L. Frank Baum
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CALLING ON JACK PUMPKINHEAD See Chapter 16
AUTHOR OF THE LAND OF OZ, OZMA OF OZ, DOROTHYAND THE WIZARD IN OZ, ETC.
THE REILLY & BRITTON CO.
o my readers: Well, my dears, here is what you have asked for: another "Oz Book" about Dorothy's strange adventures. Toto is in this story, because you wanted him to be there, and many other characters which you will recognize are in the story, too. Indeed, the wishes of my little correspondents have been considered as carefully as possible, and if the story is not exactly as you would have written it yourselves, you must remember that a story has to be a story before it can be written down, and the writer cannot change it much without spoiling it.
In the preface to "Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz" I said I would like to write some stories that were not "Oz" stories, because I thought I had written about Oz long enough; but since that volume was published I have been fairly deluged with letters from children imploring me to "write more about Dorothy," and "more about Oz," and since I write only to please the children I shall try to respect their wishes.
There are some new characters in this book that ought to win your love. I'm very fond of the shaggy man myself, and I think you will like him, too. As for Polychrome—the Rainbow's Daughter—and stupid little Button-Bright, they seem to have brought a new element of fun into these Oz stories, and I am glad I discovered them. Yet I am anxious to have you write and tell me how you like them.
Since this book was written I have received some very remarkable news from The Land of Oz, which has greatly astonished me. I believe it will astonish you, too, my dears, when you hear it. But it is such a long and exciting story that it must be saved for another book—and perhaps that book will be the last story that will ever be told about the Land of Oz.
L Frank Baum.
"PLEASE, miss," said the shaggy man, "can you tell me the road to Butterfield?"
Dorothy looked him over. Yes, he was shaggy, all right; but there was a twinkle in his eye that seemed pleasant.
"Oh, yes," she replied; "I can tell you. But it isn't this road at all."
"You cross the ten-acre lot, follow the lane to the highway, go north to the five branches, and take—let me see—"
"To be sure, miss; see as far as Butterfield, if you like," said the shaggy man.
"You take the branch next the willow stump, I b'lieve; or else the branch by the gopher holes; or else——"
"Won't any of 'em do, miss?"
"'Course not, Shaggy Man. You must take the right road to get to Butterfield."
"And is that the one by the gopher stump, or——"
"Dear me!" cried Dorothy; "I shall have to show you the way; you're so stupid. Wait a minute till I run in the house and get my sunbonnet."
The shaggy man waited. He had an oat-straw in his mouth, which he chewed slowly as if it tasted good; but it didn't. There was an apple-tree beside the house, and some apples had fallen to the ground. The shaggy man thought they would taste better than the oat-straw, so he walked over to get some. A little black dog with bright brown eyes dashed out of the farm-house and ran madly toward the shaggy man, who had already picked up three apples and put them in one of the big wide pockets of his shaggy coat. The little dog barked, and made a dive for the shaggy man's leg; but he grabbed the dog by the neck and put it in his big pocket along with the apples. He took more apples, afterward, for many were on the ground; and each one that he tossed into his pocket hit the little dog somewhere upon the head or back, and made him growl. The little dog's name was Toto, and he was sorry he had been put in the shaggy man's pocket.
Pretty soon Dorothy came out of the house with her sunbonnet, and she called out:
"Come on, Shaggy Man, if you want me to show you the road to Butterfield." She climbed the fence into the ten-acre lot and he followed her, walking slowly and stumbling over the little hillocks in the pasture as if he was thinking of something else and did not notice them.
"My, but you're clumsy!" said the little girl. "Are your feet tired?"
"No, miss; it's my whiskers; they tire very easily this warm weather," said he. "I wish it would snow; don't you?"
"'Course not, Shaggy Man," replied Dorothy, giving him a severe look. "If it snowed in August it would spoil the corn and the oats and the wheat; and then Uncle Henry wouldn't have any crops; and that would make him poor; and——"
"Never mind," said the shaggy man. "It won't snow, I guess. Is this the lane?"
"Yes," replied Dorothy, climbing another fence; "I'll go as far as the highway with you."
"Thankee, miss; you're very kind for your size, I'm sure," said he gratefully.
