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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
They Bribe the Lazy Quadling
|Page 2 of 4||
"Try to control yourself, Scraps," said Ojo; you re getting crazy again. No one intends to swim that river."
"No," decided Dorothy, "we couldn't swim it if we tried. It's too big a river, and the water moves awful fast."
"There ought to be a ferryman with a boat," said the Scarecrow; "but I don't see any."
"Couldn't we make a raft?" suggested Ojo.
"There's nothing to make one of," answered Dorothy.
"Wow!" said Toto again, and Dorothy saw he was looking along the bank of the river.
"Why, he sees a house over there!" cried the little girl. "I wonder we didn't notice it ourselves. Let's go and ask the people how to get 'cross the river."
A quarter of a mile along the bank stood a small, round house, painted bright red, and as it was on their side of the river they hurried toward it. A chubby little man, dressed all in red, came out to greet them, and with him were two children, also in red costumes. The man's eyes were big and staring as he examined the Scarecrow and the Patchwork Girl, and the children shyly hid behind him and peeked timidly at Toto.
"Do you live here, my good man?" asked the Scarecrow.
"I think I do, Most Mighty Magician," replied the Quadling, bowing low; "but whether I'm awake or dreaming I can't be positive, so I'm not sure where I live. If you'll kindly pinch me I'll find out all about it!'
"You're awake," said Dorothy, "and this is no magician, but just the Scarecrow."
"But he's alive," protested the man, "and he oughtn't to be, you know. And that other dreadful person--the girl who is all patches--seems to be alive, too."
"Very much so," declared Scraps, making a face at him. "But that isn't your affair, you know."
"I've a right to be surprised, haven't I?" asked the man meekly.
"I'm not sure; but anyhow you've no right to say I'm dreadful. The Scarecrow, who is a gentleman of great wisdom, thinks I'm beautiful," retorted Scraps.
"Never mind all that," said Dorothy. "Tell us, good Quadling, how we can get across the river."
"I don't know," replied the Quadling.
"Don't you ever cross it?" asked the girl.
"Don't travelers cross it?"
"Not to my knowledge," said he.
They were much surprised to hear this, and the man added: "It's a pretty big river, and the current is strong. I know a man who lives on the opposite bank, for I've seen him there a good many years; but we've never spoken because neither of us has ever crossed over."
"That's queer," said the Scarecrow. "Don't you own a boat?"
The man shook his head.
"Nor a raft?"
"Where does this river go to?" asked Dorothy.
"That way," answered the man, pointing with one hand, "it goes into the Country of the Winkies, which is ruled by the Tin Emperor, who must be a mighty magician because he's all made of tin, and yet he's alive. And that way," pointing with the other hand, "the river runs between two mountains where dangerous people dwell."
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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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