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

The Royal Book of Oz

Naturally, he knew nothing of the poisonous sands.

"You did," wheezed the Cowardly Lion in an agitated voice.

"Was it a dragon?" asked the Knight, limping toward them hopefully.

"Sit down!" The Cowardly Lion mopped his brow with his tail. "One step on that desert and it would have been one long goodnight."

"I should say it would!" shuddered Dorothy, and explained to Sir Hokus the deadly nature of the sands. "And do you know what this means?" Dorothy was nearer to tears than even I like to think about. "It means we've come in exactly the wrong direction and are farther away from the Emerald City than we were when we started."

"And seek him near and fa—hah—har," mumbled Sir Hokus with a very troubled light in his kindly blue eyes.

"And seek him near and far."

"Fah—har—har! I should say it was," said the Cowardly Lion bitterly. "But you needn't sing it."

"No, I s'pose not. Uds helmets and hauberks! I s'pose not!" The Knight lapsed into a discouraged silence, and all three sat and stared drearily at the stretch of desert before them and thought gloomily of the rough country behind.

"It's a caravan," wheezed a hoarse voice.

"I doubt that, Camy, I doubt it very much." The shrill nasal voices so startled the three travelers that they swung about in astonishment.

"Great dates and deserts!" burst out the Cowardly Lion, jumping up. And on the whole, this exclamation was entirely suitable, for ambling toward them were a long-legged camel and a wobbly-necked dromedary.

"At last! A steed!" cried the Knight, bounding to his feet.

"I doubt that." The dromedary stopped and looked at him coldly.

"Try me," said the camel amiably. "I'm more comfortable."

"I doubt that, too."

"The doubtful dromedary wept,

As o'er the desert sands he stept,

Association with the sphinx

Has made him doubtful, so he thinks!"

chortled the Knight with his head on one side.

"How did you know?" asked the Dromedary, opening his eyes wide.

"It just occurred to me," admitted Sir Hokus, clearing his throat modestly.

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