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3. The Arrival Of The Wizard
The doorway of the glass palace was quite big enough for the horse and buggy to enter, so Zeb drove straight through it and the children found themselves in a lofty hall that was very beautiful. The people at once followed and formed a circle around the sides of the spacious room, leaving the horse and buggy and the man with the star to occupy the center of the hall.
"Come to us, oh, Gwig!" called the man, in a loud voice.
Instantly a cloud of smoke appeared and rolled over the floor; then it slowly spread and ascended into the dome, disclosing a strange personage seated upon a glass throne just before Jim's nose. He was formed just as were the other inhabitants of this land and his clothing only differed from theirs in being bright yellow. But he had no hair at all, and all over his bald head and face and upon the backs of his hands grew sharp thorns like those found on the branches of rose-bushes. There was even a thorn upon the tip of his nose and he looked so funny that Dorothy laughed when she saw him.
The Sorcerer, hearing the laugh, looked toward the little girl with cold, cruel eyes, and his glance made her grow sober in an instant.
"Why have you dared to intrude your unwelcome persons into the secluded Land of the Mangaboos?" he asked, sternly.
"'Cause we couldn't help it," said Dorothy.
"Why did you wickedly and viciously send the Rain of Stones to crack and break our houses?" he continued.
"We didn't," declared the girl.
"Prove it!" cried the Sorcerer.
"We don't have to prove it," answered Dorothy, indignantly. "If you had any sense at all you'd known it was the earthquake."
"We only know that yesterday came a Rain of Stones upon us, which did much damage and injured some of our people. Today came another Rain of Stones, and soon after it you appeared among us."
"By the way," said the man with the star, looking steadily at the Sorcerer, "you told us yesterday that there would not be a second Rain of Stones. Yet one has just occurred that was even worse than the first. What is your sorcery good for if it cannot tell us the truth?"
"My sorcery does tell the truth!" declared the thorn-covered man. "I said there would be but one Rain of Stones. This second one was a Rain of People-and-Horse-and-Buggy. And some stones came with them."
"Will there be any more Rains?" asked the man with the star.
"No, my Prince."
"Neither stones nor people?"
"No, my Prince."
"Are you sure?"
"Quite sure, my Prince. My sorcery tells me so."
Just then a man came running into the hall and addressed the Prince after making a low bow.
"More wonders in the air, my Lord," said he.
Immediately the Prince and all of his people flocked out of the hall into the street, that they might see what was about to happen. Dorothy and Zeb jumped out of the buggy and ran after them, but the Sorcerer remained calmly in his throne.
Far up in the air was an object that looked like a balloon. It was not so high as the glowing star of the six colored suns, but was descending slowly through the air - so slowly that at first it scarcely seemed to move.
The throng stood still and waited. It was all they could do, for to go away and leave that strange sight was impossible; nor could they hurry its fall in any way. The earth children were not noticed, being so near the average size of the Mangaboos, and the horse had remained in the House of the Sorcerer, with Eureka curled up asleep on the seat of the buggy.
Gradually the balloon grew bigger, which was proof that it was settling down upon the Land of the Mangaboos. Dorothy was surprised to find how patient the people were, for her own little heart was beating rapidly with excitement. A balloon meant to her some other arrival from the surface of the earth, and she hoped it would be some one able to assist her and Zeb out of their difficulties.
In an hour the balloon had come near enough for her to see a basket suspended below it; in two hours she could see a head looking over the side of the basket; in three hours the big balloon settled slowly into the great square in which they stood and came to rest on the glass pavement.
Then a little man jumped out of the basket, took off his tall hat, and bowed very gracefully to the crowd of Mangaboos around him. He was quite an old little man and his head was long and entirely bald.
"Why," cried Dorothy, in amazement, "it's Oz!"
The little man looked toward her and seemed as much surprised as she was. But he smiled and bowed as he answered:
"Yes, my dear; I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Eh? And you are little Dorothy, from Kansas. I remember you very well."
