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|Ozma of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Heads of Langwidere
|Page 7 of 8||
Dorothy obeyed, without a thought of fear, and stood before the Princess while Langwidere examined her face with careful attention.
"You are rather attractive," said the lady, presently. "Not at all beautiful, you understand, but you have a certain style of prettiness that is different from that of any of my thirty heads. So I believe I'll take your head and give you No. 26 for it."
"Well, I b'lieve you won't!" exclaimed Dorothy.
"It will do you no good to refuse," continued the Princess; "for I need your head for my collection, and in the Land of Ev my will is law. I never have cared much for No. 26, and you will find that it is very little worn. Besides, it will do you just as well as the one you're wearing, for all practical purposes."
"I don't know anything about your No. 26, and I don't want to," said Dorothy, firmly. "I'm not used to taking cast-off things, so I'll just keep my own head."
"You refuse?" cried the Princess, with a frown.
"Of course I do," was the reply.
"Then," said Langwidere, "I shall lock you up in a tower until you decide to obey me. Nanda," turning to her maid, "call my army."
Nanda rang a silver bell, and at once a big fat colonel in a bright red uniform entered the room, followed by ten lean soldiers, who all looked sad and discouraged and saluted the princess in a very melancholy fashion.
"Carry that girl to the North Tower and lock her up!" cried the Princess, pointing to Dorothy.
"To hear is to obey," answered the big red colonel, and caught the child by her arm. But at that moment Tiktok raised his dinner-pail and pounded it so forcibly against the colonel's head that the big officer sat down upon the floor with a sudden bump, looking both dazed and very much astonished.
"Help!" he shouted, and the ten lean soldiers sprang to assist their leader.
There was great excitement for the next few moments, and Tiktok had knocked down seven of the army, who were sprawling in every direction upon the carpet, when suddenly the machine paused, with the dinner-pail raised for another blow, and remained perfectly motionless.
"My ac-tion has run down," he called to Dorothy. "Wind me up, quick."
She tried to obey, but the big colonel had by this time managed to get upon his feet again, so he grabbed fast hold of the girl and she was helpless to escape.
"This is too bad," said the machine. "I ought to have run six hours lon-ger, at least, but I sup-pose my long walk and my fight with the Wheel-ers made me run down fast-er than us-u-al."
"Well, it can't be helped," said Dorothy, with a sigh.
"Will you exchange heads with me?" demanded the Princess.
"No, indeed!" cried Dorothy.
"Then lock her up," said Langwidere to her soldiers, and they led Dorothy to a high tower at the north of the palace and locked her securely within.
The soldiers afterward tried to lift Tiktok, but they found the machine so solid and heavy that they could not stir it. So they left him standing in the center of the drawing-room.
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|Ozma of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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