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|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
9. The Queen of the Field Mice
|Page 2 of 3||
At this the Queen of the Mice stuck her head out from underneath a clump of grass and asked, in a timid voice, "Are you sure he will not bite us?"
"I will not let him," said the Woodman; "so do not be afraid."
One by one the mice came creeping back, and Toto did not bark again, although he tried to get out of the Woodman's arms, and would have bitten him had he not known very well he was made of tin. Finally one of the biggest mice spoke.
"Is there anything we can do," it asked, "to repay you for saving the life of our Queen?"
"Nothing that I know of," answered the Woodman; but the Scarecrow, who had been trying to think, but could not because his head was stuffed with straw, said, quickly, "Oh, yes; you can save our friend, the Cowardly Lion, who is asleep in the poppy bed."
"A Lion!" cried the little Queen. "Why, he would eat us all up."
"Oh, no," declared the Scarecrow; "this Lion is a coward."
"Really?" asked the Mouse.
"He says so himself," answered the Scarecrow, "and he would never hurt anyone who is our friend. If you will help us to save him I promise that he shall treat you all with kindness."
"Very well," said the Queen, "we trust you. But what shall we do?"
"Are there many of these mice which call you Queen and are willing to obey you?"
"Oh, yes; there are thousands," she replied.
"Then send for them all to come here as soon as possible, and let each one bring a long piece of string."
The Queen turned to the mice that attended her and told them to go at once and get all her people. As soon as they heard her orders they ran away in every direction as fast as possible.
"Now," said the Scarecrow to the Tin Woodman, "you must go to those trees by the riverside and make a truck that will carry the Lion."
So the Woodman went at once to the trees and began to work; and he soon made a truck out of the limbs of trees, from which he chopped away all the leaves and branches. He fastened it together with wooden pegs and made the four wheels out of short pieces of a big tree trunk. So fast and so well did he work that by the time the mice began to arrive the truck was all ready for them.
They came from all directions, and there were thousands of them: big mice and little mice and middle-sized mice; and each one brought a piece of string in his mouth. It was about this time that Dorothy woke from her long sleep and opened her eyes. She was greatly astonished to find herself lying upon the grass, with thousands of mice standing around and looking at her timidly. But the Scarecrow told her about everything, and turning to the dignified little Mouse, he said:
"Permit me to introduce to you her Majesty, the Queen."
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|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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