The very marked success of my last year’s fairy book, “The Patchwork Girl of Oz,” convinces me that my readers like the Oz stories “best of all,” as one little girl wrote me. So here, my dears, is a new Oz story in which is introduced Ann Soforth, the Queen of Oogaboo, whom Tik-Tok assisted in conquering our old acquaintance, the Nome King. It also tells of Betsy Bobbin and how, after many adventures, she finally reached the marvelous Land of Oz.
There is a play called “The Tik-Tok Man of Oz,” but it is not like this story of “Tik-Tok of Oz,” although some of the adventures recorded in this book, as well as those in several other Oz books, are included in the play. Those who have seen the play and those who have read the other Oz books will find in this story a lot of strange characters and adventures that they have never heard of before.
In the letters I receive from children there has been an urgent appeal for me to write a story that will take Trot and Cap’n Bill to the Land of Oz, where they will meet Dorothy and Ozma. Also they think Button-Bright ought to get acquainted with Ojo the Lucky. As you know, I am obliged to talk these matters over with Dorothy by means of the “wireless,” for that is the only way I can communicate with the Land of Oz. When I asked her about this idea, she replied: “Why, haven’t you heard?” I said “No.” “Well,” came the message over the wireless, “I’ll tell you all about it, by and by, and then you can make a book of that story for the children to read.”
So, if Dorothy keeps her word and I am permitted to write another Oz book, you will probably discover how all these characters came together in the famous Emerald City. Meantime, I want to tell all my little friends – whose numbers are increasing by many thousands every year – that I am very grateful for the favor they have shown my books and for the delightful little letters I am constantly receiving. I am almost sure that I have as many friends among the children of America as any story writer alive; and this, of course, makes me very proud and happy.
L. Frank Baum.
“I WON’T!” cried Ann; “I won’t sweep the floor. It is beneath my dignity.”
“Some one must sweep it,” replied Ann’s younger sister, Salye; “else we shall soon be wading in dust. And you are the eldest, and the head of the family.”
“I’m Queen of Oogaboo,” said Ann, proudly. “But,” she added with a sigh, “my kingdom is the smallest and the poorest in all the Land of Oz.”
This was quite true. Away up in the mountains, in a far corner of the beautiful fairyland of Oz, lies a small valley which is named Oogaboo, and in this valley lived a few people who were usually happy and contented and never cared to wander over the mountain pass into the more settled parts of the land. They knew that all of Oz, including their own territory, was ruled by a beautiful Princess named Ozma, who lived in the splendid Emerald City; yet the simple folk of Oogaboo never visited Ozma. They had a royal family of their own – not especially to rule over them, but just as a matter of pride. Ozma permitted the various parts of her country to have their Kings and Queens and Emperors and the like, but all were ruled over by the lovely girl Queen of the Emerald City.
The King of Oogaboo used to be a man named Jol Jemkiph Soforth, who for many years did all the drudgery of deciding disputes and telling his people when to plant cabbages and pickle onions. But the King’s wife had a sharp tongue and small respect for the King, her husband; therefore one night King Jol crept over the pass into the Land of Oz and disappeared from Oogaboo for good and all. The Queen waited a few years for him to return and then started in search of him, leaving her eldest daughter, Ann Soforth, to act as Queen.
Now, Ann had not forgotten when her birthday came, for that meant a party and feasting and dancing, but she had quite forgotten how many years the birthdays marked. In a land where people live always, this is not considered a cause for regret, so we may justly say that Queen Ann of Oogaboo was old enough to make jelly – and let it go at that.
But she didn’t make jelly, or do any more of the housework than she could help. She was an ambitious woman and constantly resented the fact that her kingdom was so tiny and her people so stupid and unenterprising. Often she wondered what had become of her father and mother, out beyond the pass, in the wonderful Land of Oz, and the fact that they did not return to Oogaboo led Ann to suspect that they had found a better place to live. So, when Salye refused to sweep the floor of the living room in the palace, and Ann would not sweep it, either, she said to her sister:
“I’m going away. This absurd Kingdom of Oogaboo tires me.”
“Go, if you want to,” answered Salye; “but you are very foolish to leave this place.”
