OZMA OF OZ
OZMA OF OZ
L. FRANK BAUM
My friends the children are responsible for this new "Oz Book" as
they were for the last one which was called The Land of Oz. Their
sweet little letters plead to know "more about Dorothy"; and they ask:
"What became of the Cowardly Lion?" and "What did Ozma do
afterward?"--meaning of course after she became the Ruler of Oz.
And some of them suggest plots to me saying: "Please have Dorothy go
to the Land of Oz again"; or "Why don't you make Ozma and Dorothy
meet and have a good time together?" Indeed could I do all that my
little friends ask I would be obliged to write dozens of books to
satisfy their demands. And I wish I could for I enjoy writing these
stories just as much as the children say they enjoy reading them.
Well here is "more about Dorothy" and about our old friends the
Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and about the Cowardly Lion and Ozma
and all the rest of them; and here likewise is a good deal about
some new folks that are queer and unusual. One little friend who
read this story before it was printed said to me: "Billina is REAL
OZZY Mr. Baum and so are Tiktok and the Hungry Tiger."
If this judgment is unbiased and correct and the little folks find
this new story "real Ozzy" I shall be very glad indeed that I wrote
it. But perhaps I shall get some more of those very welcome letters
from my readers telling me just how they like "Ozma of Oz." I hope
L. FRANK BAUM.
1. The Girl in the Chicken Coop
The wind blew hard and joggled the water of the ocean sending ripples
across its surface. Then the wind pushed the edges of the ripples
until they became waves and shoved the waves around until they became
billows. The billows rolled dreadfully high: higher even than the
tops of houses. Some of them indeed rolled as high as the tops of
tall trees and seemed like mountains; and the gulfs between the great
billows were like deep valleys.
All this mad dashing and splashing of the waters of the big ocean
which the mischievous wind caused without any good reason whatever
resulted in a terrible storm and a storm on the ocean is liable to
cut many queer pranks and do a lot of damage.
At the time the wind began to blow a ship was sailing far out upon
the waters. When the waves began to tumble and toss and to grow
bigger and bigger the ship rolled up and down and tipped
sidewise--first one way and then the other--and was jostled around so
roughly that even the sailor-men had to hold fast to the ropes and
railings to keep themselves from being swept away by the wind or
pitched headlong into the sea.
And the clouds were so thick in the sky that the sunlight couldn't get
through them; so that the day grew dark as night which added to the
terrors of the storm.
The Captain of the ship was not afraid because he had seen storms
before and had sailed his ship through them in safety; but he knew
that his passengers would be in danger if they tried to stay on deck
so he put them all into the cabin and told them to stay there until
after the storm was over and to keep brave hearts and not be scared
and all would be well with them.
Now among these passengers was a little Kansas girl named Dorothy
Gale who was going with her Uncle Henry to Australia to visit some
relatives they had never before seen. Uncle Henry you must know was
not very well because he had been working so hard on his Kansas farm
that his health had given way and left him weak and nervous. So he
left Aunt Em at home to watch after the hired men and to take care of
the farm while he traveled far away to Australia to visit his cousins
and have a good rest.
Dorothy was eager to go with him on this journey and Uncle Henry
thought she would be good company and help cheer him up; so he decided
to take her along. The little girl was quite an experienced traveller
for she had once been carried by a cyclone as far away from home as
the marvelous Land of Oz and she had met with a good many adventures
in that strange country before she managed to get back to Kansas
again. So she wasn't easily frightened whatever happened and when
the wind began to howl and whistle and the waves began to tumble and
toss our little girl didn't mind the uproar the least bit.
"Of course we'll have to stay in the cabin" she said to Uncle
Henry and the other passengers "and keep as quiet as possible
until the storm is over. For the Captain says if we go on deck
we may be blown overboard."
No one wanted to risk such an accident as that you may be sure;
so all the passengers stayed huddled up in the dark cabin
listening to the shrieking of the storm and the creaking of the
masts and rigging and trying to keep from bumping into one another
when the ship tipped sidewise.
