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|The Marvelous Land of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Scarecrow Plans an escape
|Page 1 of 4||
Tip slipped away from the girls and followed swiftly after the Soldier with the Green Whiskers. The invading army entered the City more slowly, for they stopped to dig emeralds out of the walls and paving-stones with the points of their knitting-needles. So the Soldier and the boy reached the palace before the news had spread that the City was conquered.
The Scarecrow and Jack Pumpkinhead were still playing at quoits in the courtyard when the game was interrupted by the abrupt entrance of the Royal Army of Oz, who came flying in without his hat or gun, his clothes in sad disarray and his long beard floating a yard behind him as he ran.
"Tally one for me," said the Scarecrow, calmly "What's wrong, my man?" he added, addressing the Soldier.
"Oh! your Majesty -- your Majesty! The City is conquered!" gasped the Royal Army, who was all out of breath.
"This is quite sudden," said the Scarecrow. "But please go and bar all the doors and windows of the palace, while I show this Pumpkinhead how to throw a quoit."
The Soldier hastened to do this, while Tip, who had arrived at his heels, remained in the courtyard to look at the Scarecrow with wondering eyes.
His Majesty continued to throw the quoits as coolly as if no danger threatened his throne, but the Pumpkinhead, having caught sight of Tip, ambled toward the boy as fast as his wooden legs would go.
"Good afternoon, noble parent!" he cried, delightedly." I'm glad to see you are here. That terrible Saw-Horse ran away with me."
"I suspected it," said Tip. "Did you get hurt? Are you cracked at all?"
"No, I arrived safely," answered Jack, "and his Majesty has been very kind indeed to me.
At this moment the Soldier with the Green Whiskers returned, and the Scarecrow asked:
"By the way, who has conquered me?"
"A regiment of girls, gathered from the four corners of the Land of Oz," replied the Soldier, still pale with fear.
"But where was my Standing Army at the time?" inquired his Majesty, looking at the Soldier, gravely.
"Your Standing Army was running," answered the fellow, honestly; "for no man could face the terrible weapons of the invaders."
"Well," said the Scarecrow, after a moment's thought, "I don't mind much the loss of my throne, for it's a tiresome job to rule over the Emerald City. And this crown is so heavy that it makes my head ache. But I hope the Conquerors have no intention of injuring me, just because I happen to be the King."
"I heard them, say" remarked Tip, with some hesitation, "that they intend to make a rag carpet of your outside and stuff their sofa-cushions with your inside."
"Then I am really in danger," declared his Majesty, positively, "and it will be wise for me to consider a means to escape."
"Where can you go?" asked Jack Pumpkinhead.
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|The Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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