"Who did you say it was?" whispered Zeb to the girl.
"It's the wonderful Wizard of Oz. Haven't you heard of him?"
Just then the man with the star came and stood before the Wizard.
"Sir," said he, "why are you here, in the Land of the Mangaboos?"
"Didn't know what land it was, my son," returned the other, with a pleasant smile; "and, to be honest, I didn't mean to visit you when I started out. I live on top of the earth, your honor, which is far better than living inside it; but yesterday I went up in a balloon, and when I came down I fell into a big crack in the earth, caused by an earthquake. I had let so much gas out of my balloon that I could not rise again, and in a few minutes the earth closed over my head. So I continued to descend until I reached this place, and if you will show me a way to get out of it, I'll go with pleasure. Sorry to have troubled you; but it couldn't be helped."
The Prince had listened with attention. Said he:
"This child, who is from the crust of the earth, like yourself, called you a Wizard. Is not a Wizard something like a Sorcerer?"
"It's better," replied Oz, promptly. "One Wizard is worth three Sorcerers."
"Ah, you shall prove that," said the Prince. "We Mangaboos have, at the present time, one of the most wonderful Sorcerers that ever was picked from a bush; but he sometimes makes mistakes. Do you ever make mistakes?"
"Never!" declared the Wizard, boldly.
"Oh, Oz!" said Dorothy; "you made a lot of mistakes when you were in the marvelous Land of Oz."
"Nonsense!" said the little man, turning red - although just then a ray of violet sunlight was on his round face.
"Come with me," said the Prince to him. "I wish to meet our Sorcerer."
The Wizard did not like this invitation, but he could not refuse to accept it. So he followed the Prince into the great domed hall, and Dorothy and Zeb came after them, while the throng of people trooped in also.
There sat the thorny Sorcerer in his chair of state, and when the Wizard saw him he began to laugh, uttering comical little chuckles.
"What an absurd creature!" he exclaimed.
"He may look absurd," said the Prince, in his quiet voice; "but he is an excellent Sorcerer. The only fault I find with him is that he is so often wrong."
"I am never wrong," answered the Sorcerer.
"Only a short time ago you told me there would be no more Rain of Stones or of People," said the Prince.
"Well, what then?"
"Here is another person descended from the air to prove you were wrong."
"One person cannot be called 'people,'" said the Sorcerer. "If two should come out of the sky you might with justice say I was wrong; but unless more than this one appears I will hold that I was right."
"Very clever," said the Wizard, nodding his head as if pleased. "I am delighted to find humbugs inside the earth, just the same as on top of it. Were you ever with a circus, brother?"
"No," said the Sorcerer.
"You ought to join one," declared the little man seriously. "I belong to Bailum & Barney's Great Consolidated Shows - three rings in one tent and a menagerie on the side. It's a fine aggregation, I assure you."
"What do you do?" asked the Sorcerer.
"I go up in a balloon, usually, to draw the crowds to the circus. But I've just had the bad luck to come out of the sky, skip the solid earth, and land lower down than I intended. But never mind. It isn't everybody who gets a chance to see your Land of the Gabazoos."
"Mangaboos," said the Sorcerer, correcting him. "If you are a Wizard you ought to be able to call people by their right names."
"Oh, I'm a Wizard; you may be sure of that. Just as good a Wizard as you are a Sorcerer."
"That remains to be seen," said the other.
"If you are able to prove that you are better," said the Prince to the little man, "I will make you the Chief Wizard of this domain. Otherwise - "
"What will happen otherwise?" asked the Wizard.
"I will stop you from living and forbid you to be planted," returned the Prince.
"That does not sound especially pleasant," said the little man, looking at the one with the star uneasily. "But never mind. I'll beat Old Prickly, all right."
"My name is Gwig," said the Sorcerer, turning his heartless, cruel eyes upon his rival. "Let me see you equal the sorcery I am about to perform."
He waved a thorny hand and at once the tinkling of bells was heard, playing sweet music. Yet, look where she would, Dorothy could discover no bells at all in the great glass hall.
