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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
A Good Friend
|Page 3 of 7||
"That will be very nice," said the boy, gratefully.
"I hope your friends are not dignified," observed Scraps.
"Some are, and some are not," he answered; "but I never criticise my friends. If they are really true friends; they may be anything they like, for all of me."
"There's some sense in that," said Scraps, nodding her queer head in approval. "Come on, and let's get to the Emerald City as soon as possible." With this she ran up the path, skipping and dancing, and then turned to await them.
"It is quite a distance from here to the Emerald City," remarked the Shaggy Man, "so we shall not get there to-day, nor to-morrow. Therefore let us take the jaunt in an easy manner. I'm an old traveler and have found that I never gain anything by being in a hurry. 'Take it easy' is my motto. If you can't take it easy, take it as easy as you can."
After walking some distance over the road of yellow bricks Ojo said he was hungry and would stop to eat some bread and cheese. He offered a portion of the food to the Shaggy Man, who thanked him but refused it.
"When I start out on my travels," said he, "I carry along enough square meals to last me several weeks. Think I'll indulge in one now, as long as we're stopping anyway."
Saying this, he took a bottle from his pocket and shook from it a tablet about the size of one of Ojo's finger-nails.
"That," announced the Shaggy Man, "is a square meal, in condensed form. Invention of the great Professor Woggle-Bug, of the Royal College of Athletics. It contains soup, fish, roast meat, salad, apple-dumplings, ice cream and chocolate-drops, all boiled down to this small size, so it can be conveniently carried and swallowed when you are hungry and need a square meal."
"I'm square," said the Woozy. "Give me one, please."
So the Shaggy Man gave the Woozy a tablet from his bottle and the beast ate it in a twinkling.
"You have now had a six course dinner," declared the Shaggy Man.
"Pshaw!" said the Woozy, ungratefully, "I want to taste something. There's no fun in that sort of eating."
"One should only eat to sustain life," replied the Shaggy Man, "and that tablet is equal to a peck of other food."
"I don't care for it. I want something I can chew and taste," grumbled the Woozy.
"You are quite wrong, my poor beast," said the Shaggy Man in a tone of pity. "Think how tired your jaws would get chewing a square meal like this, if it were not condensed to the size of a small tablet--which you can swallow in a jiffy."
"Chewing isn't tiresome; it's fun, maintained the Woozy. "I always chew the honey-bees when I catch them. Give me some bread and cheese, Ojo."
"No, no! You've already eaten a big dinner!" protested the Shaggy Man.
"May be," answered the Woozy; "but I guess I'll fool myself by munching some bread and cheese. I may not be hungry, having eaten all those things you gave me, but I consider this eating business a matter of taste, and I like to realize what's going into me."
Ojo gave the beast what he wanted, but the Shaggy Man shook his shaggy head reproachfully and said there was no animal so obstinate or hard to convince as a Woozy.
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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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