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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
14. How the Wizard Practiced Sorcery
|Page 4 of 5||
"The third tent," explained the Wizard, "is our dining room and kitchen."
They visited that next, and found a table and dishes in the dining tent, with plenty of those things necessary to use in cooking. The Wizard carried out a big kettle and set it swinging on a crossbar before the tent. While he was doing this Omby Amby and the Shaggy Man brought a supply of twigs from the forest and then they built a fire underneath the kettle.
"Now, Dorothy," said the Wizard, smiling, "I expect you to cook our supper."
"But there is nothing in the kettle," she cried.
"Are you sure?" inquired the Wizard.
"I didn't see anything put in, and I'm almost sure it was empty when you brought it out," she replied.
"Nevertheless," said the little man, winking slyly at Uncle Henry, "you will do well to watch our supper, my dear, and see that it doesn't boil over."
Then the men took some pails and went into the forest to search for a spring of water, and while they were gone Aunt Em said to Dorothy:
"I believe the Wizard is fooling us. I saw the kettle myself, and when he hung it over the fire there wasn't a thing in it but air."
"Don't worry," remarked Billina, confidently, as she nestled in the grass before the fire. "You'll find something in the kettle when it's taken off--and it won't be poor, innocent chickens, either."
"Your hen has very bad manners, Dorothy," said Aunt Em, looking somewhat disdainfully at Billina. "It seems too bad she ever learned how to talk."
There might have been another unpleasant quarrel between Aunt Em and Billina had not the men returned just then with their pails filled with clear, sparkling water. The Wizard told Dorothy that she was a good cook and he believed their supper was ready.
So Uncle Henry lifted the kettle from the fire and poured its contents into a big platter which the Wizard held for him. The platter was fairly heaped with a fine stew, smoking hot, with many kinds of vegetables and dumplings and a rich, delicious gravy.
The Wizard triumphantly placed the platter upon the table in the dining tent and then they all sat down in camp chairs to the feast.
There were several other dishes on the table, all carefully covered, and when the time came to remove these covers they found bread and butter, cakes, cheese, pickles and fruits--including some of the luscious strawberries of Oz.
No one ventured to ask a question as to how these things came there. They contented themselves by eating heartily the good things provided, and Toto and Billina had their full share, you may be sure. After the meal was over, Aunt Em whispered to Dorothy:
"That may have been magic food, my dear, and for that reason perhaps it won't be very nourishing; but I'm willing to say it tasted as good as anything I ever et." Then she added, in a louder voice: "Who's going to do the dishes?"
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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