Dorothy had almost fallen asleep when she was aroused with a start to
find that Uncle Henry was missing. She couldn't imagine where he had
gone and as he was not very strong she began to worry about him and
to fear he might have been careless enough to go on deck. In that
case he would be in great danger unless he instantly came down again.
The fact was that Uncle Henry had gone to lie down in his little
sleeping-berth but Dorothy did not know that. She only remembered
that Aunt Em had cautioned her to take good care of her uncle so at
once she decided to go on deck and find him in spite of the fact that
the tempest was now worse than ever and the ship was plunging in a
really dreadful manner. Indeed the little girl found it was as much
as she could do to mount the stairs to the deck and as soon as she
got there the wind struck her so fiercely that it almost tore away the
skirts of her dress. Yet Dorothy felt a sort of joyous excitement in
defying the storm and while she held fast to the railing she peered
around through the gloom and thought she saw the dim form of a man
clinging to a mast not far away from her. This might be her uncle so
she called as loudly as she could:
"Uncle Henry! Uncle Henry!"
But the wind screeched and howled so madly that she scarce heard
her own voice and the man certainly failed to hear her for he
did not move.
Dorothy decided she must go to him; so she made a dash forward during
a lull in the storm to where a big square chicken-coop had been
lashed to the deck with ropes. She reached this place in safety but
no sooner had she seized fast hold of the slats of the big box in
which the chickens were kept than the wind as if enraged because the
little girl dared to resist its power suddenly redoubled its fury.
With a scream like that of an angry giant it tore away the ropes that
held the coop and lifted it high into the air with Dorothy still
clinging to the slats. Around and over it whirled this way and that
and a few moments later the chicken-coop dropped far away into the
sea where the big waves caught it and slid it up-hill to a foaming
crest and then down-hill into a deep valley as if it were nothing
more than a plaything to keep them amused.
Dorothy had a good ducking you may be sure but she didn't lose her
presence of mind even for a second. She kept tight hold of the stout
slats and as soon as she could get the water out of her eyes she saw
that the wind had ripped the cover from the coop and the poor
chickens were fluttering away in every direction being blown by the
wind until they looked like feather dusters without handles. The
bottom of the coop was made of thick boards so Dorothy found she was
clinging to a sort of raft with sides of slats which readily bore up
her weight. After coughing the water out of her throat and getting
her breath again she managed to climb over the slats and stand upon
the firm wooden bottom of the coop which supported her easily enough.
"Why I've got a ship of my own!" she thought more amused than
frightened at her sudden change of condition; and then as the coop
climbed up to the top of a big wave she looked eagerly around for the
ship from which she had been blown.
It was far far away by this time. Perhaps no one on board had yet
missed her or knew of her strange adventure. Down into a valley
between the waves the coop swept her and when she climbed another
crest the ship looked like a toy boat it was such a long way off.
Soon it had entirely disappeared in the gloom and then Dorothy gave a
sigh of regret at parting with Uncle Henry and began to wonder what
was going to happen to her next.
Just now she was tossing on the bosom of a big ocean with nothing to
keep her afloat but a miserable wooden hen-coop that had a plank
bottom and slatted sides through which the water constantly splashed
and wetted her through to the skin! And there was nothing to eat when
she became hungry--as she was sure to do before long--and no fresh
water to drink and no dry clothes to put on.
"Well I declare!" she exclaimed with a laugh. "You're in a pretty
fix Dorothy Gale I can tell you! and I haven't the least idea how
you're going to get out of it!"
As if to add to her troubles the night was now creeping on and the
gray clouds overhead changed to inky blackness. But the wind as if
satisfied at last with its mischievous pranks stopped blowing this
ocean and hurried away to another part of the world to blow something
else; so that the waves not being joggled any more began to quiet
down and behave themselves.
It was lucky for Dorothy I think that the storm subsided; otherwise
brave though she was I fear she might have perished. Many children
in her place would have wept and given way to despair; but because
Dorothy had encountered so many adventures and come safely through
them it did not occur to her at this time to be especially afraid.
She was wet and uncomfortable it is true; but after sighing that one
sigh I told you of she managed to recall some of her customary
cheerfulness and decided to patiently await whatever her fate might be.
