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|The Marvelous Land of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
Dr. Nikidik's Famous Wishing Pills
|Page 6 of 7||
"Well, the emergency is here," observed Tip; "and unless your brains help us out of it we shall be compelled to pass the remainder of our lives in this nest."
"How about these wishing pills?" enquired the Scarecrow, taking the box from his jacket pocket. "Can't we use them to escape?"
"Not unless we can count seventeen by twos," answered the Tin Woodman. "But our friend the Woggle-Bug claims to be highly educated, so he ought easily to figure out how that can be done."
"It isn't a question of education," returned the Insect; "it's merely a question of mathematics. I've seen the professor work lots of sums on the blackboard, and he claimed anything could be done with x's and y's and a's, and such things, by mixing them up with plenty of plusses and minuses and equals, and so forth. But he never said anything, so far as I can remember, about counting up to the odd number of seventeen by the even numbers of twos."
"Stop! stop!" cried the Pumpkinhead. "You're making my head ache."
"And mine," added the Scarecrow. "Your mathematics seem to me very like a bottle of mixed pickles the more you fish for what you want the less chance you have of getting it. I am certain that if the thing can be accomplished at all, it is in a very simple manner."
"Yes," said Tip. "old Mombi couldn't use x's and minuses, for she never went to school."
"Why not start counting at a half of one?" asked the Saw-Horse, abruptly. "Then anyone can count up to seventeen by twos very easily."
They looked at each other in surprise, for the Saw-Horse was considered the most stupid of the entire party.
"You make me quite ashamed of myself," said the Scarecrow, bowing low to the Saw-Horse.
"Nevertheless, the creature is right," declared the Woggle-Bug; for twice one-half is one, and if you get to one it is easy to count from one up to seventeen by twos."
"I wonder I didn't think of that myself," said the Pumpkinhead.
"I don't," returned the Scarecrow. "You're no wiser than the rest of us, are you? But let us make a wish at once. Who will swallow the first pill?"
"Suppose you do it," suggested Tip.
"I can't," said the Scarecrow.
"Why not? You've a mouth, haven't you?" asked the boy.
"Yes; but my mouth is painted on, and there's no swallow connected with it,' answered the Scarecrow. "In fact," he continued, looking from one to another critically, "I believe the boy and the Woggle-Bug are the only ones in our party that are able to swallow."
Observing the truth of this remark, Tip said:
"Then I will undertake to make the first wish. Give me one of the Silver Pills."
This the Scarecrow tried to do; but his padded gloves were too clumsy to clutch so small an object, and he held the box toward the boy while Tip selected one of the pills and swallowed it.
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|The Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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