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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
14. How the Wizard Practiced Sorcery
|Page 1 of 5||
"Where next?" asked the Wizard when they had left the town of Fuddlecumjig and the Sawhorse had started back along the road.
"Why, Ozma laid out this trip," replied Dorothy, "and she 'vised us to see the Rigmaroles next, and then visit the Tin Woodman."
"That sounds good," said the Wizard. "But what road do we take to get to the Rigmaroles?"
"I don't know, 'zactly," returned the little girl; "but it must be somewhere just southwest from here."
"Then why need we go way back to the crossroads?" asked the Shaggy Man. "We might save a lot of time by branching off here."
"There isn't any path," asserted Uncle Henry.
"Then we'd better go back to the signposts, and make sure of our way," decided Dorothy.
But after they had gone a short distance farther the Sawhorse, who had overheard their conversation, stopped and said:
"Here is a path."
Sure enough, a dim path seemed to branch off from the road they were on, and it led across pretty green meadows and past leafy groves, straight toward the southwest.
"That looks like a good path," said Omby Amby. "Why not try it?"
"All right," answered Dorothy. "I'm anxious to see what the Rigmaroles are like, and this path ought to take us there the quickest way."
No one made any objection to this plan, so the Sawhorse turned into the path, which proved to be nearly as good as the one they had taken to get to the Fuddles. As first they passed a few retired farm houses, but soon these scattered dwellings were left behind and only the meadows and the trees were before them. But they rode along in cheerful contentment, and Aunt Em got into an argument with Billina about the proper way to raise chickens.
"I do not care to contradict you," said the Yellow Hen, with dignity, "but I have an idea I know more about chickens than human beings do."
"Pshaw!" replied Aunt Em. "I've raised chickens for nearly forty years, Billina, and I know you've got to starve 'em to make 'em lay lots of eggs, and stuff 'em if you want good broilers."
"Broilers!" exclaimed Billina, in horror. "Broil my chickens!"
"Why, that's what they're for, ain't it?" asked Aunt Em, astonished.
"No, Aunt, not in Oz," said Dorothy. "People do not eat chickens here. You see, Billina was the first hen that was ever seen in this country, and I brought her here myself. Everybody liked her an' respected her, so the Oz people wouldn't any more eat her chickens than they would eat Billina."
"Well, I declare," gasped Aunt Em. "How about the eggs?"
"Oh, if we have more eggs than we want to hatch, we allow people to eat them," said Billina. "Indeed, I am very glad the Oz folks like our eggs, for otherwise they would spoil."
"This certainly is a queer country," sighed Aunt Em.
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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