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|Tik-Tok of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
Polychrome's Pitiful Plight
|Page 5 of 6||
"Now, then," said Shaggy, "wind up his phonograph."
"What's that?" she asked.
"Why, his talking-machine. His thoughts may be interesting, but they don't tell us anything."
So Betsy wound the copper man under his right arm, and then from the interior of his copper body came in jerky tones the words: "Ma-ny thanks!"
"Hurrah!" cried Shaggy, joyfully, and he slapped Tik-Tok upon the back in such a hearty manner that the copper man lost his balance and tumbled to the ground in a heap. But the clock-work that enabled him to speak had been wound up and he kept saying: "Pick-me-up! Pick-me-up! Pick-me-up!" until they had again raised him and balanced him upon his feet, when he added politely: "Ma-ny thanks!"
"He won't be self-supporting until we wind up his action," remarked Shaggy; so Betsy wound it, as tight as she could--for the key turned rather hard--and then Tik-Tok lifted his feet, marched around in a circle and ended by stopping before the group and making them all a low bow.
"How in the world did you happen to be in that well, when I left you safe in Oz?" inquired Shaggy.
"It is a long sto-ry," replied Tik-Tok, "but I'll tell it in a few words. Af-ter you had gone in search of your broth-er, Oz-ma saw you wandering in strange lands when-ev-er she looked in her mag-ic pic-ture, and she also saw your broth-er in the Nome King's cavern; so she sent me to tell you where to find your broth-er and told me to help you if I could. The Sor-cer-ess, Glin-da the Good, trans-port-ed me to this place in the wink of an eye; but here I met the Nome King him-self--old Rug-ge-do, who is called in these parts the Met-al Mon-arch. Rug-ge-do knew what I had come for, and he was so an-gry that he threw me down the well. Af-ter my works ran down I was help-less un-til you came a-long and pulled me out a-gain. Ma-ny thanks."
"This is, indeed, good news," said Shaggy. "I suspected that my brother was the prisoner of Ruggedo; but now I know it. Tell us, Tik-Tok, how shall we get to the Nome King's underground cavern?"
"The best way is to walk," said Tik-Tok. "We might crawl, or jump, or roll o-ver and o-ver until we get there; but the best way is to walk."
"I know; but which road shall we take?"
"My ma-chin-er-y is-n't made to tell that," replied Tik-Tok.
"There is more than one entrance to the underground cavern," said Polychrome; "but old Ruggedo has cleverly concealed every opening, so that earth dwellers can not intrude in his domain. If we find our way underground at all, it will be by chance."
"Then," said Betsy, "let us select any road, haphazard, and see where it leads us."
"That seems sensible," declared the Princess. "It may require a lot of time for us to find Ruggedo, but we have more time than anything else."
"If you keep me wound up," said Tik-Tok, "I will last a thou-sand years."
"Then the only question to decide is which way to go," added Shaggy, looking first at one road and then at another.
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|Tik-Tok of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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