“Why?” asked Ann.
“Because in the Land of Oz, which is Ozma’s country, you will be a nobody, while here you are a Queen.”
“Oh, yes! Queen over eighteen men, twenty-seven women and forty-four children!” returned Ann bitterly.
“Well, there are certainly more people than that in the great Land of Oz,” laughed Salye. “Why don’t you raise an army and conquer them, and be Queen of all Oz?” she asked, trying to taunt Ann and so to anger her. Then she made a face at her sister and went into the back yard to swing in the hammock.
Her jeering words, however, had given Queen Ann an idea. She reflected that Oz was reported to be a peaceful country and Ozma a mere girl who ruled with gentleness to all and was obeyed because her people loved her. Even in Oogaboo the story was told that Ozma’s sole army consisted of twenty-seven fine officers, who wore beautiful uniforms but carried no weapons, because there was no one to fight. Once there had been a private soldier, besides the officers, but Ozma had made him a Captain-General and taken away his gun for fear it might accidentally hurt some one.
The more Ann thought about the matter the more she was convinced it would be easy to conquer the Land of Oz and set herself up as Ruler in Ozma’s place, if she but had an Army to do it with. Afterward she could go out into the world and conquer other lands, and then perhaps she could find a way to the moon, and conquer that. She had a warlike spirit that preferred trouble to idleness.
It all depended on an Army, Ann decided. She carefully counted in her mind all the men of her kingdom. Yes; there were exactly eighteen of them, all told. That would not make a very big Army, but by surprising Ozma’s unarmed officers her men might easily subdue them. “Gentle people are always afraid of those that bluster,” Ann told herself. "I don’t wish to shed any blood, for that would shock my nerves and I might faint; but if we threaten and flash our weapons I am sure the people of Oz will fall upon their knees before me and surrender."
This argument, which she repeated to herself more than once, finally determined the Queen of Oogaboo to undertake the audacious venture.
“Whatever happens,” she reflected, “can make me no more unhappy than my staying shut up in this miserable valley and sweeping floors and quarreling with Sister Salye; so I will venture all, and win what I may.”
That very day she started out to organize her Army.
The first man she came to was Jo Apple, so called because he had an apple orchard.
“Jo,” said Ann, “I am going to conquer the world, and I want you to join my Army.”
“Don’t ask me to do such a fool thing, for I must politely refuse Your Majesty,” said Jo Apple.
“I have no intention of asking you. I shall command you, as Queen of Oogaboo, to join,” said Ann.
“In that case, I suppose I must obey,” the man remarked, in a sad voice. “But I pray you to consider that I am a very important citizen, and for that reason am entitled to an office of high rank.”
“You shall be a General,” promised Ann.
“With gold epaulets and a sword?” he asked.
“Of course,” said the Queen.
Then she went to the next man, whose name was Jo Bunn, as he owned an orchard where graham-buns and wheat-buns, in great variety, both hot and cold, grew on the trees.
“Jo,” said Ann, “I am going to conquer the world, and I command you to join my Army.”
“Impossible!” he exclaimed. “The bun crop has to be picked.”
“Let your wife and children do the picking,” said Ann.
“But I’m a man of great importance, Your Majesty,” he protested.
“For that reason you shall be one of my Generals, and wear a cocked hat with gold braid, and curl your mustaches and clank a long sword,” she promised.
So he consented, although sorely against his will, and the Queen walked on to the next cottage. Here lived Jo Cone, so called because the trees in his orchard bore crops of excellent ice-cream cones.
“Jo,” said Ann, “I am going to conquer the world, and you must join my Army.”
“Excuse me, please,” said Jo Cone. “I am a bad fighter. My good wife conquered me years ago, for she can fight better than I. Take her, Your Majesty, instead of me, and I’ll bless you for the favor.”
“This must be an army of men – fierce, ferocious warriors,” declared Ann, looking sternly upon the mild little man.
“And you will leave my wife here in Oogaboo?” he asked.
“Yes; and make you a General.”
