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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
26. How Ozma Refused to Fight for Her Kingdom
|Page 4 of 5||
"That water," declared Ozma, gravely, "is the most dangerous thing in all the Land of Oz. It is the Water of Oblivion."
"What does that mean?" asked Dorothy.
"Whoever drinks at the Forbidden Fountain at once forgets everything he has ever known," Ozma asserted.
"It wouldn't be a bad way to forget our troubles," suggested Uncle Henry.
"That is true; but you would forget everything else, and become as ignorant as a baby," returned Ozma.
"Does it make one crazy?" asked Dorothy.
"No; it only makes one forget," replied the girl Ruler. "It is said that once--long, long ago--a wicked King ruled Oz, and made himself and all his people very miserable and unhappy. So Glinda, the Good Sorceress, placed this fountain here, and the King drank of its water and forgot all his wickedness. His mind became innocent and vacant, and when he learned the things of life again they were all good things. But the people remembered how wicked their King had been, and were still afraid of him. Therefore, he made them all drink of the Water of Oblivion and forget everything they had known, so that they became as simple and innocent as their King. After that, they all grew wise together, and their wisdom was good, so that peace and happiness reigned in the land. But for fear some one might drink of the water again, and in an instant forget all he had learned, the King put that sign upon the fountain, where it has remained for many centuries up to this very day."
They had all listened intently to Ozma's story, and when she finished speaking there was a long period of silence while all thought upon the curious magical power of the Water of Oblivion.
Finally the Scarecrow's painted face took on a broad smile that stretched the cloth as far as it would go.
"How thankful I am," he said, "that I have such an excellent assortment of brains!"
"I gave you the best brains I ever mixed," declared the Wizard, with an air of pride.
"You did, indeed!" agreed the Scarecrow, "and they work so splendidly that they have found a way to save Oz--to save us all!"
"I'm glad to hear that," said the Wizard. "We never needed saving more than we do just now."
"Do you mean to say you can save us from those awful Phanfasms, and Growleywogs and Whimsies?" asked Dorothy eagerly.
"I'm sure of it, my dear," asserted the Scarecrow, still smiling genially.
"Tell us how!" cried the Tin Woodman.
"Not now," said the Scarecrow. "You may all go to bed, and I advise you to forget your worries just as completely as if you had drunk of the Water of Oblivion in the Forbidden Fountain. I'm going to stay here and tell my plan to Ozma alone, but if you will all be at the Forbidden Fountain at daybreak, you'll see how easily we will save the kingdom when our enemies break through the crust of earth and come from the tunnel."
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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