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|Ozma of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Fate of the Tin Woodman
|Page 1 of 4||
Dorothy obeyed. She ran at once behind the Nome King, who was still trying to free his eyes from the egg, and in a twinkling she had unbuckled his splendid jeweled belt and carried it away with her to her place beside the Tiger and Lion, where, because she did not know what else to do with it, she fastened it around her own slim waist.
Just then the Chief Steward rushed in with a sponge and a bowl of water, and began mopping away the broken eggs from his master's face. In a few minutes, and while all the party stood looking on, the King regained the use of his eyes, and the first thing he did was to glare wickedly upon the Scarecrow and exclaim:
"I'll make you suffer for this, you hay-stuffed dummy! Don't you know eggs are poison to Nomes?"
"Really," said the Scarecrow, "they DON'T seem to agree with you, although I wonder why."
"They were strictly fresh and above suspicion," said Billina. "You ought to be glad to get them."
"I'll transform you all into scorpions!" cried the King, angrily, and began waving his arms and muttering magic words.
But none of the people became scorpions, so the King stopped and looked at them in surprise.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Why, you are not wearing your magic belt," replied the Chief Steward, after looking the King over carefully. "Where is it? What have you done with it?"
The Nome King clapped his hand to his waist, and his rock colored face turned white as chalk.
"It's gone," he cried, helplessly. "It's gone, and I am ruined!"
Dorothy now stepped forward and said:
"Royal Ozma, and you, Queen of Ev, I welcome you and your people back to the land of the living. Billina has saved you from your troubles, and now we will leave this drea'ful place, and return to Ev as soon as poss'ble."
While the child spoke they could all see that she wore the magic belt, and a great cheer went up from all her friends, which was led by the voices of the Scarecrow and the private. But the Nome King did not join them. He crept back onto his throne like a whipped dog, and lay there bitterly bemoaning his defeat.
"But we have not yet found my faithful follower, the Tin Woodman," said Ozma to Dorothy, "and without him I do not wish to go away."
"Nor I," replied Dorothy, quickly. "Wasn't he in the palace?"
"He must be there," said Billina; "but I had no clue to guide me in guessing the Tin Woodman, so I must have missed him."
"We will go back into the rooms," said Dorothy. "This magic belt, I am sure, will help us to find our dear old friend."
So she re-entered the palace, the doors of which still stood open, and everyone followed her except the Nome King, the Queen of Ev and Prince Evring. The mother had taken the little Prince in her lap and was fondling and kissing him lovingly, for he was her youngest born.
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|Ozma of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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