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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz||L. Frank Baum|
Jim, The Cab-Horse
|Page 2 of 5||
Jim stopped abruptly, being startled and amazed. The Sawhorse stopped at the same time and stared at the other with its queer protruding eyes, which were mere knots in the log that formed its body. The legs of the Sawhorse were four sticks driving into holes bored in the log; its tail was a small branch that had been left by accident and its mouth a place chopped in one end of the body which projected a little and served as a head. The ends of the wooden legs were shod with plates of solid gold, and the saddle of the Princess Ozma, which was of red leather set with sparkling diamonds, was strapped to the clumsy body.
Jim's eyes stuck out as much as those of the Sawhorse, and he stared at the creature with his ears erect and his long head drawn back until it rested against his arched neck.
In this comical position the two horses circled slowly around each other for a while, each being unable to realize what the singular thing might be which it now beheld for the first time. Then Jim exclaimed:
"For goodness sake, what sort of a being are you?"
"I'm a Sawhorse," replied the other.
"Oh; I believe I've heard of you," said the cab-horse; "but you are unlike anything that I expected to see."
"I do not doubt it," the Sawhorse observed, with a tone of pride. "I am considered quite unusual."
"You are, indeed. But a rickety wooden thing like you has no right to be alive."
"I couldn't help it," returned the other, rather crestfallen. "Ozma sprinkled me with a magic powder, and I just had to live. I know I'm not much account; but I'm the only horse in all the Land of Oz, so they treat me with great respect."
"You, a horse!"
"Oh, not a real one, of course. There are no real horses here at all. But I'm a splendid imitation of one."
Jim gave an indignant neigh.
"Look at me!" he cried. "Behold a real horse!"
The wooden animal gave a start, and then examined the other intently.
"Is it possible that you are a Real Horse?" he murmured.
"Not only possible, but true," replied Jim, who was gratified by the impression he had created. "It is proved by my fine points. For example, look at the long hairs on my tail, with which I can whisk away the flies."
"The flies never trouble me," said the Saw-Horse.
"And notice my great strong teeth, with which I nibble the grass."
"It is not necessary for me to eat," observed the Sawhorse.
"Also examine my broad chest, which enables me to draw deep, full breaths," said Jim, proudly.
"I have no need to breathe," returned the other.
"No; you miss many pleasures," remarked the cab-horse, pityingly. "You do not know the relief of brushing away a fly that has bitten you, nor the delight of eating delicious food, nor the satisfaction of drawing a long breath of fresh, pure air. You may be an imitation of a horse, but you're a mighty poor one."
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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
L. Frank Baum
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