The Lost Princess of Oz
The Big Lavender Bear
It was a pleasant place to wander, and the two travelers were proceeding at a brisk pace
when suddenly a voice shouted, "Halt!"
They looked around in surprise, seeing at first no one at all. Then from behind a tree there
stepped a brown, fuzzy bear whose head came about as high as Cayke's waist--and Cayke
was a small woman. The bear was chubby as well as fuzzy; his body was even puffy,
while his legs and arms seemed jointed at the knees and elbows and fastened to his body
by pins or rivets. His ears were round in shape and stuck out in a comical way, while his
round, black eyes were bright and sparkling as beads. Over his shoulder the little brown
bear bore a gun with a tin barrel. The barrel had a cork in the end of it, and a string was
attached to the cork and to the handle of the gun. Both the Frogman and Cayke gazed
hard at this curious bear, standing silent for some time. But finally the Frogman
recovered from his surprise and remarked, "It seems to me that you are stuffed with
sawdust and ought not to be alive."
"That's all you know about it," answered the little Brown Bear in a squeaky voice. "I am
stuffed with a very good quality of curled hair, and my skin is the best plush that was
ever made. As for my being alive, that is my own affair and cannot concern you at all,
except that it gives me the privilege to say you are my prisoners."
"Prisoners! Why do you speak such nonsense?" the Frogman angrily. "Do you think we
are afraid of a toy bear with a toy gun?"
"You ought to be," was the confident reply, "for I am merely the sentry guarding the way
to Bear Center, which is a city containing hundreds of my race, who are ruled by a very
powerful sorcerer known as the Lavender Bear. He ought to be a purple color, you know,
seeing he is a King, but he's only light lavender, which is, of course, second cousin to
royal purple. So unless you come with me peaceably as my prisoners, I shall fire my gun
and bring a hundred bears of all sizes and colors to capture you."
"Why do you wish to capture us?" inquired the Frogman, who had listened to his speech
with much astonishment.
"I don't wish to, as a matter of fact," replied the little Brown Bear, "but it is my duty to,
because you are now trespassing on the domain of His Majesty, the King of Bear Center.
Also, I will admit that things are rather quiet in our city just now, and the excitement of
your capture, followed by your trial and execution, should afford us much entertainment."
"We defy you!" said the Frogman.
"Oh no, don't do that," pleaded Cayke, speaking to her companion. "He says his King is a
sorcerer, so perhaps it is he or one of his bears who ventured to steal my jeweled dishpan.
Let us go to the City of the Bears and discover if my dishpan is there."