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

The Royal Book of Oz

"Stop! Stop!" begged the Scarecrow, while Sir Hokus awkwardly patted Dorothy on the back. "I'd rather have you for my family any day. I don't care a Kinkajou for being Emperor, and as for my sons, they are unnatural villains who make my life miserable by telling me how old I am!"

"Just like a poem I once read," said Dorothy, brightening up:

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,

"And your hair has become very white,

And yet you incessantly stand on your head!

Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"That's it, that's it exactly!" exclaimed the Scarecrow as Dorothy finished repeating the verse. "'You are old, Father Scarecrow!' That's all I hear. I did stand on my head, too. And Dorothy, I can't seem to get used to being a grandparent," added the Scarecrow in a melancholy voice. "It's turning my straws gray." He plucked several from his chest and held them out to her. "Why, those little villains don't even believe in Oz! 'It's not on the map, old Grandpapapapapah!' " he mumbled, imitating the tones of his little grandsons so cleverly that Dorothy laughed in spite of herself.

"This is what becomes of pride!" The Scarecrow extended his hands expressively. "Most people who hunt up their family trees are in for a fall, and I've had mine."

"But who do you want to be?" asked the Knight gravely. "A Scarecrow in Oz— or the—er—Emperor that you were?"

"I don't care who I were!" In his excitement, the Scarecrow lost his grammar completely. "I want to be who I am. I want to be myself."

"But which one?" asked the Cowardly Lion, who was still a bit confused.

"Why, my best self, of course," said the Scarecrow with a bright smile. The sight of his old friends had quite restored his cheerfulness. "I've been here long enough to know that I am a better Scarecrow than an Emperor."

"Why, how simple it is!" sighed Dorothy contentedly. "Professor Wogglebug was all wrong. It's not what you were, but what you are—it's being yourself that counts."

"By my Halidom, the little maid is right!

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