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|Tik-Tok of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
|Page 3 of 4||
"Impossible!" he exclaimed. "The bun crop has to be picked."
"Let your wife and children do the picking," said Ann.
"But I'm a man of great importance, Your Majesty," he protested.
"For that reason you shall be one of my Generals, and wear a cocked hat with gold braid, and curl your mustaches and clank a long sword," she promised.
So he consented, although sorely against his will, and the Queen walked on to the next cottage. Here lived Jo Cone, so called because the trees in his orchard bore crops of excellent ice-cream cones.
"Jo," said Ann, "I am going to conquer the world, and you must join my Army."
"Excuse me, please," said Jo Cone. "I am a bad fighter. My good wife conquered me years ago, for she can fight better than I. Take her, Your Majesty, instead of me, and I'll bless you for the favor."
"This must be an army of men-fierce, ferocious warriors," declared Ann, looking sternly upon the mild little man.
"And you will leave my wife here in Oogaboo?" he asked.
"Yes; and make you a General."
"I'll go," said Jo Cone, and Ann went on to the cottage of Jo Clock, who had an orchard of clock-trees. This man at first insisted that he would not join the army, but Queen Ann's promise to make him a General finally won his consent.
"How many Generals are there in your army?" he asked.
"Four, so far," replied Ann.
"And how big will the army he?" was his next question.
"I intend to make every one of the eighteen men in Oogaboo join it," she said.
"Then four Generals are enough," announced Jo Clock. "I advise you to make the rest of them Colonels."
Ann tried to follow his advice. The next four men she visited--who were Jo Plum, Jo Egg, Jo Banjo and Jo Cheese, named after the trees in their orchards--she made Colonels of her Army; but the fifth one, Jo Nails, said Colonels and Generals were getting to be altogether too common in the Army of Oogaboo and he preferred to be a Major. So Jo Nails, Jo Cake, Jo Ham and Jo Stockings were all four made Majors, while the next four--Jo Sandwich, Jo Padlocks, Jo Sundae and Jo Buttons--were appointed Captains of the Army.
But now Queen Ann was in a quandary. There remained but two other men in all Oogaboo, and if she made these two Lieutenants, while there were four Captains, four Majors, four Colonels and four Generals, there was likely to be jealousy in her army, and perhaps mutiny and desertions.
One of these men, however, was Jo Candy, and he would not go at all. No promises could tempt him, nor could threats move him. He said he must remain at home to harvest his crop of jackson-balls, lemon-drops, bonbons and chocolate-creams. Also he had large fields of cracker-jack and buttered popcorn to be mowed and threshed, and he was determined not to disappoint the children of Oogaboo by going away to conquer the world and so let the candy crop spoil.
Finding Jo Candy so obstinate, Queen Ann let him have his own way and continued her journey to the house of the eighteenth and last man in Oogaboo, who was a young fellow named Jo Files. This Files had twelve trees which bore steel files of various sorts; but also he had nine book-trees, on which grew a choice selection of story-books. In case you have never seen books growing upon trees, I will explain that those in Jo Files' orchard were enclosed in broad green husks which, when fully ripe, turned to a deep red color. Then the books were picked and husked and were ready to read. If they were picked too soon, the stories were found to be confused and uninteresting and the spelling bad. However, if allowed to ripen perfectly, the stories were fine reading and the spelling and grammar excellent.
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|Tik-Tok of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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