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|The Marvelous Land of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Flight of the Fugitives
|Page 1 of 3||
"It's a hard thing, to be a marble statue," he thought, rebelliously, "and I'm not going to stand it. For years I've been a bother to her, she says; so she's going to get rid of me. Well, there's an easier way than to become a statue. No boy could have any fun forever standing in the middle of a flower garden! I'll run away, that's what I'll do -- and I may as well go before she makes me drink that nasty stuff in the kettle." He waited until the snores of the old witch announced she was fast asleep, and then he arose softly and went to the cupboard to find something to eat.
"No use starting on a journey without food," he decided, searching upon the narrow shelves.
He found some crusts of bread; but he had to look into Mombi's basket to find the cheese she had brought from the village. While turning over the contents of the basket he came upon the pepper-box which contained the "Powder of Life."
"I may as well take this with me," he thought, "or Mombi'll be using it to make more mischief with." So he put the box in his pocket, together with the bread and cheese.
Then he cautiously left the house and latched the door behind him. Outside both moon and stars shone brightly, and the night seemed peaceful and inviting after the close and ill-smelling kitchen.
"I'll be glad to get away," said Tip, softly; "for I never did like that old woman. I wonder how I ever came to live with her."
He was walking slowly toward the road when a thought made him pause.
"I don't like to leave Jack Pumpkinhead to the tender mercies of old Mombi," he muttered. "And Jack belongs to me, for I made him even if the old witch did bring him to life."
He retraced his steps to the cow-stable and opened the door of the stall where the pumpkin-headed man had been left.
Jack was standing in the middle of the stall, and by the moonlight Tip could see he was smiling just as jovially as ever.
"Come on!" said the boy, beckoning."
"Where to?" asked Jack.
"You'll know as soon as I do," answered Tip, smiling sympathetically into the pumpkin face.
"All we've got to do now is to tramp."
"Very well," returned Jack, and walked awkwardly out of the stable and into the moonlight.
Tip turned toward the road and the man followed him. Jack walked with a sort of limp, and occasionally one of the joints of his legs would turn backward, instead of frontwise, almost causing him to tumble. But the Pumpkinhead was quick to notice this, and began to take more pains to step carefully; so that he met with few accidents.
Tip led him along the path without stopping an instant. They could not go very fast, but they walked steadily; and by the time the moon sank away and the sun peeped over the hills they had travelled so great a distance that the boy had no reason to fear pursuit from the old witch. Moreover, he had turned first into one path, and then into another, so that should anyone follow them it would prove very difficult to guess which way they had gone, or where to seek them.
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|The Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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