"It isn't everyone who knows the road to Butterfield," Dorothy remarked as she tripped along the lane; "but I've driven there many a time with Uncle Henry, and so I b'lieve I could find it blindfolded."
"Don't do that, miss," said the shaggy man, earnestly; "you might make a mistake."
"I won't," she answered, laughing. "Here's the highway. Now, it's the second—no, the third turn to the left—or else it's the fourth. Let's see. The first one is by the elm tree; and the second is by the gopher holes; and then——"
"Then what?" he inquired, putting his hands in his coat pockets. Toto grabbed a finger and bit it; the shaggy man took his hand out of that pocket quickly, and said "Oh!"
Dorothy did not notice. She was shading her eyes from the sun with her arm, looking anxiously down the road.
"Come on," she commanded. "It's only a little way farther, so I may as well show you."
After a while they came to the place where five roads branched in different directions; Dorothy pointed to one, and said:
"That's it, Shaggy Man."
"I'm much obliged, miss," he said, and started along another road.
"Not that one!" she cried; "you're going wrong."
"I thought you said that other was the road to Butterfield," said he, running his fingers through his shaggy whiskers in a puzzled way.
"So it is."
"But I don't want to go to Butterfield, miss."
"Of course not. I wanted you to show me the road, so I shouldn't go there by mistake."
"Oh! Where do you want to go to, then?"
"I'm not particular, miss."
This answer astonished the little girl; and it made her provoked, too, to think she had taken all this trouble for nothing.
"There are a good many roads here," observed the shaggy man, turning slowly around, like a human windmill.
"Seems to me a person could go 'most anywhere, from this place."
Dorothy turned around too, and gazed in surprise. There were a good many roads; more than she had ever seen before. She tried to count them, knowing there ought to be five; but when she had counted seventeen she grew bewildered and stopped, for the roads were as many as the spokes of a wheel and ran in every direction from the place where they stood; so if she kept on counting she was likely to count some of the roads twice.
"Dear me!" she exclaimed. "There used to be only five roads, highway and all. And now—why, where's the highway, Shaggy Man?"
"Can't say, miss," he responded, sitting down upon the ground as if tired with standing. "Wasn't it here a minute ago?"
"I thought so," she answered, greatly perplexed. "And I saw the gopher holes, too, and the dead stump; but they're not here now. These roads are all strange—and what a lot of them there are! Where do you suppose they all go to?"
"Roads," observed the shaggy man, "don't go anywhere. They stay in one place, so folks can walk on them."
He put his hand in his side-pocket and drew out an apple—quick, before Toto could bite him again. The little dog got his head out this time and said "Bow-wow!" so loudly that it made Dorothy jump.
"O Toto!" she cried; "where did you come from?"
"I brought him along," said the shaggy man.
"What for?" she asked.
"To guard these apples in my pocket, miss, so no one would steal them."
With one hand the shaggy man held the apple, which he began eating, while with the other hand he pulled Toto out of his pocket and dropped him to the ground. Of course Toto made for Dorothy at once, barking joyfully at his release from the dark pocket. When the child had patted his head lovingly, he sat down before her, his red tongue hanging out one side of his mouth, and looked up into her face with his bright brown eyes, as if asking her what they should do next.
Dorothy didn't know. She looked around her anxiously for some familiar landmark; but everything was strange. Between the branches of the many roads were green meadows and a few shrubs and trees, but she couldn't see anywhere the farm-house from which she had just come, or anything she had ever seen before—except the shaggy man and Toto.
Besides this, she had turned around and around so many times, trying to find out where she was, that now she couldn't even tell which direction the farm-house ought to be in; and this began to worry her and make her feel anxious.
"I'm 'fraid, Shaggy Man," she said, with a sigh, "that we're lost!"
"That's nothing to be afraid of," he replied, throwing away the core of his apple and beginning to eat another one. "Each of these roads must lead somewhere, or it wouldn't be here. So what does it matter?"
"I want to go home again," she said.
"Well, why don't you?" said he.
"I don't know which road to take."
"That is too bad," he said, shaking his shaggy head gravely. "I wish I could help you; but I can't. I'm a stranger in these parts."
"Seems as if I were, too," she said, sitting down beside him. "It's funny. A few minutes ago I was home, and I just came to show you the way to Butterfield——"
"So I shouldn't make a mistake and go there——"
"And now I'm lost myself and don't now how to get home!"
