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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Joking Horners
|Page 2 of 4||
"I see very clearly," remarked the Scarecrow, "that you are going to have trouble in conquering those Horners--unless we help you."
"Oh!" cried the Hoppers in a chorus; "can you help us? Please do! We will be greatly obliged! It would please us very much!" and by these exclamations the Scarecrow knew that his speech had met with favor.
"How far is it to the Horner Country?" he asked.
"Why, it's just the other side of the fence," they answered, and the Champion added:
"Come with me, please, and I'll show you the Horners."
So they followed the Champion and several others through the streets and just beyond the village came to a very high picket fence, built all of marble, which seemed to divide the great cave into two equal parts.
But the part inhabited by the Horners was in no way as grand in appearance as that of the Hoppers. Instead of being marble, the walls and roof were of dull gray rock and the square houses were plainly made of the same material. But in extent the city was much larger than that of the Hoppers and the streets were thronged with numerous people who busied themselves in various ways.
Looking through the open pickets of the fence our friends watched the Horners, who did not know they were being watched by strangers, and found them very unusual in appearance. They were little folks in size and had bodies round as balls and short legs and arms. Their heads were round, too, and they had long, pointed ears and a horn set in the center of the forehead. The horns did not seem very terrible, for they were not more than six inches long; but they were ivory white and sharp pointed, and no wonder the Hoppers feared them.
The skins of the Horners were light brown, but they wore snow-white robes and were bare footed. Dorothy thought the most striking thing about them was their hair, which grew in three distinct colors on each and every head--red, yellow and green. The red was at the bottom and sometimes hung over their eyes; then came a broad circle of yellow and the green was at the top and formed a brush-shaped topknot.
None of the Horners was yet aware of the presence of strangers, who watched the little brown people for a time and then went to the big gate in the center of the dividing fence. It was locked on both sides and over the latch was a sign reading:
"WAR IS DECLARED"
"Can't we go through?" asked Dorothy.
"Not now," answered the Champion.
"I think," said the Scarecrow, "that if I could talk with those Horners they would apologize to you, and then there would be no need to fight."
"Can't you talk from this side?" asked the Champion.
"Not so well," replied the Scarecrow. "Do you suppose you could throw me over that fence? It is high, but I am very light."
"We can try it," said the Hopper. "I am perhaps the strongest man in my country, so I'll undertake to do the throwing. But I won't promise you will land on your feet."
"No matter about that," returned the Scarecrow. "Just toss me over and I'll be satisfied."
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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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