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|Glinda of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Cleverness of Ervic
|Page 4 of 5||
"No," said the Skeezer, "I don't understand magic and if I did I would not try to imitate your skill. You are a wonderful Yookoohoo, while I am only a common Skeezer."
This confession seemed to please Reera, who liked to have her witchcraft appreciated.
"Will you go away now?" she asked. "I prefer to be alone."
"I prefer to stay here," said Ervic.
"In another person's home, where you are not wanted?"
"Is not your curiosity yet satisfied?" demanded Reera, with a smile.
"I don't know. Is there anything else you can do?"
"Many things. But why should I exhibit my powers to a stranger?"
"I can think of no reason at all," he replied.
She looked at him curiously.
"You want no power for yourself, you say, and you're too stupid to be able to steal my secrets. This isn't a pretty cottage, while outside are sunshine, broad prairies and beautiful wildflowers. Yet you insist on sitting on that bench and annoying me with your unwelcome presence. What have you in that kettle?"
"Three fishes," he answered readily.
"Where did you get them?"
"I caught them in the Lake of the Skeezers."
"What do you intend to do with the fishes?"
"I shall carry them to the home of a friend of mine who has three children. The children will love to have the fishes for pets."
She came over to the bench and looked into the kettle, where the three fishes were swimming quietly in the water.
"They're pretty," said Reera. "Let me transform them into something else."
"No," objected the Skeezer.
"I love to transform things; it's so interesting. And I've never transformed any fishes in all my life."
"Let them alone," said Ervic.
"What shapes would you prefer them to have? I can make them turtles, or cute little sea-horses; or I could make them piglets, or rabbits, or guinea-pigs; or, if you like I can make chickens of them, or eagles, or bluejays."
"Let them alone!" repeated Ervic.
"You're not a very pleasant visitor," laughed Red Reera. "People accuse me of being cross and crabbed and unsociable, and they are quite right. If you had come here pleading and begging for favors, and half afraid of my Yookoohoo magic, I'd have abused you until you ran away; but you're quite different from that. You're the unsociable and crabbed and disagreeable one, and so I like you, and bear with your grumpiness. It's time for my midday meal; are you hungry?"
"No," said Ervic, although he really desired food.
"Well, I am," Reera declared and clapped her hands together. Instantly a table appeared, spread with linen and bearing dishes of various foods, some smoking hot. There were two plates laid, one at each end of the table, and as soon as Reera seated herself all her creatures gathered around her, as if they were accustomed to be fed when she ate. The wolf squatted at her right hand and the kittens and chipmunks gathered at her left.
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|Glinda of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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