“I’ll go,” said Jo Cone, and Ann went on to the cottage of Jo Clock, who had an orchard of clock-trees. This man at first insisted that he would not join the army, but Queen Ann’s promise to make him a General finally won his consent.
“How many Generals are there in your army?” he asked.
“Four, so far,” replied Ann.
“And how big will the army be?” was his next question.
“I intend to make every one of the eighteen men in Oogaboo join it,” she said.
“Then four Generals are enough,” announced Jo Clock. “I advise you to make the rest of them Colonels.”
Ann tried to follow his advice. The next four men she visited – who were Jo Plum, Jo Egg, Jo Banjo and Jo Cheese, named after the trees in their orchards – she made Colonels of her Army; but the fifth one, Jo Nails, said Colonels and Generals were getting to be altogether too common in the Army of Oogaboo and he preferred to be a Major. So Jo Nails, Jo Cake, Jo Ham and Jo Stockings were all four made Majors, while the next four – Jo Sandwich, Jo Padlocks, Jo Sundae and Jo Buttons – were appointed Captains of the Army.
But now Queen Ann was in a quandary. There remained but two other men in all Oogaboo, and if she made these two Lieutenants, while there were four Captains, four Majors, four Colonels and four Generals, there was likely to be jealousy in her army, and perhaps mutiny and desertions.
One of these men, however, was Jo Candy, and he would not go at all. No promises could tempt him, nor could threats move him. He said he must remain at home to harvest his crop of jackson-balls, lemon-drops, bonbons and chocolate-creams. Also he had large fields of crackerjack and buttered pop corn to be mowed and threshed, and he was determined not to disappoint the children of Oogaboo by going away to conquer the world and so let the candy crop spoil.
Finding Jo Candy so obstinate, Queen Ann let him have his own way and continued her journey to the house of the eighteenth and last man in Oogaboo, who was a young fellow named Jo Files. This Files had twelve trees which bore steel files of various sorts; but also he had nine book-trees, on which grew a choice selection of story-books. In case you have never seen books growing upon trees, I will explain that those in Jo Files’ orchard were enclosed in broad green husks which, when fully ripe, turned to a deep red color. Then the books were picked and husked and were ready to read. If they were picked too soon, the stories were found to be confused and uninteresting and the spelling bad. However, if allowed to ripen perfectly, the stories were fine reading and the spelling and grammar excellent.
Files freely gave his books to all who wanted them, but the people of Oogaboo cared little for books and so he had to read most of them himself, before they spoiled. For, as you probably know, as soon as the books were read the words disappeared and the leaves withered and faded – which is the worst fault of all books which grow upon trees.
When Queen Ann spoke to this young man Files, who was both intelligent and ambitious, he said he thought it would be great fun to conquer the world. But he called her attention to the fact that he was far superior to the other men of her army. Therefore, he would not be one of her Generals or Colonels or Majors or Captains, but claimed the honor of being sole Private.
Ann did not like this idea at all.
“I hate to have a Private Soldier in my army,” she said; “they’re so common. I am told that Princess Ozma once had a private soldier, but she made him her Captain-General, which is good evidence that the private was unnecessary.”
“Ozma’s army doesn’t fight,” returned Files; "but your army must fight like fury in order to conquer the world. I have read in my books that it is always the private soldiers who do the fighting, for no officer is ever brave enough to face the foe. Also, it stands to reason that your officers must have some one to command and to issue their orders to; therefore I’ll be the one. I long to slash and slay the enemy and become a hero. Then, when we return to Oogaboo, I’ll take all the marbles away from the children and melt them up and make a marble statue of myself for all to look upon and admire."
Ann was much pleased with Private Files. He seemed indeed to be such a warrior as she needed in her enterprise, and her hopes of success took a sudden bound when Files told her he knew where a gun-tree grew and would go there at once and pick the ripest and biggest musket the tree bore.
THREE days later the Grand Army of Oogaboo assembled in the square in front of the royal palace. The sixteen officers were attired in gorgeous uniforms and carried sharp, glittering swords. The Private had picked his gun and, although it was not a very big weapon, Files tried to look fierce and succeeded so well that all his commanding officers were secretly afraid of him.
