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|The Magic of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
12. Kiki Uses His Magic
|Page 1 of 4||
Then arose a great confusion of sounds as all the animals began talking to their fellows. The monkeys chattered and the bears growled and the voices of the jaguars and lions rumbled, and the wolves yelped and the elephants had to trumpet loudly to make their voices heard. Such a hubbub had never been known in the forest before, and each beast argued with his neighbor until it seemed the noise would never cease.
Ruggedo the Nome waved his arms and fluttered his wings to try to make them listen to him again, but the beasts paid no attention. Some wanted to fight the Oz people, some wanted to be transformed, and some wanted to do nothing at all.
The growling and confusion had grown greater than ever when in a flash silence fell on all the beasts present, the arguments were hushed, and all gazed in astonishment at a strange sight.
For into the circle strode a great Lion--bigger and more powerful than any other lion there--and on his back rode a little girl who smiled fearlessly at the multitude of beasts. And behind the Lion and the little girl came another beast--a monstrous Tiger, who bore upon his back a funny little man carrying a black bag. Right past the rows of wondering beasts the strange animals walked, advancing until they stood just before the rock throne of Gugu.
Then the little girl and the funny little man dismounted, and the great Lion demanded in a loud voice:
"Who is King in this forest?"
"I am!" answered Gugu, looking steadily at the other. "I am Gugu the Leopard, and I am King of this forest."
"Then I greet Your Majesty with great respect," said the Lion. "Perhaps you have heard of me, Gugu. I am called the 'Cowardly Lion,' and I am King of all Beasts, the world over."
Gugu's eyes flashed angrily.
"Yes," said he, "I have heard of you. You have long claimed to be King of Beasts, but no beast who is a coward can be King over me."
"He isn't a coward, Your Majesty," asserted the little girl, "He's just cowardly, that's all."
Gugu looked at her. All the other beasts were looking at her, too.
"Who are you?" asked the King.
"Me? Oh, I'm just Dorothy," she answered.
"How dare you come here?" demanded the King.
"Why, I'm not afraid to go anywhere, if the Cowardly Lion is with me," she said. "I know him pretty well, and so I can trust him. He's always afraid, when we get into trouble, and that's why he's cowardly; but he's a terrible fighter, and that's why he isn't a coward. He doesn't like to fight, you know, but when he HAS to, there isn't any beast living that can conquer him."
Gugu the King looked at the big, powerful form of the Cowardly Lion, and knew she spoke the truth. Also the other Lions of the forest now came forward and bowed low before the strange Lion.
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|The Magic of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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