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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
|Page 3 of 4||
gold decorated with gems of great size and many colors, and upon the tiled floor were soft rags delightful to walk upon. The furniture was framed in gold and upholstered in satin brocade and it consisted of easy chairs, divans and stools in great variety. Also there were several tables with mirror tops and cabinets filled with rare and curious things. In one place a case filled with books stood against the wall, and elsewhere Ojo saw a cupboard containing all sorts of games.
"May I stay here a little while before I go to prison?" asked the boy, pleadingly.
"Why, this is your prison," replied Tollydiggle, "and in me behold your jailor. Take off those handcuffs, Soldier, for it is impossible for anyone to escape from this house."
"I know that very well," replied the soldier and at once unlocked the handcuffs and released the prisoner.
The woman touched a button on the wall and lighted a big chandelier that hung suspended from the ceiling, for it was growing dark outside. Then she seated herself at a desk and asked:
"Ojo the Unlucky," answered the Soldier with the Green Whiskers.
"Unlucky? Ah, that accounts for it," said she. "What crime?"
"Breaking a Law of Oz."
"All right. There's your receipt, Soldier; and now I'm responsible for the prisoner. I'm glad of it, for this is the first time I've ever had anything to do, in my official capacity," remarked the jailer, in a pleased tone.
"It's the same with me, Tollydiggle," laughed the soldier. "But my task is finished and I must go and report to Ozma that I've done my duty like a faithful Police Force, a loyal Army and an honest Body-Guard--as I hope I am."
Saying this, be nodded farewell to Tollydiggle and Ojo and went away.
"Now, then," said the woman briskly, "I must get you some supper, for you are doubtless hungry. What would you prefer: planked whitefish, omelet with jelly or mutton-chops with gravy?"
Ojo thought about it. Then he said: "I'll take the chops, if you please."
"Very well; amuse yourself while I'm gone; I won't be long," and then she went out by a door and left the prisoner alone.
Ojo was much astonished, for not only was this unlike any prison he had ever heard of, but he was being treated more as a guest than a criminal. There were many windows and they bad no locks. There were three doors to the room and none were bolted. He cautiously opened one of the doors and found it led into a hallway. But he had no intention of trying to escape. If his jailor was willing to trust him in this way he would not betray her trust, and moreover a hot supper was being prepared for him and his prison was very pleasant and comfortable. So he took a book from the case and sat down in a big chair to look at the pictures.
This amused him until the woman came in with a large tray and spread a cloth on one of the tables. Then she arranged his supper, which proved the most varied and delicious meal Ojo had ever eaten in his life.
Tollydiggle sat near him while he ate, sewing on some fancy work she held in her lap. When he had finished she cleared the table and then read to him a story from one of the books.
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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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