The women were there, protesting that Queen Ann Soforth had no right to take their husbands and fathers from them; but Ann commanded them to keep silent, and that was the hardest order to obey they had ever received.
The Queen appeared before her Army dressed in an imposing uniform of green, covered with gold braid. She wore a green soldier-cap with a purple plume in it and looked so royal and dignified that everyone in Oogaboo except the Army was glad she was going. The Army was sorry she was not going alone.
“Form ranks!” she cried in her shrill voice.
Salye leaned out of the palace window and laughed.
“I believe your Army can run better than it can fight,” she observed.
“Of course,” replied General Bunn, proudly. “We’re not looking for trouble, you know, but for plunder. The more plunder and the less fighting we get, the better we shall like our work.”
“For my part,” said Files, “I prefer war and carnage to anything. The only way to become a hero is to conquer, and the story-books all say that the easiest way to conquer is to fight.”
“That’s the idea, my brave man!” agreed Ann. “To fight is to conquer and to conquer is to secure plunder and to secure plunder is to become a hero. With such noble determination to back me, the world is mine! Good-bye, Salye. When we return we shall be rich and famous. Come, Generals; let us march.”
At this the Generals straightened up and threw out their chests. Then they swung their glittering swords in rapid circles and cried to the Colonels:
“For – ward March!”
Then the Colonels shouted to the Majors: “For – ward March!” and the Majors yelled to the Captains: “For – ward March!” and the Captains screamed to the Private:
“For – ward March!”
So Files shouldered his gun and began to march, and all the officers followed after him. Queen Ann came last of all, rejoicing in her noble army and wondering why she had not decided long ago to conquer the world.
In this order the procession marched out of Oogaboo and took the narrow mountain pass which led into the lovely Fairyland of Oz.
PRINCESS OZMA was all unaware that the Army of Oogaboo, led by their ambitious Queen, was determined to conquer her Kingdom. The beautiful girl Ruler of Oz was busy with the welfare of her subjects and had no time to think of Ann Soforth and her disloyal plans. But there was one who constantly guarded the peace and happiness of the Land of Oz and this was the Official Sorceress of the Kingdom, Glinda the Good.
In her magnificent castle, which stands far north of the Emerald City where Ozma holds her court, Glinda owns a wonderful magic Record Book, in which is printed every event that takes place anywhere, just as soon as it happens.
The smallest things and the biggest things are all recorded in this book. If a child stamps its foot in anger, Glinda reads about it; if a city burns down, Glinda finds the fact noted in her book.
The Sorceress always reads her Record Book every day, and so it was she knew that Ann Soforth, Queen of Oogaboo, had foolishly assembled an army of sixteen officers and one private soldier, with which she intended to invade and conquer the Land of Oz.
There was no danger but that Ozma, supported by the magic arts of Glinda the Good and the powerful Wizard of Oz – both her firm friends – could easily defeat a far more imposing army than Ann’s; but it would be a shame to have the peace of Oz interrupted by any sort of quarreling or fighting. So Glinda did not even mention the matter to Ozma, or to anyone else. She merely went into a great chamber of her castle, known as the Magic Room, where she performed a magical ceremony which caused the mountain pass that led from Oogaboo to make several turns and twists. The result was that when Ann and her army came to the end of the pass they were not in the Land of Oz at all, but in an adjoining territory that was quite distinct from Ozma’s domain and separated from Oz by an invisible barrier.
As the Oogaboo people emerged into this country, the pass they had traversed disappeared behind them and it was not likely they would ever find their way back into the valley of Oogaboo. They were greatly puzzled, indeed, by their surroundings and did not know which way to go. None of them had ever visited Oz, so it took them some time to discover they were not in Oz at all, but in an unknown country.
“Never mind,” said Ann, trying to conceal her disappointment; “we have started out to conquer the world, and here is part of it. In time, as we pursue our victorious journey, we will doubtless come to Oz; but, until we get there, we may as well conquer whatever land we find ourselves in.”
“Have we conquered this place, Your Majesty?” anxiously inquired Major Cake.
“Most certainly,” said Ann. “We have met no people, as yet, but when we do, we will inform them that they are our slaves.”
