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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
23. How They Encountered the Flutterbudgets
|Page 1 of 4||
They were soon among the pretty hills and valleys again, and the Sawhorse sped up hill and down at a fast and easy pace, the roads being hard and smooth. Mile after mile was speedily covered, and before the ride had grown at all tiresome they sighted another village. The place seemed even larger than Rigmarole Town, but was not so attractive in appearance.
"This must be Flutterbudget Center," declared the Wizard. "You see, it's no trouble at all to find places if you keep to the right road."
"What are the Flutterbudgets like?" inquired Dorothy.
"I do not know, my dear. But Ozma has given them a town all their own, and I've heard that whenever one of the people becomes a Flutterbudget he is sent to this place to live."
"That is true," Omby Amby added; "Flutterbudget Center and Rigmarole Town are called 'the Defensive Settlements of Oz.'"
The village they now approached was not built in a valley, but on top of a hill, and the road they followed wound around the hill, like a corkscrew, ascending the hill easily until it came to the town.
"Look out!" screamed a voice. "Look out, or you'll run over my child!"
They gazed around and saw a woman standing upon the sidewalk nervously wringing her hands as she gazed at them appealingly.
"Where is your child?" asked the Sawhorse.
"In the house," said the woman, bursting into tears; "but if it should happen to be in the road, and you ran over it, those great wheels would crush my darling to jelly. Oh dear! oh dear! Think of my darling child being crushed into jelly by those great wheels!"
"Gid-dap!" said the Wizard sharply, and the Sawhorse started on.
They had not gone far before a man ran out of a house shouting wildly, "Help! Help!"
The Sawhorse stopped short and the Wizard and Uncle Henry and the Shaggy Man and Omby Amby jumped out of the wagon and ran to the poor man's assistance. Dorothy followed them as quickly as she could.
"What's the matter?" asked the Wizard.
"Help! help!" screamed the man; "my wife has cut her finger off and she's bleeding to death!"
Then he turned and rushed back to the house, and all the party went with him. They found a woman in the front dooryard moaning and groaning as if in great pain.
"Be brave, madam!" said the Wizard, consolingly. "You won't die just because you have cut off a finger, you may be sure."
"But I haven't cut off a finger!" she sobbed.
"Then what HAS happened?" asked Dorothy.
"I--I pricked my finger with a needle while I was sewing, and--and the blood came!" she replied. "And now I'll have blood-poisoning, and the doctors will cut off my finger, and that will give me a fever and I shall die!"
"Pshaw!" said Dorothy; "I've pricked my finger many a time, and nothing happened."
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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