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||The Road to Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Way to Butterfield
|Page 5 of 5||
"The Love Magnet! Why, what's that?"
"I'll show you, if you won't tell any one," he answered, in a low, mysterious voice.
"There isn't any one to tell, 'cept Toto," said the girl.
The shaggy man searched in one pocket, carefully; and in another pocket; and in a third. At last he drew out a small parcel wrapped in crumpled paper and tied with a cotton string. He unwound the string, opened the parcel, and took out a bit of metal shaped like a horseshoe. It was dull and brown, and not very pretty.
"This, my dear," said he, impressively, "is the wonderful Love Magnet. It was given me by an Eskimo in the Sandwich Islands--where there are no sandwiches at all--and as long as I carry it every living thing I meet will love me dearly."
"Why didn't the Eskimo keep it?" she asked, looking at the Magnet with interest.
"He got tired of being loved and longed for some one to hate him. So he gave me the Magnet and the very next day a grizzly bear ate him."
"Wasn't he sorry then?" she inquired.
"He didn't say," replied the shaggy man, wrapping and tying the Love Magnet with great care and putting it away in another pocket. "But the bear didn't seem sorry a bit," he added.
"Did you know the bear?" asked Dorothy.
"Yes; we used to play ball together in the Caviar Islands. The bear loved me because I had the Love Magnet. I couldn't blame him for eating the Eskimo, because it was his nature to do so."
"Once," said Dorothy, "I knew a Hungry Tiger who longed to eat fat babies, because it was his nature to; but he never ate any because he had a Conscience."
"This bear," replied the shaggy man, with a sigh, "had no Conscience, you see."
The shaggy man sat silent for several minutes, apparently considering the cases of the bear and the tiger, while Toto watched him with an air of great interest. The little dog was doubtless thinking of his ride in the shaggy man's pocket and planning to keep out of reach in the future.
At last the shaggy man turned and inquired, "What's your name, little girl?"
"My name's Dorothy," said she, jumping up again, "but what are we going to do? We can't stay here forever, you know."
"Let's take the seventh road," he suggested. "Seven is a lucky number for little girls named Dorothy."
"The seventh from where?"
"From where you begin to count."
So she counted seven roads, and the seventh looked just like all the others; but the shaggy man got up from the ground where he had been sitting and started down this road as if sure it was the best way to go; and Dorothy and Toto followed him.
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|The Road to Oz
L. Frank Baum
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