“And afterward we will plunder them of all their possessions,” added General Apple.
“They may not possess anything,” objected Private Files; “but I hope they will fight us, just the same. A peaceful conquest wouldn’t be any fun at all.”
“Don’t worry,” said the Queen. “We can fight, whether our foes do or not; and perhaps we would find it more comfortable to have the enemy surrender promptly.”
It was a barren country and not very pleasant to travel in. Moreover, there was little for them to eat, and as the officers became hungry they became fretful. Many would have deserted had they been able to find their way home, but as the Oogaboo people were now hopelessly lost in a strange country they considered it more safe to keep together than to separate.
Queen Ann’s temper, never very agreeable, became sharp and irritable as she and her army tramped over the rocky roads without encountering either people or plunder. She scolded her officers until they became surly, and a few of them were disloyal enough to ask her to hold her tongue. Others began to reproach her for leading them into difficulties and in the space of three unhappy days every man was mourning for his orchard in the pretty valley of Oogaboo.
Files, however, proved a different sort. The more difficulties he encountered the more cheerful he became, and the sighs of the officers were answered by the merry whistle of the Private. His pleasant disposition did much to encourage Queen Ann and before long she consulted the Private Soldier more often than she did his superiors.
It was on the third day of their pilgrimage that they encountered their first adventure. Toward evening the sky was suddenly darkened and Major Nails exclaimed:
“A fog is coming toward us.”
“I do not think it is a fog,” replied Files, looking with interest at the approaching cloud. “It seems to me more like the breath of a Rak.”
“What is a Rak?” asked Ann, looking about fearfully.
“A terrible beast with a horrible appetite,” answered the soldier, growing a little paler than usual. “I have never seen a Rak, to be sure, but I have read of them in the story-books that grew in my orchard, and if this is indeed one of those fearful monsters, we are not likely to conquer the world.”
Hearing this, the officers became quite worried and gathered closer about their soldier.
“What is the thing like?” asked one.
“The only picture of a Rak that I ever saw in a book was rather blurred,” said Files, “because the book was not quite ripe when it was picked. But the creature can fly in the air and run like a deer and swim like a fish. Inside its body is a glowing furnace of fire, and the Rak breathes in air and breathes out smoke, which darkens the sky for miles around, wherever it goes. It is bigger than a hundred men and feeds on any living thing.”
The officers now began to groan and to tremble, but Files tried to cheer them, saying:
“It may not be a Rak, after all, that we see approaching us, and you must not forget that we people of Oogaboo, which is part of the fairyland of Oz, cannot be killed.”
“Nevertheless,” said Captain Buttons, “if the Rak catches us, and chews us up into small pieces, and swallows us – what will happen then?”
“Then each small piece will still be alive,” declared Files.
“I cannot see how that would help us,” wailed Colonel Banjo. “A hamburger steak is a hamburger steak, whether it is alive or not!”
“I tell you, this may not be a Rak,” persisted Files. “We will know, when the cloud gets nearer, whether it is the breath of a Rak or not. If it has no smell at all, it is probably a fog; but if it has an odor of salt and pepper, it is a Rak and we must prepare for a desperate fight.”
They all eyed the dark cloud fearfully. Before long it reached the frightened group and began to envelop them. Every nose sniffed the cloud – and every one detected in it the odor of salt and pepper.
“The Rak!” shouted Private Files, and with a howl of despair the sixteen officers fell to the ground, writhing and moaning in anguish. Queen Ann sat down upon a rock and faced the cloud more bravely, although her heart was beating fast. As for Files, he calmly loaded his gun and stood ready to fight the foe, as a soldier should.
They were now in absolute darkness, for the cloud which covered the sky and the setting sun was black as ink. Then through the gloom appeared two round, glowing balls of red, and Files at once decided these must be the monster’s eyes.
He raised his gun, took aim and fired.
There were several bullets in the gun, all gathered from an excellent bullet-tree in Oogaboo, and they were big and hard. They flew toward the monster and struck it, and with a wild, weird cry the Rak came fluttering down and its huge body fell plump upon the forms of the sixteen officers, who thereupon screamed louder than before.
