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|The Marvelous Land of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
In the Jackdaw's Nest
|Page 1 of 3||
"This," said the Gump, in a squeaky voice not at all proportioned to the size of its great body, "is the most novel experience I ever heard of. The last thing I remember distinctly is walking through the forest and hearing a loud noise. Something probably killed me then, and it certainly ought to have been the end of me. Yet here I am, alive again, with four monstrous wings and a body which I venture to say would make any respectable animal or fowl weep with shame to own. What does it all mean? Am I a Gump, or am I a juggernaut?" The creature, as it spoke, wiggled its chin whiskers in a very comical manner.
"You're just a Thing," answered Tip, "with a Gump's head on it. And we have made you and brought you to life so that you may carry us through the air wherever we wish to go."
"Very good!" said the Thing. "As I am not a Gump, I cannot have a Gump's pride or independent spirit. So I may as well become your servant as anything else. My only satisfaction is that I do not seem to have a very strong constitution, and am not likely to live long in a state of slavery."
"Don't say that, I beg of you!" cried the Tin Woodman, whose excellent heart was strongly affected by this sad speech." Are you not feeling well today?"
"Oh, as for that," returned the Gump, "it is my first day of existence; so I cannot Judge whether I am feeling well or ill." And it waved its broom tail to and fro in a pensive manner.
"Come, come!" said the Scarecrow, kindly. "do try, to be more cheerful and take life as you find it. We shall be kind masters, and will strive to render your existence as pleasant as possible. Are you willing to carry us through the air wherever we wish to go?"
"Certainly," answered the Gump. "I greatly prefer to navigate the air. For should I travel on the earth and meet with one of my own species, my embarrassment would be something awful!"
"I can appreciate that," said the Tin Woodman, sympathetically.
"And yet," continued the Thing, "when I carefully look you over, my masters, none of you seems to be constructed much more artistically than I am."
"Appearances are deceitful," said the Woggle-Bug, earnestly. "I am both Highly Magnified and Thoroughly Educated."
"Indeed!" murmured the Gump, indifferently.
"And my brains are considered remarkably rare specimens," added the Scarecrow, proudly.
"How strange!" remarked the Gump.
"Although I am of tin," said the Woodman, "I own a heart altogether the warmest and most admirable in the whole world."
"I'm delighted to hear it," replied the Gump, with a slight cough.
"My smile," said Jack Pumpkinhead, "is worthy your best attention. It is always the same."
"Semper idem," explained the Woggle-Bug, pompously; and the Gump turned to stare at him.
"And I," declared the Saw-Horse, filling in an awkward pause, "am only remarkable because I can't help it."
"I am proud, indeed, to meet with such exceptional masters," said the Gump, in a careless tone. "If I could but secure so complete an introduction to myself, I would be more than satisfied."
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|The Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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