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|The Scarecrow of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Kingdom of Jinxland
|Page 3 of 4||
"I've been to the Land of Oz before," said Button-Bright, "but I've never been here."
"Did you ever hear of Jinxland before?" asked Trot.
"No," said Button-Bright.
"It is on the Map of Oz, though," asserted the woman, "and it's a fine country, I assure you. If only," she added, and then paused to look around her with a frightened expression. "If only --" here she stopped again, as if not daring to go on with her speech.
"If only what, ma'am?" asked Cap'n Bill.
The woman sent the children into the house. Then she came closer to the strangers and whispered: "If only we had a different King, we would be very happy and contented."
"What's the matter with your King?" asked Trot, curiously. But the woman seemed frightened to have said so much. She retreated to her porch, merely saying:
"The King punishes severely any treason on the part of his subjects."
"What's treason?" asked Button-Bright.
"In this case," replied Cap'n Bill, "treason seems to consist of knockin' the King; but I guess we know his disposition now as well as if the lady had said more."
"I wonder," said Trot, going up to the woman, "if you could spare us something to eat. We haven't had anything but popcorn and lemonade for a long time."
"Bless your heart! Of course I can spare you some food," the woman answered, and entering her cottage she soon returned with a tray loaded with sandwiches, cakes and cheese. One of the children drew a bucket of clear, cold water from a spring and the three wanderers ate heartily and enjoyed the good things immensely.
When Button-Bright could eat no more he filled the pockets of his jacket with cakes and cheese, and not even the children objected to this. Indeed they all seemed pleased to see the strangers eat, so Cap'n Bill decided that no matter what the King of Jinxland was like, the people would prove friendly and hospitable.
"Whose castle is that, yonder, ma'am?" he asked, waving his hand toward the towers that rose above the trees.
"It belongs to his Majesty, King Krewl." she said.
"Oh, indeed; and does he live there?"
"When he is not out hunting with his fierce courtiers and war captains," she replied.
"Is he hunting now?" Trot inquired.
"I do not know, my dear. The less we know about the King's actions the safer we are."
It was evident the woman did not like to talk about King Krewl and so, having finished their meal, they said good-bye and continued along the pathway.
"Don't you think we'd better keep away from that King's castle, Cap'n?" asked Trot.
"Well," said he, "King Krewl would find out, sooner or later, that we are in his country, so we may as well face the music now. Perhaps he isn't quite so bad as that woman thinks he is. Kings aren't always popular with their people, you know, even if they do the best they know how."
"Ozma is pop'lar," said Button-Bright.
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|The Scarecrow of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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