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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Wizard Performs Another Trick
|Page 1 of 4||
At three o'clock the Throne Room was crowded with citizens, men, women and children being eager to witness the great trial.
Princess Ozma, dressed in her most splendid robes of state, sat in the magnificent emerald throne, with her jewelled sceptre in her hand and her sparkling coronet upon her fair brow. Behind her throne stood the twenty-eight officers of her army and many officials of the royal household. At her right sat the queerly assorted Jury--animals, animated dummies and people--all gravely prepared to listen to what was said. The kitten had been placed in a large cage just before the throne, where she sat upon her haunches and gazed through the bars at the crowds around her, with seeming unconcern.
And now, at a signal from Ozma, the Woggle-Bug arose and addressed the jury. His tone was pompous and he strutted up and down in an absurd attempt to appear dignified.
"Your Royal Highness and Fellow Citizens," he began; "the small cat you see a prisoner before you is accused of the crime of first murdering and then eating our esteemed Ruler's fat piglet--or else first eating and then murdering it. In either case a grave crime has been committed which deserves a grave punishment."
"Do you mean my kitten must be put in a grave?" asked Dorothy.
"Don't interrupt, little girl," said the Woggle-Bug. "When I get my thoughts arranged in good order I do not like to have anything upset them or throw them into confusion."
"If your thoughts were any good they wouldn't become confused," remarked the Scarecrow, earnestly. "My thoughts are always--"
"Is this a trial of thoughts, or of kittens?" demanded the Woggle-Bug.
"It's a trial of one kitten," replied the Scarecrow; "but your manner is a trial to us all."
"Let the Public Accuser continue," called Ozma from her throne, "and I pray you do not interrupt him."
"The criminal who now sits before the court licking her paws," resumed the Woggle-Bug, "has long desired to unlawfully eat the fat piglet, which was no bigger than a mouse. And finally she made a wicked plan to satisfy her depraved appetite for pork. I can see her, in my mind's eye--"
"What's that?" asked the Scarecrow.
"I say I can see her in my mind's eye--"
"The mind has no eye," declared the Scarecrow. "It's blind."
"Your Highness," cried the Woggle-Bug, appealing to Ozma, "have I a mind's eye, or haven't I?"
"If you have, it is invisible," said the Princess.
"Very true," returned the Woggle-Bug, bowing. "I say I see the criminal, in my mind's eye, creeping stealthily into the room of our Ozma and secreting herself, when no one was looking, until the Princess had gone away and the door was closed. Then the murderer was alone with her helpless victim, the fat piglet, and I see her pounce upon the innocent creature and eat it up--"
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|Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
L. Frank Baum
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