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|The Scarecrow of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Conquest of the Witch
|Page 2 of 3||
"Pah!" cried old Blinkie in a scornful voice. "I defy you all! By my magic powers I can turn you all into pigs, rooting in the mud, and I'll do it if you are not careful."
"I think you are mistaken about that," said the Scarecrow, and rising from his throne he walked with wobbling steps to the side of the Wicked Witch. "Before I left the Land of Oz, Glinda the Royal Sorceress gave me a box, which I was not to open except in an emergency. But I feel pretty sure that this occasion is an emergency; don't you, Trot?" he asked, turning toward the little girl.
"Why, we've got to do something," replied Trot seriously. "Things seem in an awful muddle here, jus' now, and they'll be worse if we don't stop this witch from doing more harm to people."
"That is my idea, exactly," said the Scarecrow, and taking a small box from his pocket he opened the cover and tossed the contents toward Blinkie.
The old woman shrank back, pale and trembling, as a fine white dust settled all about her. Under its influence she seemed to the eyes of all observers to shrivel and grow smaller.
"Oh, dear - oh, dear!" she wailed, wringing her hands in fear. "Haven't you the antidote, Scarecrow? Didn't the great Sorceress give you another box?"
"She did," answered the Scarecrow.
"Then give it me -- quick!" pleaded the witch. "Give it me -- and I'll do anything you ask me to!"
"You will do what I ask first," declared the Scarecrow, firmly.
The witch was shriveling and growing smaller every moment.
"Be quick, then!" she cried. "Tell me what I must do and let me do it, or it will be too late."
"You made Trot's friend, Cap'n Bill, a grasshopper. I command you to give him back his proper form again," said the Scarecrow.
"Where is he? Where's the grasshopper? Quick -- quick!" she screamed.
Cap'n Bill, who had been deeply interested in this conversation, gave a great leap from Trot's shoulder and landed on that of the Scarecrow. Blinkie saw him alight and at once began to make magic passes and to mumble magic incantations. She was in a desperate hurry, knowing that she had no time to waste, and the grasshopper was so suddenly transformed into the old sailor-man, Cap'n Bill, that he had no opportunity to jump off the Scarecrow's shoulder; so his great weight bore the stuffed Scarecrow to the ground. No harm was done, however, and the straw man got up and brushed the dust from his clothes while Trot delightedly embraced Cap'n Bill.
"The other box! Quick! Give me the other box," begged Blinkie, who had now shrunk to half her former size.
"Not yet," said the Scarecrow. "You must first melt Princess Gloria's frozen heart."
"I can't; it's an awful job to do that! I can't," asserted the witch, in an agony of fear -- for still she was growing smaller.
"You must!" declared the Scarecrow, firmly.
The witch cast a shrewd look at him and saw that he meant it; so she began dancing around Gloria in a frantic manner. The Princess looked coldly on, as if not at all interested in the proceedings, while Blinkie tore a handful of hair from her own head and ripped a strip of cloth from the bottom of her gown. Then the witch sank upon her knees, took a purple powder from her black bag and sprinkled it over the hair and cloth.
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|The Scarecrow of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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