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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
Shaggy Man to the Rescue
|Page 1 of 4||
They had not gone very far before Bungle, who had run on ahead, came bounding back to say that the road of yellow bricks was just before them. At once they hurried forward to see what this famous road looked like.
It was a broad road, but not straight, for it wandered over hill and dale and picked out the easiest places to go. All its length and breadth was paved with smooth bricks of a bright yellow color, so it was smooth and level except in a few places where the bricks had crumbled or been removed, leaving holes that might cause the unwary to stumble.
"I wonder," said Ojo, looking up and down the road, "which way to go."
"Where are you bound for?" asked the Woozy.
"The Emerald City," he replied.
"Then go west," said the Woozy. "I know this road pretty well, for I've chased many a honey-bee over it."
"Have you ever been to the Emerald City?" asked Scraps.
"No. I am very shy by nature, as you may have noticed, so I haven't mingled much in society."
"Are you afraid of men?" inquired the Patchwork Girl.
"Me? With my heart-rending growl-my horrible, shudderful growl? I should say not. I am not afraid of anything," declared the Woozy.
"I wish I could say the same," sighed Ojo. "I don't think we need be afraid when we get to the Emerald City, for Unc Nunkie has told me that Ozma, our girl Ruler, is very lovely and kind, and tries to help everyone who is in trouble. But they say there are many dangers lurking on the road to the great Fairy City, and so we must be very careful."
"I hope nothing will break me," said the Glass Cat, in a nervous voice. "I'm a little brittle, you know, and can't stand many hard knocks."
"If anything should fade the colors of my lovely patches it would break my heart," said the Patchwork Girl.
"I'm not sure you have a heart," Ojo reminded her.
"Then it would break my cotton," persisted Scraps. "Do you think they are all fast colors, Ojo?" she asked anxiously.
"They seem fast enough when you run," he replied; and then, looking ahead of them, he exclaimed: "Oh, what lovely trees!"
They were certainly pretty to look upon and the travelers hurried forward to observe them more closely.
"Why, they are not trees at all," said Scraps; "they are just monstrous plants."
That is what they really were: masses of great broad leaves which rose from the ground far into the air, until they towered twice as high as the top of the Patchwork Girl's head, who was a little taller than Ojo. The plants formed rows on both sides of the road and from each plant rose a dozen or more of the big broad leaves, which swayed continually from side to side, although no wind was blowing. But the most curious thing about the swaying leaves was their color. They seemed to have a general groundwork of blue, but here and there other colors glinted at times through the blue--gorgeous yellows, turning to pink, purple, orange and scarlet, mingled with more sober browns and grays--each appearing as a blotch or stripe anywhere on a leaf and then disappearing, to be replaced by some other color of a different shape. The changeful coloring of the great leaves was very beautiful, but it was bewildering, as well, and the novelty of the scene drew our travelers close to the line of plants, where they stood watching them with rapt interest.
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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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