"Have an apple," suggested the shaggy man, handing her one with pretty red cheeks.
"I'm not hungry," said Dorothy, pushing it away.
"But you may be, to-morrow; then you'll be sorry you didn't eat the apple," said he.
"If I am, I'll eat the apple then," promised Dorothy.
"Perhaps there won't be any apple then," he returned, beginning to eat the red-cheeked one himself. "Dogs sometimes can find their way home better than people," he went on; "perhaps your dog can lead you back to the farm."
"Will you, Toto?" asked Dorothy.
Toto wagged his tail vigorously.
"All right," said the girl; "let's go home."
Toto looked around a minute, and dashed up one of the roads.
"Good-bye, Shaggy Man," called Dorothy, and ran after Toto. The little dog pranced briskly along for some distance; when he turned around and looked at his mistress questioningly.
"Oh, don't 'spect me to tell you anything; I don't know the way," she said. "You'll have to find it yourself."
But Toto couldn't. He wagged his tail, and sneezed, and shook his ears, and trotted back where they had left the shaggy man. From here he started along another road; then came back and tried another; but each time he found the way strange and decided it would not take them to the farm house. Finally, when Dorothy had begun to tire with chasing after him, Toto sat down panting beside the shaggy man and gave up.
Dorothy sat down, too, very thoughtful. The little girl had encountered some queer adventures since she came to live at the farm; but this was the queerest of them all. To get lost in fifteen minutes, so near to her home and in the unromantic State of Kansas, was an experience that fairly bewildered her.
"Will your folks worry?" asked the shaggy man, his eyes twinkling in a pleasant way.
"I s'pose so," answered Dorothy, with a sigh. "Uncle Henry says there's always something happening to me; but I've always come home safe at the last. So perhaps he'll take comfort and think I'll come home safe this time."
"I'm sure you will," said the shaggy man, smilingly nodding at her. "Good little girls never come to any harm, you know. For my part, I'm good, too; so nothing ever hurts me."
Dorothy looked at him curiously. His clothes were shaggy, his boots were shaggy and full of holes, and his hair and whiskers were shaggy. But his smile was sweet and his eyes were kind.
"Why didn't you want to go to Butterfield?" she asked.
"Because a man lives there who owes me fifteen cents, and if I went to Butterfield and he saw me he'd want to pay me the money. I don't want money, my dear."
"Why not?" she inquired.
"Money," declared the shaggy man, "makes people proud and haughty; I don't want to be proud and haughty. All I want is to have people love me; and as long as I own the Love Magnet everyone I meet is sure to love me dearly."
"THIS, MY DEAR, IS THE WONDERFUL LOVE MAGNET."
"The Love Magnet! Why, what's that?"
"I'll show you, if you won't tell anyone," he answered, in a low, mysterious voice.
"There isn't any one to tell, 'cept Toto," said the girl.
The shaggy man searched in one pocket, carefully; and in another pocket; and in a third. At last he drew out a small parcel wrapped in crumpled paper and tied with a cotton string. He unwound the string, opened the parcel, and took out a bit of metal shaped like a horseshoe. It was dull and brown, and not very pretty.
"This, my dear," said he, impressively, "is the wonderful Love Magnet. It was given me by an Eskimo in the Sandwich Islands—where there are no sandwiches at all—and as long as I carry it every living thing I meet will love me dearly."
"Why didn't the Eskimo keep it?" she asked, looking at the Magnet with interest.
"He got tired being loved and longed for some one to hate him. So he gave me the Magnet and the very next day a grizzly bear ate him."
"Wasn't he sorry then?" she inquired.
"He didn't say," replied the shaggy man, wrapping and tying the Love Magnet with great care and putting it away in another pocket. "But the bear didn't seem sorry a bit," he added.
"Did you know the bear?" asked Dorothy.
"Yes; we used to play ball together in the Caviar Islands. The bear loved me because I had the Love Magnet. I couldn't blame him for eating the Eskimo, because it was his nature to do so."
"Once," said Dorothy, "I knew a Hungry Tiger who longed to eat fat babies, because it was his nature to; but he never ate any because he had a Conscience."
"This bear," replied the shaggy man, with a sigh, "had no Conscience, you see."