The Mangaboo people listened, but showed no great interest. It was one of the things Gwig usually did to prove he was a sorcerer.
Now was the Wizard's turn, so he smiled upon the assemblage and asked:
"Will somebody kindly loan me a hat?"
No one did, because the Mangaboos did not wear hats, and Zeb had lost his, somehow, in his flight through the air.
"Ahem!" said the Wizard, "will somebody please loan me a handkerchief?"
But they had no handkerchiefs, either.
"Very good," remarked the Wizard. "I'll use my own hat, if you please. Now, good people, observe me carefully. You see, there is nothing up my sleeve and nothing concealed about my person. Also, my hat is quite empty." He took off his hat and held it upside down, shaking it briskly.
"Let me see it," said the Sorcerer.
He took the hat and examined it carefully, returning it afterward to the Wizard.
"Now," said the little man, "I will create something out of nothing."
He placed the hat upon the glass floor, made a pass with his hand, and then removed the hat, displaying a little white piglet no bigger than a mouse, which began to run around here and there and to grunt and squeal in a tiny, shrill voice.
The people watched it intently, for they had never seen a pig before, big or little. The Wizard reached out, caught the wee creature in his hand, and holding its head between one thumb and finger and its tail between the other thumb and finger he pulled it apart, each of the two parts becoming a whole and separate piglet in an instant.
He placed one upon the floor, so that it could run around, and pulled apart the other, making three piglets in all; and then one of these was pulled apart, making four piglets. The Wizard continued this surprising performance until nine tiny piglets were running about at his feet, all squealing and grunting in a very comical way.
"Now," said the Wizard of Oz, "having created something from nothing, I will make something nothing again."
With this he caught up two of the piglets and pushed them together, so that the two were one. Then he caught up another piglet and pushed it into the first, where it disappeared. And so, one by one, the nine tiny piglets were pushed together until but a single one of the creatures remained. This the Wizard placed underneath his hat and made a mystic sign above it. When he removed his hat the last piglet had disappeared entirely.
The little man gave a bow to the silent throng that had watched him, and then the Prince said, in his cold, calm voice:
"You are indeed a wonderful Wizard, and your powers are greater than those of my Sorcerer."
"He will not be a wonderful Wizard long," remarked Gwig.
"Why not?" enquired the Wizard.
"Because I am going to stop your breath," was the reply. "I perceive that you are curiously constructed, and that if you cannot breathe you cannot keep alive."
The little man looked troubled.
"How long will it take you to stop my breath?" he asked.
"About five minutes. I'm going to begin now. Watch me carefully."
He began making queer signs and passes toward the Wizard; but the little man did not watch him long. Instead, he drew a leathern case from his pocket and took from it several sharp knives, which he joined together, one after another, until they made a long sword. By the time he had attached a handle to this sword he was having much trouble to breathe, as the charm of the Sorcerer was beginning to take effect.
So the Wizard lost no more time, but leaping forward he raised the sharp sword, whirled it once or twice around his head, and then gave a mighty stroke that cut the body of the Sorcerer exactly in two.
Dorothy screamed and expected to see a terrible sight; but as the two halves of the Sorcerer fell apart on the floor she saw that he had no bones or blood inside of him at all, and that the place where he was cut looked much like a sliced turnip or potato.
"Why, he's vegetable!" cried the Wizard, astonished.
"Of course," said the Prince. "We are all vegetable, in this country. Are you not vegetable, also?"
"No," answered the Wizard. "People on top of the earth are all meat. Will your Sorcerer die?"
"Certainly, sir. He is really dead now, and will wither very quickly. So we must plant him at once, that other Sorcerers may grow upon his bush," continued the Prince.
"What do you mean by that?" asked the little Wizard, greatly puzzled.
"If you will accompany me to our public gardens," replied the Prince, "I will explain to you much better than I can here the mysteries of our Vegetable Kingdom."
Turn to the next chapter: 4. The Vegetable Kingdom