“Badness me!” moaned the Rak. “See what you’ve done with that dangerous gun of yours!”
“I can’t see,” replied Files, “for the cloud formed by your breath darkens my sight!”
“Don’t tell me it was an accident,” continued the Rak, reproachfully, as it still flapped its wings in a helpless manner. “Don’t claim you didn’t know the gun was loaded, I beg of you!”
“I don’t intend to,” replied Files. “Did the bullets hurt you very badly?”
“One has broken my jaw, so that I can’t open my mouth. You will notice that my voice sounds rather harsh and husky, because I have to talk with my teeth set close together. Another bullet broke my left wing, so that I can’t fly; and still another broke my right leg, so that I can’t walk. It was the most careless shot I ever heard of!”
“Can’t you manage to lift your body off from my commanding officers?” inquired Files. “From their cries I’m afraid your great weight is crushing them.”
“I hope it is,” growled the Rak. “I want to crush them, if possible, for I have a bad disposition. If only I could open my mouth, I’d eat all of you, although my appetite is poorly this warm weather.”
With this the Rak began to roll its immense body sidewise, so as to crush the officers more easily; but in doing this it rolled completely off from them and the entire sixteen scrambled to their feet and made off as fast as they could run.
Private Files could not see them go but he knew from the sound of their voices that they had escaped, so he ceased to worry about them.
“Pardon me if I now bid you good-bye,” he said to the Rak. “The parting is caused by our desire to continue our journey. If you die, do not blame me, for I was obliged to shoot you as a matter of self-protection.”
“I shall not die,” answered the monster, “for I bear a charmed life. But I beg you not to leave me!”
“Why not?” asked Files.
“Because my broken jaw will heal in about an hour, and then I shall be able to eat you. My wing will heal in a day and my leg will heal in a week, when I shall be as well as ever. Having shot me, and so caused me all this annoyance, it is only fair and just that you remain here and allow me to eat you as soon as I can open my jaws.”
“I beg to differ with you,” returned the soldier firmly. "I have made an engagement with Queen Ann of Oogaboo to help her conquer the world, and I cannot break my word for the sake of being eaten by a Rak."
“Oh; that’s different,” said the monster. “If you’ve an engagement, don’t let me detain you.”
So Files felt around in the dark and grasped the hand of the trembling Queen, whom he led away from the flapping, sighing Rak. They stumbled over the stones for a way but presently began to see dimly the path ahead of them, as they got farther and farther away from the dreadful spot where the wounded monster lay.
By and by they reached a little hill and could see the last rays of the sun flooding a pretty valley beyond, for now they had passed beyond the cloudy breath of the Rak. Here were huddled the sixteen officers, still frightened and panting from their run. They had halted only because it was impossible for them to run any farther.
Queen Ann gave them a severe scolding for their cowardice, at the same time praising Files for his courage.
“We are wiser than he, however,” muttered General Clock, “for by running away we are now able to assist Your Majesty in conquering the world; whereas, had Files been eaten by the Rak, he would have deserted your Army.”
After a brief rest they descended into the valley, and as soon as they were out of sight of the Rak the spirits of the entire party rose quickly. Just at dusk they came to a brook, on the banks of which Queen Ann commanded them to make camp for the night.
Each officer carried in his pocket a tiny white tent. This, when placed upon the ground, quickly grew in size until it was large enough to permit the owner to enter it and sleep within its canvas walls. Files was obliged to carry a knapsack, in which was not only his own tent but an elaborate pavilion for Queen Ann, besides a bed and chair and a magic table. This table, when set upon the ground in Ann’s pavilion, became of large size, and in a drawer of the table was contained the Queen’s supply of extra clothing, her manicure and toilet articles and other necessary things. The royal bed was the only one in the camp, the officers and private sleeping in hammocks attached to their tent poles.
There was also in the knapsack a flag bearing the royal emblem of Oogaboo, and this flag Files flew upon its staff every night, to show that the country they were in had been conquered by the Queen of Oogaboo. So far, no one but themselves had seen the flag, but Ann was pleased to see it flutter in the breeze and considered herself already a famous conqueror.