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|The Road to Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The City Of Beasts
|Page 2 of 4||
"There's a city a little way off."
"I 'spected that," returned Dorothy; "for the fox-people warned us there was one on this road. It's filled with stupid beasts of some sort, but we musn't be afraid of 'em 'cause they won't hurt us."
"All right," said Button-Bright; but Polychrome didn't know whether it was all right or not.
"It's a big city," she said, "and the road runs straight through it."
"Never mind," said the shaggy man; "as long as I carry the Love Magnet every living thing will love me, and you may be sure I shan't allow any of my friends to be harmed in any way."
This comforted them somewhat, and they moved on again. Pretty soon they came to a signpost that read:
"HAF A MYLE TO DUNKITON."
"Oh," said the shaggy man, "if they're donkeys, we've nothing to fear at all."
"They may kick," said Dorothy, doubtfully.
"Then we will cut some switches, and make them behave," he replied. At the first tree he cut himself a long, slender switch from one of the branches, and shorter switches for the others.
"Don't be afraid to order the beasts around," he said; "they're used to it."
Before long the road brought them to the gates of the city. There was a high wall all around, which had been whitewashed, and the gate just before our travelers was a mere opening in the wall, with no bars across it. No towers or steeples or domes showed above the enclosure, nor was any living thing to be seen as our friends drew near.
Suddenly, as they were about to boldly enter through the opening, there arose a harsh clamor of sound that swelled and echoed on every side, until they were nearly deafened by the racket and had to put their fingers to their ears to keep the noise out.
It was like the firing of many cannon, only there were no cannon-balls or other missiles to be seen; it was like the rolling of mighty thunder, only not a cloud was in the sky; it was like the roar of countless breakers on a rugged seashore, only there was no sea or other water anywhere about.
They hesitated to advance; but, as the noise did no harm, they entered through the whitewashed wall and quickly discovered the cause of the turmoil. Inside were suspended many sheets of tin or thin iron, and against these metal sheets a row of donkeys were pounding their heels with vicious kicks.
The shaggy man ran up to the nearest donkey and gave the beast a sharp blow with his switch.
"Stop that noise!" he shouted; and the donkey stopped kicking the metal sheet and turned its head to look with surprise at the shaggy man. He switched the next donkey, and made him stop, and then the next, so that gradually the rattling of heels ceased and the awful noise subsided. The donkeys stood in a group and eyed the strangers with fear and trembling.
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|The Road to Oz
L. Frank Baum
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