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

The Royal Book of Oz


"Again!" choked the Cowardly Lion. "You mean still. I've been in a good many parts of Oz, but this—this is the worst."

"Not even one little dragon!" Sir Hokus shook his head mournfully. Then, seeing that Dorothy was tired and discouraged, he pretended to strum on a guitar and sang in his high-pitched voice:

A rusty Knight in steel bedite

And Lady Dot, so fair,

Sir Lion bold, with mane of gold

And might besides to spa—ha—hare!

And might beside to spare!

The dauntless three, a company

Of wit and bravery are,

Who seek the valiant Scarecrow man,

Who seek him near and fa—har—har,

Who seek him near and fa—har!

"Oh, I like that!" cried Dorothy, jumping up and giving Sir Hokus a little squeeze. "Only you should have said trusty Knight."

The Cowardly Lion shook his golden mane. "Let's do a little reconnoitering, Hokus," he said carelessly. He felt he must live up to the song somehow. "Perhaps we'll find a sign."

"I don't believe in signs anymore," laughed Dorothy, "but I'm coming too." Sir Hokus' song had cheered them all, and it wasn't the first time the Knight had helped make the best of a tiresome journey.

"The air seemeth to grow very hot," observed Sir Hokus after they had walked along silently for a time. "Hast noticed it, Sir Cowardly?"

"No, but I've swallowed some of it," coughed the Cowardly Lion, looking suspiciously through the trees.

"I'll just step forward and see what it is," said the Knight. As he disappeared, the truth dawned on Dorothy.

"Wait! Wait! Don't go! Please, please, Sir Hokus, come back, come back!" cried the little girl, running after him as fast as she could.

"What's the matter?" rumbled the Cowardly Lion, thudding behind her. Then both, coming suddenly out of the woods, gave a terrible scream, which so startled Sir Hokus that he fell over backwards. Just in time, too, for another step would have taken him straight on to the Deadly Desert, which destroys every living thing and keeps all intruders away from Oz.

"What befell?" puffed Sir Hokus, getting to his feet.

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