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The Royal Book of Oz

" chorused the Princes, bending over as far as they could.

"Wait!" said the Scarecrow hastily, "I'll tell you a story. Once upon a time, to a beautiful country called Oz, which is surrounded on all sides by a deadly desert, there came a little girl named Dorothy. A terrible gale— Well, what's the matter now?" The Scarecrow stopped short, for the oldest Prince had jerked a book out of his sleeve and was flipping over the pages industriously.

"It is not on the map, great Grand papapapah," he announced solemnly, and all of the other little Princes shook their heads and said dully, "Not on the map."

"Not on the map—Oz? Of course it's not. Do you suppose we want all the humans in creation coming there?" Calming down, the Scarecrow tried to continue his story, but every time he mentioned Oz, the little Princes shook their heads stubbornly and whispered, "Not on the map," till the usually good-tempered Scarecrow flew into perfect passion.

"Not on the map, you little villains!" he screamed, forgetting they were his grandsons. "What difference does that make? Are your heads solid silver?"

"We do not believe in Oz," announced the oldest Prince serenely. "There is no such place."

"No such place as Oz—Happy, do you hear that?" The Scarecrow's voice fairly crackled with indignation. "Why, I thought everybody believed in Oz!"

"Perhaps your Highness can convince them later," suggested the Imperial Punster. "This way, offspring." His Master, he felt, had had enough family for one day. So the fifteen little Princes, with fifteen stiff little bows, took themselves back to the royal nursery. As for the Scarecrow, he paced disconsolately up and down his magnificent throne room, tripping over his kimona at every other step.

"You're a good boy, Tappy," said the Scarecrow as Happy returned, "but I tell you being a grandparent is not what I thought it would be. Did you hear them tell me right to my face they did not believe in Oz? And my sons—ugh!"

"Fault of their bringing up," said Happy Toko comfortingly.

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