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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Frank Baum > Fairy tale "The Royal Book of Oz"

The Royal Book of Oz

It was all he could do to keep hold of the bean pole, so swiftly was he falling.

"A good thing I'm not made of meat like little Dorothy," he wheezed breathlessly. His gloves were getting worn through from friction with the pole, and the rush of air past his ears was so confusing that he gave up all idea of thinking. Even magic brains refuse to work under such conditions. Down —down—down he plunged till he lost all count of time. Down—down—down—hours and hours! Would he never stop? Then suddenly it grew quite light, and he flashed through what appeared to be a hole in the roof of a huge silver palace, whirled down several stories and landed in a heap on the floor of a great hall. In one hand he clutched a small fan, and in the other a parasol that had snapped off the beanstalk just before he reached the palace roof.

Shaken and bent over double though he was, the Scarecrow could see that he had fallen into a company of great magnificence. He had a confused glimpse of silken clad courtiers, embroidered screens, inlaid floors, and flashing silver lanterns, when there was a thundering bang that hurled him halfway to the roof again. Falling to a sitting position and still clinging to the bean pole, he saw two giant kettle drums nearby, still vibrating from the terrible blows they had received.

The company were staring at him solemnly, and as he attempted to rise, they fell prostrate on their faces. Up flew the poor flimsy Scarecrow again, such was the draught, and this time landed on his face. He was beginning to feel terribly annoyed, but before he could open his mouth or stand up, a deep voice boomed:

"He has come!"

"He has come!" shrilled the rest of the company, thumping their heads on the stone floor. The language seemed strange to the Scarecrow, but oddly enough, he could understand it perfectly. Keeping a tight grasp on the bean pole, he gazed at the prostrate assemblage, too astonished to speak. They looked exactly like the pictures of some Chinamen he had seen in one of Dorothy's picture books back in Oz, but instead of being yellow, their skin was a curious gray, and the hair of old and young alike was silver and worn in long, stiff queues.

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