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Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

10. The Braided Man of Pyramid Mountain
The mountain before them was shaped like a cone and was so tall that its point was lost in
the clouds. Directly facing the place where Jim had stopped was an arched opening
leading to a broad stairway. The stairs were cut in the rock inside the mountain, and they
were broad and not very steep, because they circled around like a cork-screw, and at the
arched opening where the flight began the circle was quite big. At the foot of the stairs
was a sign reading:
WARNING.
These steps lead to the
Land of the Gargoyles.
DANGER! KEEP OUT.
"I wonder how Jim is ever going to draw the buggy up so many stairs," said Dorothy,
gravely.
"No trouble at all," declared the horse, with a contemptuous neigh. "Still, I don't care to
drag any passengers. You'll all have to walk."
"Suppose the stairs get steeper?" suggested Zeb, doubtfully.
"Then you'll have to boost the buggy-wheels, that's all," answered Jim.
"We'll try it, anyway," said the Wizard. "It's the only way to get out of the Valley of
Voe."
So they began to ascend the stairs, Dorothy and the Wizard first, Jim next, drawing the
buggy, and then Zeb to watch that nothing happened to the harness.
The light was dim, and soon they mounted into total darkness, so that the Wizard was
obliged to get out his lanterns to light the way. But this enabled them to proceed steadily
until they came to a landing where there was a rift in the side of the mountain that let in
both light and air. Looking through this opening they could see the Valley of Voe lying
far below them, the cottages seeming like toy houses from that distance.
After resting a few moments they resumed their climb, and still the stairs were broad and
low enough for Jim to draw the buggy easily after him. The old horse panted a little, and
had to stop often to get his breath. At such times they were all glad to wait for him, for
continually climbing up stairs is sure to make one's legs ache.
They wound about, always going upward, for some time. The lights from the lanterns
dimly showed the way, but it was a gloomy journey, and they were pleased when a broad
streak of light ahead assured them they were coming to a second landing.
Here one side of the mountain had a great hole in it, like the mouth of a cavern, and the
stairs stopped at the near edge of the floor and commenced ascending again at the
opposite edge.
 
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