The shaggy man sat silent for several minutes, apparently considering the cases of the bear and the tiger, while Toto watched him with an air of great interest. The little dog was doubtless thinking of his ride in the shaggy man's pocket and planning to keep out of reach in the future.
At last the shaggy man turned and inquired, "What's your name, little girl?"
"My name's Dorothy," said she, jumping up again, "but what are we going to do? We can't stay here forever, you know."
"Let's take the seventh road," he suggested. "Seven is a lucky number for little girls named Dorothy."
"The seventh from where?"
"From where you begin to count."
So she counted seven roads, and the seventh looked just like all the others; but the shaggy man got up from the ground where he had been sitting and started down this road as if sure it was the best way to go; and Dorothy and Toto followed him.
THE seventh road was a good road, and curved this way and that—winding through green meadows and fields covered with daisies and buttercups and past groups of shady trees. There were no houses of any sort to be seen, and for some distance they met with no living creature at all.
Dorothy began to fear they were getting a good way from the farm-house, since here everything was strange to her; but it would do no good at all to go back where the other roads all met, because the next one they chose might lead her just as far from home.
She kept on beside the shaggy man, who whistled cheerful tunes to beguile the journey, until by-and-by they followed a turn in the road and saw before them a big chestnut tree making a shady spot over the highway. In the shade sat a little boy dressed in sailor clothes, who was digging a hole in the earth with a bit of wood. He must have been digging some time, because the hole was already big enough to drop a foot-ball into.
Dorothy and Toto and the shaggy man came to a halt before the little boy, who kept on digging in a sober and persistent fashion.
"Who are you?" asked the girl.
He looked up at her calmly. His face was round and chubby and his eyes were big, blue, and earnest.
"I'm Button-Bright," said he.
"But what's you real name?" she inquired.
"That isn't a really-truly name!" she exclaimed.
"Isn't it?" he asked, still digging.
"'Course not. It's just a—a thing to call you by. You must have a name."
"To be sure. What does your mamma call you?"
He paused in his digging and tried to think.
"Papa always said I was bright as a button; so mamma always called me Button-Bright," he said.
"What is your papa's name?"
"Never mind," said the shaggy man, smiling. "We'll call the boy Button-Bright, as his mamma does. That name is as good as any, and better than some."
Dorothy watched the boy dig.
"Where do you live?" she asked.
"Don't know," was the reply.
"How did you come here?"
"Don't know," he said again.
"Don't you know where you came from?"
"No," said he.
"Why, he must be lost," she said to the shaggy man. She turned to the boy once more.
"What are you going to do?" she inquired.
"Dig," said he.
"But you can't dig forever; and what are you going to do then?" she persisted.
"Don't know," said the boy.
"But you must know something," declared Dorothy, getting provoked.
"Must I?" he asked, looking up in surprise.
"Of course you must."
"What must I know?"
"What's going to become of you, for one thing," she answered.
"Do you know what's going to become of me?" he asked.
"Not—not 'zactly," she admitted.
"Do you know what's going to become of you?" he continued, earnestly.
"I can't say I do," replied Dorothy, remembering her present difficulties.
The shaggy man laughed.
"No one knows everything, Dorothy," he said.
"But Button-Bright doesn't seem to know anything," she declared. "Do you, Button-Bright?"
He shook his head, which had pretty curls all over it, and replied with perfect calmness:
Never before had Dorothy met with any one who could give her so little information. The boy was evidently lost, and his people would be sure to worry about him. He seemed two or three years younger than Dorothy, and was prettily dressed, as if some one loved him dearly and took much pains to make him look well. How, then, did he come to be in this lonely road? she wondered.
Near Button-Bright, on the ground, lay a sailor hat with a gilt anchor on the band. His sailor trousers were long and wide at the bottom, and the broad collar of his blouse had gold anchors sewed on its corners. The boy was still digging at his hole.
"Have you ever been to sea?" asked Dorothy.
"To see what?" answered Button-Bright.
"I mean have you ever been where there's water?"
"Yes," said Button-Bright; "there's a well in our back yard."
"You don't understand," cried Dorothy. "I mean, have you ever been on a big ship floating on a big ocean?"
"Don't know," said he.
"Then why do you wear sailor clothes?"
"Don't know," he answered, again.
