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The Marvelous Land of Oz

18.
In the Jackdaw's Nest
"This," said the Gump, in a squeaky voice not at all proportioned to the size of its great
body, "is the most novel experience I ever heard of. The last thing I remember distinctly
is walking through the forest and hearing a loud noise. Something probably killed me
then, and it certainly ought to have been the end of me. Yet here I am, alive again, with
four monstrous wings and a body which I venture to say would make any respectable
animal or fowl weep with shame to own. What does it all mean? Am I a Gump, or am I a
juggernaut?" The creature, as it spoke, wiggled its chin whiskers in a very comical
manner.
"You're just a Thing," answered Tip, "with a Gump's head on it. And we have made you
and brought you to life so that you may carry us through the air wherever we wish to go."
"Very good!" said the Thing. "As I am not a Gump, I cannot have a Gump's pride or
independent spirit. So I may as well become your servant as anything else. My only
satisfaction is that I do not seem to have a very strong constitution, and am not likely to
live long in a state of slavery."
"Don't say that, I beg of you!" cried the Tin Woodman, whose excellent heart was
strongly affected by this sad speech." Are you not feeling well today?"
"Oh, as for that," returned the Gump, "it is my first day of existence; so I cannot Judge
whether I am feeling well or ill." And it waved its broom tail to and fro in a pensive
manner.
"Come, come!" said the Scarecrow, kindly. "do try, to be more cheerful and take life as
you find it. We shall be kind masters, and will strive to render your existence as pleasant
as possible. Are you willing to carry us through the air wherever we wish to go?"
"Certainly," answered the Gump. "I greatly prefer to navigate the air. For should I travel
on the earth and meet with one of my own species, my embarrassment would be
something awful!"
"I can appreciate that," said the Tin Woodman, sympathetically.
"And yet," continued the Thing, "when I carefully look you over, my masters, none of
you seems to be constructed much more artistically than I am."
"Appearances are deceitful," said the Woggle-Bug, earnestly. "I am both Highly
Magnified and Thoroughly Educated."
"Indeed!" murmured the Gump, indifferently.
"And my brains are considered remarkably rare specimens," added the Scarecrow,
proudly.
 
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