The Magic of Oz
The Beasts of the Forest of Gugu
That was a wonderful gathering of wild animals in the Forest of Gugu next
sunrise. Rango, the Gray Ape, had even called his monkey sentinels away from
the forest edge, and every beast, little and big, was in the great clearing where
meetings were held on occasions of great importance.
In the center of the clearing stood a great shelving rock, having a flat, inclined
surface, and on this sat the stately Leopard Gugu, who was King of the Forest.
On the ground beneath him squatted Bru the Bear, Loo the Unicorn, and Rango
the Gray Ape, the King's three Counselors, and in front of them stood the two
strange beasts who had called themselves Li-Mon-Eags, but were really the
transformations of Ruggedo the Nome, and Kiki Aru the Hyup.
Then came the beasts--rows and rows and rows of them! The smallest beasts
were nearest the King's rock throne; then there were wolves and foxes, lynxes
and hyenas, and the like; behind them were gathered the monkey tribes, who
were hard to keep in order because they teased the other animals and were full
of mischievous tricks. Back of the monkeys were the pumas, jaguars, tigers and
lions, and their kind; next the bears, all sizes and colors; after them bisons, wild
asses, zebras and unicorns; farther on the rhinoceri and hippopotami, and at the
far edge of the forest, close to the trees that shut in the clearing, was a row of
thick-skinned elephants, still as statues but with eyes bright and intelligent.
Many other kinds of beasts, too numerous to mention, were there, and some
were unlike any beasts we see in the menageries and zoos in our country. Some
were from the mountains west of the forest, and some from the plains at the east,
and some from the river; but all present acknowledged the leadership of Gugu,
who for many years had ruled them wisely and forced all to obey the laws.
When the beasts had taken their places in the clearing and the rising sun was
shooting its first bright rays over the treetops, King Gugu rose on his throne. The
Leopard's giant form, towering above all the others, caused a sudden hush to fall
on the assemblage.
"Brothers," he said in his deep voice, "a stranger has come among us, a beast of
curious form who is a great magician and is able to change the shapes of men or
beasts at his will. This stranger has come to us, with another of his kind, from out
of the sky, to warn us of a danger which threatens us all, and to offer us a way to
escape from that danger. He says he is our friend, and he has proved to me and
to my Counselors his magic powers. Will you listen to what he has to say to you--
to the message he has brought from the sky?"