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

The Royal Book of Oz

"But how did you get here?" rumbled the Cowardly Lion, who did not like being left out of the conversation.

"I had barely left my father's castle before I met a stranger," said Sir Hokus, sitting up very straight, "who challenged me to battle. I spurred my horse forward, our lances met, and the stranger was unseated. But by my faith, 'twas no mortal Knight." Sir Hokus sighed deeply and lapsed into silence.

"What happened?" asked Dorothy curiously, for Sir Hokus seemed to have forgotten them.

"The Knight," said he with another mighty sigh, "struck the ground with his lance and cried, 'Live Wretch, for centuries in the stupidest country out of the world,' and disappeared. And here—here I am!" With a despairing gesture, Sir Hokus arose, big tears splashing down his armor.

"I feel that I am brave, very brave, but how am I to know until I have encountered danger? Ah, friends, behold in me a Knight who has never had a real adventure, never killed a dragon, nor championed a Lady, nor gone on a Quest!"

Dropping on his knees before the little girl, Sir Hokus took her hand. "Let me go with you on this Quest for the valiant Scarecrow. Let me be your good Night!" he begged eagerly.

"Good night," coughed the Cowardly Lion, who, to tell the truth, was feeling a bit jealous. But Dorothy was thrilled, and as Sir Hokus continued to look at her pleadingly, she took off her hair ribbon and bound it 'round his arm.

"You shall be my own true Knight, and I your Lady Fair!" she announced solemnly, and exactly as she had read in books.

At this interesting juncture the Cowardly Lion gave a tremendous yawn, and Sir Hokus with an exclamation of alarm jumped to his feet. The Pokes had returned to the hall, and Dorothy felt herself falling asleep again.

Up, up, my lieges and away!

We take the field again—

For Ladies fair we fight today

And KING! Up, up, my merry men!

shrilled the Knight as if he were leading an army to battle. The Pokes opened both eyes, but did not immediately retire.

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