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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
15. How Dorothy Happened to Get Lost
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It was a beautiful evening, so they drew their camp chairs in a circle before one of the tents and began to tell stories to amuse themselves and pass away the time before they went to bed.
Pretty soon a zebra was seen coming out of the forest, and he trotted straight up to them and said politely:
"Good evening, people."
The zebra was a sleek little animal and had a slender head, a stubby mane and a paint-brush tail--very like a donkey's. His neatly shaped white body was covered with regular bars of dark brown, and his hoofs were delicate as those of a deer.
"Good evening, friend Zebra," said Omby Amby, in reply to the creature's greeting. "Can we do anything for you?"
"Yes," answered the zebra. "I should like you to settle a dispute that has long been a bother to me, as to whether there is more water or land in the world."
"Who are you disputing with?" asked the Wizard.
"With a soft-shell crab," said the zebra. "He lives in a pool where I go to drink every day, and he is a very impertinent crab, I assure you. I have told him many times that the land is much greater in extent than the water, but he will not be convinced. Even this very evening, when I told him he was an insignificant creature who lived in a small pool, he asserted that the water was greater and more important than the land. So, seeing your camp, I decided to ask you to settle the dispute for once and all, that I may not be further annoyed by this ignorant crab."
When they had listened to this explanation Dorothy inquired:
"Where is the soft-shell crab?"
"Not far away," replied the zebra. "If you will agree to judge between us I will run and get him."
"Run along, then," said the little girl.
So the animal pranced into the forest and soon came trotting back to them. When he drew near they found a soft-shell crab clinging fast to the stiff hair of the zebra's head, where it held on by one claw.
"Now then, Mr. Crab," said the zebra, "here are the people I told you about; and they know more than you do, who lives in a pool, and more than I do, who lives in a forest. For they have been travelers all over the world, and know every part of it."
"There is more of the world than Oz," declared the crab, in a stubborn voice.
"That is true," said Dorothy; "but I used to live in Kansas, in the United States, and I've been to California and to Australia and so has Uncle Henry."
"For my part," added the Shaggy Man, "I've been to Mexico and Boston and many other foreign countries."
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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