Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the South Seas, etc.
From the Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz Comic Page series
Originally published October 2, 1904
No doubt every child that has followed the adventures in the United States of the living Scarecrow and the other queer people from the Land of Oz has been struck by the singular fact that everything here seems as wonderful to them as they themselves are wonderful to us. In their own fairyland they accomplish things by simple magic which we have to accomplish by complicated mechanical inventions. It is not a strange thing to them to bring a wooden Saw-Horse to life by means of a magic powder; but an automobile (which is even more wonderful than a living Saw-Horse) filled their simple minds with wonder. On the contrary, the Gump--a carelessly made creature at best--could fly much better than any of our recently invented and carefully planned flying-machines. But the latter astonished the Ozites because, not being alive, they could do so much by means of machinery alone. So perhaps the United States is, after all, as great a fairyland as the kingdom of Oz, if we look at the matter in the right way.
These strangers in our country are learning something new every day, and undergoing adventures that, while perhaps rather tame had they happened to any one of us, are very exciting to the Scarecrow and his comrades.
It was only the other day that they took a long ride in the Gump, which carried them so swiftly away from the scenes of their previous exploits that presently a vast prairie spread beneath them, and had they been better posted in our geography they might have known they had reached the great State of Kansas.
"Let us alight here," said the Woggle-Bug.
"Would it not be better to see what lies beyond the prairie?" asked the Scarecrow.
"Perhaps; but I'd like to see what an American farm is like," replied the Insect.
"So would I," added Jack Pumpkinhead. "If they grow pumpkins here I might get a new head. It strikes me that this one is not so fresh as it might be."
"But it's alive, which a new one would not be," remarked the Tin Woodman, "and I can imagine a no more disagreeable feeling than to have a lifeless head upon a live body."
"Nevertheless," said the Woggle-Bug, "our friend Jack may well be interested in his own species. I, who have much more excuse for being alive than any of you--since I was born living--can sympathize with poor Jack. The seeds of discontent are in his brain. Let me alight and prove to him how much better off he is than all other pumpkins."
So, the Scarecrow consenting, they ordered the Gump to settle down slowly upon the prairie, which the creature did, coming to a halt at a spot near to a comfortable looking farm-house. A man who was reaping in a field gazed upon the strange Gump with amazement; a woman who was hanging out clothes in the yard was so frightened that she dropped everything and rushed for the cyclone-cellar; and a little girl, followed by a black, curly dog, stood in the door of the house and shaded her eyes with her hand as she looked earnestly at the fluttering palm-leaf wings of the Gump. The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman decided to remain aboard, so Jack climbed over the side of the sofa that formed the body of the Gump and stood upon the ground. But the dog, now barking fiercely, rushed across from the house and began to bite the wooden legs of the Pumpkinhead.
"Call him off!" exclaimed Jack, who was trying to help the Saw-Horse out of the Gump.
"I can't, for I don't know what to call him," replied the Woggle-Bug, getting down and standing beside Jack. The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, being in deep conversation regarding a cloud that floated above them, did not see the little dog, which, finding he could not bite Jack's wooden legs, flew furiously at the Woggle-Bug. The Insect might have been severely bitten had he not used two of his four arms to hold the dog at a safe distance, while with the other two he helped the Saw-Horse to the ground.
Now, it is a well-known fact that dogs--and little dogs, especially--think it is their duty to bark at anything strange or unusual; so it is no wonder that when the dog saw the Saw-Horse he made a dash at it with so much energy that it appeared to be his ambition to tear the wooden steed to pieces. And the Saw-Horse, not being pleased at the attack, kicked with both his hind legs just as the dog sprang at him. So up into the air flew the dog, howling as he went, and then the Tin Woodman, who was still looking at the cloud in the sky, saw a black ball descending through the air straight in his direction. He cleverly caught the little creature in his tin arms, and the dog, more astonished than hurt by the Saw-Horse's kick, now found himself staring into the painted face of the Scarecrow. At once the dog seemed to recognize the Scarecrow, for he barked and wiggled around in the Tin Woodman's arms with every expression of delight, and licked the stuffed features of the Scarecrow with manifestations of extreme joy.
"Why, Toto--my dear little Toto!" cried the Scarecrow, "where did you come from, and where is your mistress?"
The dog, of course, made no reply, but the little girl at this moment ran toward them crying: "My dear old friends! How glad I am to see you!"
"Dorothy!" shouted the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, together.
But there was no time then for more words, for the little dog sprang from the Gump to greet his mistress, thereby tripping up the Woggle-Bug, who fell across the Saw-Horse and so frightened that animal that he bucked and threw both the Insect and Jack to the ground in a heap. Their jumbled bodies made a convenient stepping-stone for the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, who both left the Gump to meet and embrace the little girl in the most friendly and even affectionate manner.
As Jack disentangled himself from the heap he asked: "Who are these people?" And the Scarecrow replied: "Dorothy and Toto once visited us in the Land of Oz, and we were great chums there. But her home is here in Kansas, where the wheat fields grow."
"Oh!" responded Jack, adjusting his head, which had become turned to one side in his fall, "is that stuff wheat, that the farmer is cutting out there?"
"No, indeed," said the Woggle-Bug, who was anxious to air his wisdom. And he told the Pumpkinhead what kind of grain it was.
[What Did The Woggle-Bug Say?
THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 5, 1917.
The Forgetful Poet is still at the seashore and his verses are as comical as usual:
I went a fishing yesterday--
They told me it was sport.
Next time I'll choose a pastime
Of a very different ____!
Going out I felt delighted
And prepared myself to spend
A charming day, but, oh, I say!
That soon came to an ____!
We anchored in the sun and then
The boat began to sway
And I began to realize
How I should spend the ____.
I begged them to turn back again.
"What? Spoil our fishing--never!"
And then they made some crude remarks
Which they considered ____!
Each minute seemed a hundred years,
My watch ne'er went so slow;
I got a fishhook in my thumb--
Ne'er more to fish I'll ____.
Copyright © 2001 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.