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Ozma, her arms encircling the waists of Dorothy
and Betsy, who stood on either side of her. Ozma
was nearly half a head taller than the two other
girls, who were almost of one size. Unobserved,
they had listened to the talk of the animals,
which was a very strange experience indeed to
little Betsy Bobbin.
"You foolish beasts!" exclaimed the Ruler of Oz,
in a gentle but chiding voice. "Why should you
fight to defend us, who are all three loving
friends and in no sense rivals? Answer me!" she
continued, as they bowed their heads sheepishly.
"I have the right to express my opinion, your
Highness," pleaded the Lion.
"And so have the others," replied Ozma. "I am
glad you and the Hungry Tiger love Dorothy best,
for she was your first friend and companion. Also
I am pleased that my Sawhorse loves me best, for
together we have endured both joy and sorrow. Hank
has proved his faith and loyalty by defending his
own little mistress; and so you are all right in
one way, but wrong in another. Our Land of Oz is a
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Land of Love, and here friendship outranks every
other quality. Unless you can all be friends, you
cannot retain our love."
They accepted this rebuke very meekly.
"All right," said the Sawhorse, quite
cheerfully; "shake hoofs, friend Mule."
Hank touched his hoof to that of the wooden
horse.
"Let us be friends and rub noses," said the
Tiger. So Hank modestly rubbed noses with the big
beast.
The Lion merely nodded and said, as he crouched
before the mule:
"Any friend of a friend of our beloved Ruler is
a friend of the Cowardly Lion. That seems to cover
your case. If ever you need help or advice, friend
Hank, call on me.
"Why, this is as it should be," said Ozma,
highly pleased to see them so fully reconciled.
Then she turned to her companions: "Come, my
dears, let us resume our walk."
As they turned away Betsy said wonderingly:
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"Do all the animals in Oz talk as we do?
"Almost all," answered Dorothy. "There's a
Yellow Hen here, and she can talk, and so can her
chickens; and there's a Pink Kitten upstairs in my
room who talks very nicely; but I've a little
fuzzy black dog, named Toto, who has been with me
in Oz a long time, and he's never said a single
word but 'Bow-wow!'"
"Do you know why?" asked Ozma.
"Why, he's a Kansas dog; so I s'pose he's
different from these fairy animals," replied
Dorothy.
"Hank isn't a fairy animal, any more than Toto,"
said Ozma, "yet as soon as he came under the spell
of our fairyland he found he could talk. It was
the same way with Billina, the Yellow Hen whom you
brought here at one time. The same spell has
affected Toto, I assure you; but he's a wise
little dog and while he knows everything that is
said to him he prefers not to talk."
"Goodness me!" exclaimed Dorothy. "I never
s'pected Toto was fooling me all this time." Then
she drew a small silver whistle from her pocket
and blew a shrill note upon it. A moment later
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there was a sound of scurrying foot-steps, and a
shaggy black dog came running up the path
Dorothy knelt down before him and shaking her
finger just above his nose she said:
"Toto, haven't I always been good to you?"
Toto looked up at her with his bright black eyes
and wagged his tail.
"Bow-wow!" he said, and Betsy knew at once that
meant yes, as well as Dorothy and Ozma knew it,
for there was no mistaking the tone of Toto's
voice.
"That's a dog answer," said Dorothy. "How would
you like it, Toto, if I said nothing to you but
'bow-wow'?"
Toto's tail was wagging furiously now, but
otherwise he was silent.
"Really, Dorothy," said Betsy, "he can talk with
his bark and his tail just as well as we can.
Don't you understand such dog language?"
"Of course I do," replied Dorothy. "But Toto's
got to be more sociable. See here, sir!" she
continued, addressing the dog, "I've just learned,
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for the first time, that you can say words--if you
want to. Don't you want to, Toto?" [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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