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|Tik-Tok of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Land of Love
|Page 1 of 4||
"Well, is 'hee-haw' all you are able to say?" inquired the Sawhorse, as he examined Hank with his knot eyes and slowly wagged the branch that served him for a tail.
They were in a beautiful stable in the rear of Ozma's palace, where the wooden Sawhorse--very much alive--lived in a gold-paneled stall, and where there were rooms for the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger, which were filled with soft cushions for them to lie upon and golden troughs for them to eat from.
Beside the stall of the Sawhorse had been placed another for Hank, the mule. This was not quite so beautiful as the other, for the Sawhorse was Ozma's favorite steed; but Hank had a supply of cushions for a bed (which the Sawhorse did not need because he never slept) and all this luxury was so strange to the little mule that he could only stand still and regard his surroundings and his queer companions with wonder and amazement.
The Cowardly Lion, looking very dignified, was stretched out upon the marble floor of the stable, eyeing Hank with a calm and critical gaze, while near by crouched the huge Hungry Tiger, who seemed equally interested in the new animal that had just arrived. The Sawhorse, standing stiffly before Hank, repeated his question
"Is 'hee-haw' all you are able to say?"
Hank moved his ears in an embarrassed manner.
"I have never said anything else, until now," he replied; and then he began to tremble with fright to hear himself talk.
"I can well understand that," remarked the Lion, wagging his great head with a swaying motion. "Strange things happen in this Land of Oz, as they do everywhere else. I believe you came here from the cold, civilized, outside world, did you not?"
"I did," replied Hank. "One minute I was outside of Oz--and the next minute I was inside! That was enough to give me a nervous shock, as you may guess; but to find myself able to talk, as Betsy does, is a marvel that staggers me."
"That is because you are in the Land of Oz," said the Sawhorse. "All animals talk, in this favored country, and you must admit it is more sociable than to bray your dreadful 'hee-haw,' which nobody can understand."
"Mules understand it very well," declared Hank.
"Oh, indeed! Then there must be other mules in your outside world," said the Tiger, yawning sleepily.
"There are a great many in America," said Hank. "Are you the only Tiger in Oz?"
"No," acknowledged the Tiger, "I have many relatives living in the Jungle Country; but I am the only Tiger living in the Emerald City."
"There are other Lions, too," said the Sawhorse; "but I am the only horse, of any description, in this favored Land."
"That is why this Land is favored," said the Tiger. "You must understand, friend Hank, that the Sawhorse puts on airs because he is shod with plates of gold, and because our beloved Ruler, Ozma of Oz, likes to ride upon his back."
"Betsy rides upon my back," declared Hank proudly.
"Who is Betsy?"
"The dearest, sweetest girl in all the world!"
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|Tik-Tok of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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