By and by the black clouds rolled away and showed a blue sky overhead
with a silver moon shining sweetly in the middle of it and little
stars winking merrily at Dorothy when she looked their way. The coop
did not toss around any more but rode the waves more gently--almost
like a cradle rocking--so that the floor upon which Dorothy stood was
no longer swept by water coming through the slats. Seeing this and
being quite exhausted by the excitement of the past few hours the
little girl decided that sleep would be the best thing to restore her
strength and the easiest way in which she could pass the time. The
floor was damp and she was herself wringing wet but fortunately this
was a warm climate and she did not feel at all cold.
So she sat down in a corner of the coop leaned her back against the
slats nodded at the friendly stars before she closed her eyes and
was asleep in half a minute.
2. The Yellow Hen
A strange noise awoke Dorothy who opened her eyes to find that day
had dawned and the sun was shining brightly in a clear sky. She had
been dreaming that she was back in Kansas again and playing in the
old barn-yard with the calves and pigs and chickens all around her;
and at first as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes she really
imagined she was there.
"Kut-kut-kut ka-daw-kut! Kut-kut-kut ka-daw-kut!"
Ah; here again was the strange noise that had awakened her. Surely it
was a hen cackling! But her wide-open eyes first saw through the
slats of the coop the blue waves of the ocean now calm and placid
and her thoughts flew back to the past night so full of danger and
discomfort. Also she began to remember that she was a waif of the
storm adrift upon a treacherous and unknown sea.
"What's that?" cried Dorothy starting to her feet.
"Why I've just laid an egg that's all" replied a small but sharp
and distinct voice and looking around her the little girl discovered
a yellow hen squatting in the opposite corner of the coop.
"Dear me!" she exclaimed in surprise; "have YOU been here all
"Of course" answered the hen fluttering her wings and yawning.
"When the coop blew away from the ship I clung fast to this corner
with claws and beak for I knew if I fell into the water I'd surely be
drowned. Indeed I nearly drowned as it was with all that water
washing over me. I never was so wet before in my life!"
"Yes" agreed Dorothy "it was pretty wet for a time I know. But do
you feel comfor'ble now?"
"Not very. The sun has helped to dry my feathers as it has your
dress and I feel better since I laid my morning egg. But what's to
become of us I should like to know afloat on this big pond?"
"I'd like to know that too" said Dorothy. "But tell me; how does
it happen that you are able to talk? I thought hens could only cluck
"Why as for that" answered the yellow hen thoughtfully "I've
clucked and cackled all my life and never spoken a word before this
morning that I can remember. But when you asked a question a minute
ago it seemed the most natural thing in the world to answer you. So
I spoke and I seem to keep on speaking just as you and other human
beings do. Strange isn't it?"
"Very" replied Dorothy. "If we were in the Land of Oz I wouldn't
think it so queer because many of the animals can talk in that fairy
country. But out here in the ocean must be a good long way from Oz."
"How is my grammar?" asked the yellow hen anxiously. "Do I speak
quite properly in your judgment?"
"Yes" said Dorothy "you do very well for a beginner."
"I'm glad to know that" continued the yellow hen in a confidential
tone; "because if one is going to talk it's best to talk correctly.
The red rooster has often said that my cluck and my cackle were quite
perfect; and now it's a comfort to know I am talking properly."
"I'm beginning to get hungry" remarked Dorothy. "It's breakfast
time; but there's no breakfast."
"You may have my egg" said the yellow hen. "I don't care for it
"Don't you want to hatch it?" asked the little girl in surprise.
"No indeed; I never care to hatch eggs unless I've a nice snug nest
in some quiet place with a baker's dozen of eggs under me. That's
thirteen you know and it's a lucky number for hens. So you may as
well eat this egg."
"Oh I couldn't POSS'BLY eat it unless it was cooked" exclaimed
Dorothy. "But I'm much obliged for your kindness just the same."
"Don't mention it my dear" answered the hen calmly and began
preening her feathers.