Dorothy was in despair.
"You're just awful stupid, Button-Bright," she said.
"Am I?" he asked.
"Yes, you are."
"Why?" looking up at her with big eyes.
She was going to say: "Don't know," but stopped herself in time.
"That's for you to answer," she replied.
"It's no use asking Button-Bright questions," said the shaggy man, who had been eating another apple; "but some one ought to take care of the poor little chap, don't you think? So he'd better come along with us."
Toto had been looking with great curiosity into the hole which the boy was digging, and growing more and more excited every minute, perhaps thinking that Button-Bright was after some wild animal. The little dog began barking loudly and jumped into the hole himself, where he began to dig with his tiny paws, making the earth fly in all directions. It spattered over the boy. Dorothy seized him and raised him to his feet, brushing his clothes with her hand.
"Stop that, Toto!" she called. "There aren't any mice or woodchucks in that hole, so don't be foolish."
Toto stopped, sniffed at the hole suspiciously, and jumped out of it, wagging his tail as if he had done something important.
"Well," said the shaggy man, "let's start on, or we won't get anywhere before night comes."
"Where do you expect to get to?" asked Dorothy.
"I'm like Button-Bright; I don't know," answered the shaggy man, with a laugh. "But I've learned from long experience that every road leads somewhere, or there wouldn't be any road; so it's likely that if we travel long enough, my dear, we will come to some place or another in the end. What place it will be we can't even guess at this moment, but we're sure to find out when we get there."
"Why, yes," said Dorothy; "that seems reas'n'ble, Shaggy Man."
BUTTON-BRIGHT took the shaggy man's hand willingly; for the shaggy man had the Love Magnet, you know, which was the reason Button-Bright had loved him at once. They started on, with Dorothy on one side, and Toto on the other, the little party trudging along more cheerfully than you might have supposed. The girl was getting used to queer adventures, which interested her very much. Wherever Dorothy went Toto was sure to go, like Mary's little lamb. Button-Bright didn't seem a bit afraid or worried because he was lost, and the shaggy man had no home, perhaps, and was as happy in one place as in another.
Before long they saw ahead of them a fine big arch spanning the road, and when they came nearer they found that the arch was beautifully carved and decorated with rich colors. A row of peacocks with spread tails ran along the top of it, and all the feathers were gorgeously painted. In the center was a large fox's head, and the fox wore a shrewd and knowing expression and had large spectacles over its eyes and a small golden crown with shiny points on top of its head.
While the travellers were looking with curiosity at this beautiful arch there suddenly marched out of it a company of soldiers—only the soldiers were all foxes dressed in uniforms. They wore green jackets and yellow pantaloons, and their little round caps and their high boots were a bright red color. Also there was a big red bow tied about the middle of each long, bushy tail. Each soldier was armed with a wooden sword having an edge of sharp teeth set in a row, and the sight of these teeth at first caused Dorothy to shudder.
A captain marched in front of the company of fox-soldiers, his uniform embroidered with gold braid to make it handsomer than the others.
Almost before our friends realized it the soldiers had surrounded them on all sides, and the captain was calling out in a harsh voice:
"Surrender! You are our prisoners."
"What's a pris'ner?" asked Button-Bright.
"A prisoner is a captive," replied the fox-captain, strutting up and down with much dignity.
"What's a captive?" asked Button-Bright.
"You're one," said the captain.
That made the shaggy man laugh.
"Good afternoon, captain," he said, bowing politely to all the foxes and very low to their commander. "I trust you are in good health, and that your families are all well?"
The fox-captain looked at the shaggy man, and his sharp features grew pleasant and smiling.
"We're pretty well, thank you, Shaggy Man," said he; and Dorothy knew that the Love Magnet was working and that all the foxes now loved the shaggy man because of it. But Toto didn't know this, for he began barking angrily and tried to bite the captain's hairy leg where it showed between his red boots and his yellow pantaloons.
"Stop, Toto!" cried the little girl, seizing the dog in her arms. "These are our friends."
"Why, so we are!" remarked the captain in tones of astonishment. "I thought at first we were enemies, but it seems you are friends, instead. You must come with me to see King Dox."
"Who's he?" asked Button-Bright, with earnest eyes.
"King Dox of Foxville; the great and wise sovereign who rules over our community."