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The Lost Princess of Oz L. Frank Baum

The Czarover of Herku

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"But mercy me, it's no trick to bend iron bars," said His Majesty. "Tell me, could this man crush a block of stone with his bare hands?"

"No one could do that," declared the boy.

"If I had a block of stone, I'd show you," said the Czarover, looking around the room. "Ah, here is my throne. The back is too high, anyhow, so I'll just break off a piece of that." He rose to his feet and tottered in an uncertain way around the throne. Then he took hold of the back and broke off a piece of marble over a foot thick. "This," said he, coming back to his seat, "is very solid marble and much harder than ordinary stone. Yet I can crumble it easily with my fingers, a proof that I am very strong."

Even as he spoke, he began breaking off chunks of marble and crumbling them as one would a bit of earth. The Wizard was so astonished that he took a piece in his own hands and tested it, finding it very hard indeed.

Just then one of the giant servants entered and exclaimed, "Oh, Your Majesty, the cook has burned the soup! What shall we do?"

"How dare you interrupt me?".

"asked the Czarover, and grasping the immense giant by one of his legs, he raised him in the air and threw him headfirst out of an open window. "Now, tell me," he said, turning to Button-Bright, "could your man in Philadelphia crumble marble in his fingers?"

."I guess not," said Button-Bright, much impressed by the skinny monarch's strength.

"What makes you so strong?" inquired Dorothy.

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"It's the zosozo," he explained, "which is an invention of my own. I and all my people eat zosozo, and it gives us tremendous strength. Would you like to eat some?"

"No thank you," replied the girl. "I--I don't want to get so thin."

"Well, of course one can't have strength and flesh at the same time," said the Czarover. "Zosozo is pure energy, and it's the only compound of its sort in existence. I never allow our giants to have it, you know, or they would soon become our masters, since they are bigger that we; so I keep all the stuff locked up in my private laboratory. Once a year I feed a teaspoonful of it to each of my people--men, women and children--so every one of them is nearly as strong as I am. Wouldn't YOU like a dose, sir?" he asked, turning to the Wizard.

"Well," said the Wizard, "if you would give me a little zosozo in a bottle, I'd like to take it with me on my travels. It might come in handy on occasion."

"To be sure. I'll give you enough for six doses," promised the Czarover.

"But don't take more than a teaspoonful at a time. Once Ugu the Shoemaker took two teaspoonsful, and it made him so strong that when he leaned against the city wall, he pushed it over, and we had to build it up again."

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The Lost Princess of Oz
L. Frank Baum

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