For a moment Dorothy stood looking out over the wide sea. She was
still thinking of the egg though; so presently she asked:
"Why do you lay eggs when you don't expect to hatch them?"
"It's a habit I have" replied the yellow hen. "It has always been my
pride to lay a fresh egg every morning except when I'm moulting. I
never feel like having my morning cackle till the egg is properly
laid and without the chance to cackle I would not be happy."
"It's strange" said the girl reflectively; "but as I'm not a hen I
can't be 'spected to understand that."
"Certainly not my dear."
Then Dorothy fell silent again. The yellow hen was some company and
a bit of comfort too; but it was dreadfully lonely out on the big
After a time the hen flew up and perched upon the topmost slat of the
coop which was a little above Dorothy's head when she was sitting
upon the bottom as she had been doing for some moments past.
"Why we are not far from land!" exclaimed the hen.
"Where? Where is it?" cried Dorothy jumping up in great excitement.
"Over there a little way" answered the hen nodding her head in a
certain direction. "We seem to be drifting toward it so that
before noon we ought to find ourselves upon dry land again."
"I shall like that!" said Dorothy with a little sigh for her feet
and legs were still wetted now and then by the sea-water that came
through the open slats.
"So shall I" answered her companion. "There is nothing in the world
so miserable as a wet hen."
The land which they seemed to be rapidly approaching since it grew
more distinct every minute was quite beautiful as viewed by the
little girl in the floating hen-coop. Next to the water was a broad
beach of white sand and gravel and farther back were several rocky
hills while beyond these appeared a strip of green trees that marked
the edge of a forest. But there were no houses to be seen nor any
sign of people who might inhabit this unknown land.
"I hope we shall find something to eat" said Dorothy looking eagerly
at the pretty beach toward which they drifted. "It's long past
breakfast time now."
"I'm a trifle hungry myself" declared the yellow hen.
"Why don't you eat the egg?" asked the child. "You don't need to have
your food cooked as I do."
"Do you take me for a cannibal?" cried the hen indignantly. "I do
not know what I have said or done that leads you to insult me!"
"I beg your pardon I'm sure Mrs.--Mrs.--by the way may I inquire
your name ma'am?" asked the little girl.
"My name is Bill" said the yellow hen somewhat gruffly.
"Bill! Why that's a boy's name."
"What difference does that make?"
"You're a lady hen aren't you?"
"Of course. But when I was first hatched out no one could tell
whether I was going to be a hen or a rooster; so the little boy at the
farm where I was born called me Bill and made a pet of me because I
was the only yellow chicken in the whole brood. When I grew up and
he found that I didn't crow and fight as all the roosters do he did
not think to change my name and every creature in the barn-yard as
well as the people in the house knew me as 'Bill.' So Bill I've
always been called and Bill is my name."
"But it's all wrong you know" declared Dorothy earnestly; "and if
you don't mind I shall call you 'Billina.' Putting the 'eena' on the
end makes it a girl's name you see."
"Oh I don't mind it in the least" returned the yellow hen. "It
doesn't matter at all what you call me so long as I know the name
"Very well Billina. MY name is Dorothy Gale--just Dorothy to my
friends and Miss Gale to strangers. You may call me Dorothy if you
like. We're getting very near the shore. Do you suppose it is too
deep for me to wade the rest of the way?"
"Wait a few minutes longer. The sunshine is warm and pleasant and we
are in no hurry."
"But my feet are all wet and soggy" said the girl. "My dress is dry
enough but I won't feel real comfor'ble till I get my feet dried."
She waited however as the hen advised and before long the big
wooden coop grated gently on the sandy beach and the dangerous voyage
It did not take the castaways long to reach the shore you may be
sure. The yellow hen flew to the sands at once but Dorothy had to
climb over the high slats. Still for a country girl that was not
much of a feat and as soon as she was safe ashore Dorothy drew off
her wet shoes and stockings and spread them upon the sun-warmed beach
Then she sat down and watched Billina who was pick-pecking away with
her sharp bill in the sand and gravel which she scratched up and
turned over with her strong claws.
"What are you doing?" asked Dorothy.