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|The Scarecrow of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Bumpy Man
|Page 2 of 4||
"Happy day! Come in and shut the door, for it grows cool when the sun goes down. Winter is now upon us."
"Why, it isn't cold a bit, outside," said Trot, "so it can't be winter yet."
"You will change your mind about that in a little while," declared the Bumpy Man. "My bumps always tell me the state of the weather, and they feel just now as if a snowstorm was coming this way. But make yourselves at home, strangers. Supper is nearly ready and there is food enough for all."
Inside the house there was but one large room, simply but comfortably furnished. It had benches, a table and a fireplace, all made of stone. On the hearth a pot was bubbling and steaming, and Trot thought it had a rather nice smell. The visitors seated themselves upon the benches -- except the Ork. which squatted by the fireplace -- and the Bumpy Man began stirring the kettle briskly.
"May I ask what country this is, sir?" inquired Cap'n Bill.
"Goodness me -- fruit-cake and apple-sauce! --don't you know where you are?" asked the Bumpy Man, as he stopped stirring and looked at the speaker in surprise.
"No," admitted Cap'n Bill. "We've just arrived."
"Lost your way?" questioned the Bumpy Man.
"Not exactly," said Cap'n Bill. "We didn't have any way to lose."
"Ah!" said the Bumpy Man, nodding his bumpy head. "This," he announced, in a solemn, impressive voice, "is the famous Land of Mo."
"Oh!" exclaimed the sailor and the girl, both in one breath. But, never having heard of the Land of Mo, they were no wiser than before.
"I thought that would startle you," remarked the Bumpy Man, well pleased, as he resumed his stirring. The Ork watched him a while in silence and then asked:
"Who may you be?"
"Me?" answered the Bumpy Man. "Haven't you heard of me? Gingerbread and lemon-juice! I'm known, far and wide, as the Mountain Ear."
They all received this information in silence at first, for they were trying to think what he could mean. Finally Trot mustered up courage to ask:
"What is a Mountain Ear, please?"
For answer the man turned around and faced them, waving the spoon with which he had been stirring the kettle, as he recited the following verses in a singsong tone of voice:
"Here's a mountain, hard of hearing,
That's sad-hearted and needs cheering, So my duty is to listen to all sounds that Nature makes,
So the hill won't get uneasy --
Get to coughing, or get sneezy -- For this monster bump, when frightened, is quite liable to quakes.
"You can hear a bell that's ringing;
I can feel some people's singing; But a mountain isn't sensible of what goes on, and so
When I hear a blizzard blowing
Or it's raining hard, or snowing, I tell it to the mountain and the mountain seems to know.
"Thus I benefit all people
While I'm living on this steeple, For I keep the mountain steady so my neighbors all may thrive.
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|The Scarecrow of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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