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|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
15. The Discovery of Oz, the Terrible
|Page 3 of 6||
"And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady," said the Scarecrow.
"And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast," said the Tin Woodman.
"And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire," exclaimed the Lion.
"No, you are all wrong," said the little man meekly. "I have been making believe."
"Making believe!" cried Dorothy. "Are you not a Great Wizard?"
"Hush, my dear," he said. "Don't speak so loud, or you will be overheard--and I should be ruined. I'm supposed to be a Great Wizard."
"And aren't you?" she asked.
"Not a bit of it, my dear; I'm just a common man."
"You're more than that," said the Scarecrow, in a grieved tone; "you're a humbug."
"Exactly so!" declared the little man, rubbing his hands together as if it pleased him. "I am a humbug."
"But this is terrible," said the Tin Woodman. "How shall I ever get my heart?"
"Or I my courage?" asked the Lion.
"Or I my brains?" wailed the Scarecrow, wiping the tears from his eyes with his coat sleeve.
"My dear friends," said Oz, "I pray you not to speak of these little things. Think of me, and the terrible trouble I'm in at being found out."
"Doesn't anyone else know you're a humbug?" asked Dorothy.
"No one knows it but you four--and myself," replied Oz. "I have fooled everyone so long that I thought I should never be found out. It was a great mistake my ever letting you into the Throne Room. Usually I will not see even my subjects, and so they believe I am something terrible."
"But, I don't understand," said Dorothy, in bewilderment. "How was it that you appeared to me as a great Head?"
"That was one of my tricks," answered Oz. "Step this way, please, and I will tell you all about it."
He led the way to a small chamber in the rear of the Throne Room, and they all followed him. He pointed to one corner, in which lay the great Head, made out of many thicknesses of paper, and with a carefully painted face.
"This I hung from the ceiling by a wire," said Oz. "I stood behind the screen and pulled a thread, to make the eyes move and the mouth open."
"But how about the voice?" she inquired.
"Oh, I am a ventriloquist," said the little man. "I can throw the sound of my voice wherever I wish, so that you thought it was coming out of the Head. Here are the other things I used to deceive you." He showed the Scarecrow the dress and the mask he had worn when he seemed to be the lovely Lady. And the Tin Woodman saw that his terrible Beast was nothing but a lot of skins, sewn together, with slats to keep their sides out. As for the Ball of Fire, the false Wizard had hung that also from the ceiling. It was really a ball of cotton, but when oil was poured upon it the ball burned fiercely.
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|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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