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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Captive Yoop
|Page 3 of 4||
"Oh, I'm not going to be eaten," said Dorothy.
"I shall keep out of your way," she answered.
"How heartless!" wailed the Giant, shaking the bars again. "Consider how many years it is since I've eaten a single plump little girl! They tell me meat is going up, but if I can manage to catch you I'm sure it will soon be going down. And I'll catch you if I can."
With this the Giant pushed his big arms, which looked like tree-trunks (except that tree-trunks don't wear pink velvet) between the iron bars, and the arms were so long that they touched the opposite wall of the rock passage. Then he extended them as far as he could reach toward our travelers and found he could almost touch the Scarecrow--but not quite.
"Come a little nearer, please," begged the Giant.
"I'm a Scarecrow."
"A Scarecrow? Ugh! I don't care a straw for a scarecrow. Who is that bright-colored delicacy behind you?"
"Me?" asked Scraps. "I'm a Patchwork Girl, and I'm stuffed with cotton."
"Dear me," sighed the Giant in a disapointed tone; "that reduces my dinner from four to two-- and the dog. I'll save the dog for dessert."
Toto growled, keeping a good distance away.
"Back up," said the Scarecrow to those behind him. "Let us go back a little way and talk this over.
So they turned and went around the bend in the passage, where they were out of sight of the cave and Mister Yoop could not hear them.
"My idea," began the Scarecrow, when they had halted, "is to make a dash past the cave, going on a run.
"He'd grab us," said Dorothy.
"Well, he can't grab but one at a time, and I'll go first. As soon as he grabs me the rest of you can slip past him, out of his reach, and he will soon let me go because I am not fit to eat."
They decided to try this plan and Dorothy took Toto in her arms, so as to protect him. She followed just after the Scarecrow. Then came Ojo, with Scarps the last of the four. Their hearts beat a little faster than usual as they again approached the Giant's cave, this time moving swiftly forward.
It turned out about the way the Scarecrow had planned. Mister Yoop was quite astonished to see them come flying toward him, and thrusting his arms between the bars he seized the Scarecrow in a firm grip. In the next instant he realized, from the way the straw crunched between his fingers, that he had captured the non-eatable man, but during that instant of delay Dorothy and Ojo had slipped by the Giant and were out of reach. Uttering a howl of rage the monster threw the Scarecrow after them with one hand and grabbed Scraps with the other.
The poor Scarecrow went whirling through the air and so cleverly was he aimed that he struck Ojo's back and sent the boy tumbling head over heels, and he tripped Dorothy and sent her, also, sprawling upon the ground. Toto flew out of the little girl's arms and landed some distance ahead, and all were so dazed that it was a moment before they could scramble to their feet again. When they did so they turned to look toward the Giant's cave, and at that moment the ferocious Mister Yoop threw the Patchwork Girl at them.
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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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