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|The Scarecrow of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Little Old Man of the Island
|Page 6 of 7||
This quaint suggestion startled Trot and she looked gravely at the speaker while she considered it, but Cap'n Bill gave a scornful snort and asked:
"What would become of us afterward? We wouldn't be much good if we were some two or three inches high. No, Mr. Ork, I'd rather stay here, as I am, than be a hop-o'-my-thumb somewhere else."
"Why couldn't you take some of the dark purple berries along with you, to eat after we had reached our destination?" inquired the Ork. "Then you could grow big again whenever you pleased."
Trot clapped her hands with delight.
"That's it!" she exclaimed. "Let's do it, Cap'n Bill."
The old sailor did not like the idea at first, but he thought it over carefully and the more he thought the better it seemed.
"How could you manage to carry us, if we were so small?" he asked.
"I could put you in a paper bag, and tie the bag around my neck."
"But we haven't a paper bag," objected Trot.
The Ork looked at her.
"There's your sunbonnet," it said presently, "which is hollow in the middle and has two strings that you could tie around my neck."
Trot took off her sunbonnet and regarded it critically. Yes, it might easily hold both her and Cap'n Bill, after they had eaten the lavender berries and been reduced in size. She tied the strings around the Ork's neck and the sunbonnet made a bag in which two tiny people might ride without danger of falling out. So she said:
"I b'lieve we'll do it that way, Cap'n."
Cap'n Bill groaned but could make no logical objection except that the plan seemed to him quite dangerous -- and dangerous in more ways than one.
"I think so, myself," said Trot soberly. "But nobody can stay alive without getting into danger sometimes, and danger doesn't mean getting hurt, Cap'n; it only means we might get hurt. So I guess we'll have to take the risk."
"Let's go and find the berries," said the Ork.
They said nothing to Pessim, who was sitting on his stool and scowling dismally as he stared at the ocean, but started at once to seek the trees that bore the magic fruits. The Ork remembered very well where the lavender berries grew and led his companions quickly to the spot.
Cap'n Bill gathered two berries and placed them carefully in his pocket. Then they went around to the east side of the island and found the tree that bore the dark purple berries.
"I guess I'll take four of these," said the sailor-man, so in case one doesn't make us grow big we can eat another."
"Better take six," advised the Ork. "It's well to be on the safe side, and I'm sure these trees grow nowhere else in all the world."
So Cap'n Bill gathered six of the purple berries and with their precious fruit they returned to the shed to big good-bye to Pessim. Perhaps they would not have granted the surly little man this courtesy had they not wished to use him to tie the sunbonnet around the Ork's neck.
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|The Scarecrow of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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