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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
19. How Bunnybury Welcomed the Strangers
|Page 3 of 4||
This seemed the best thing to do, for Dorothy was curious to see how the rabbit people lived and she was aware of the fact that her friends might frighten the timid little creatures. She had not forgotten how Toto and Billina had misbehaved in Bunbury, and perhaps the rabbit was wise to insist on their staying outside the town.
"Very well," she said, "I'll go in alone. I s'pose you're the King of this town, aren't you?"
"No," answered the rabbit, "I'm merely the Keeper of the Wicket, and a person of little importance, although I try to do my duty. I must now inform you, Princess, that before you enter our town you must consent to reduce."
"Reduce what?" asked Dorothy.
"Your size. You must become the size of the rabbits, although you may retain your own form."
"Wouldn't my clothes be too big for me?" she inquired.
"No; they will reduce when your body does."
"Can YOU make me smaller?" asked the girl.
"Easily," returned the rabbit.
"And will you make me big again, when I'm ready to go away?"
"I will," said he.
"All right, then; I'm willing," she announced.
The rabbit jumped from the table and ran--or rather hopped--to the further wall, where he opened a door so tiny that even Toto could scarcely have crawled through it.
"Follow me," he said.
Now, almost any other little girl would have declared that she could not get through so small a door; but Dorothy had already encountered so many fairy adventures that she believed nothing was impossible in the Land of Oz. So she quietly walked toward the door, and at every step she grew smaller and smaller until, by the time the opening was reached, she could pass through it with ease. Indeed, as she stood beside the rabbit, who sat upon his hind legs and used his paws as hands, her head was just about as high as his own.
Then the Keeper of the Wicket passed through and she followed, after which the door swung shut and locked itself with a sharp click.
Dorothy now found herself in a city so strange and beautiful that she gave a gasp of surprise. The high marble wall extended all around the place and shut out all the rest of the world. And here were marble houses of curious forms, most of them resembling overturned kettles but with delicate slender spires and minarets running far up into the sky. The streets were paved with white marble and in front of each house was a lawn of rich green clover. Everything was as neat as wax, the green and white contrasting prettily together.
But the rabbit people were, after all, the most amazing things Dorothy saw. The streets were full of them, and their costumes were so splendid that the rich dress of the Keeper of the Wicket was commonplace when compared with the others. Silks and satins of delicate hues seemed always used for material, and nearly every costume sparkled with exquisite gems.
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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