of the many ornaments the room contained had a moment before been her faithful friend and servant.
So all she could do was to accept the hopeless task set her, and make her guesses and abide by the result.
"It can't hurt very much," she thought, "for I haven't heard any of them scream or cry out--not even the poor officers. Dear me! I wonder if Uncle Henry or Aunt Em will ever know I have become an orn'ment in the Nome King's palace, and must stand forever and ever in one place and look pretty--'cept when I'm moved to be dusted. It isn't the way I thought I'd turn out, at all; but I s'pose it can't be helped."
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|Ozma of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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