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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
They Meet the Woozy
|Page 1 of 6||
"There seem to be very few houses around here, after all," remarked Ojo, after they had walked for a time in silence.
"Never mind," said Scraps; "we are not looking for houses, but rather the road of yellow bricks. Won't it be funny to run across something yellow in this dismal blue country?"
"There are worse colors than yellow in this country," asserted the Glass Cat, in a spiteful tone.
"Oh; do you mean the pink pebbles you call your brains, and your red heart and green eyes?" asked the Patchwork Girl.
"No; I mean you, if you must know it," growled the cat.
"You're jealous!" laughed Scraps. "You'd give your whiskers for a lovely variegated complexion like mine."
"I wouldn't!" retorted the cat. "I've the clearest complexion in the world, and I don't employ a beauty-doctor, either."
"I see you don't," said Scraps.
"Please don't quarrel," begged Ojo. "This is an important journey, and quarreling makes me discouraged. To be brave, one must be cheerful, so I hope you will be as good-tempered as possible."
They had traveled some distance when suddenly they faced a high fence which barred any further progress straight ahead. It ran directly across the road and enclosed a small forest of tall trees, set close together. When the group of adventurers peered through the bars of the fence they thought this forest looked more gloomy and forbidding than any they had ever seen before.
They soon discovered that the path they had been following now made a bend and passed around the enclosure, but what made Ojo stop and look thoughtful was a sign painted on the fence which read:
"BEWARE OF THE WOOZY!"
"That means," he said, "that there's a Woozy inside that fence, and the Woozy must be a dangerous animal or they wouldn't tell people to beware of it."
"Let's keep out, then," replied Scraps. "That path is outside the fence, and Mr. Woozy may have all his little forest to himself, for all we care."
"But one of our errands is to find a Woozy," Ojo explained. "The Magician wants me to get three hairs from the end of a Woozy's tail."
"Let's go on and find some other Woozy," suggested the cat. "This one is ugly and dangerous, or they wouldn't cage him up. Maybe we shall find another that is tame and gentle."
"Perhaps there isn't any other, at all," answered Ojo. "The sign doesn't say: 'Beware a Woozy'; it says: 'Beware the Woozy,' which may, mean there's only one in all the Land of Oz.
"Then," said Scraps, "suppose we go in and find him? Very likely if we ask him politely to let us pull three hairs out of the tip of his tail he won't hurt us."
"It would hurt him, I'm sure, and that would make him cross," said the cat.
"You needn't worry, Bungle," remarked the Patchwork Girl; "for if there is danger you can climb a tree. Ojo and I are not afraid; are we, Ojo?"
"I am, a little," the boy admitted; "but this danger must be faced, if we intend to save poor
Unc Nunkie. How shall we get over the fence?"
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|The Patchwork Girl of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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