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The Road to Oz

22. Important Arrivals
First entered a band of Ryls from the Happy Valley, all merry little sprites like fairy
elves. A dozen crooked Knooks followed from the great Forest of Burzee. They had long
whiskers and pointed caps and curling toes, yet were no taller than Button-Bright's
shoulder. With this group came a man so easy to recognize and so important and dearly
beloved throughout the known world, that all present rose to their feet and bowed their
heads in respectful homage, even before the High Chamberlain knelt to announce his
name.
"The most Mighty and Loyal Friend of Children, His Supreme Highness--Santa Claus!"
said the Chamberlain, in an awed voice.
"Well, well, well! Glad to see you--glad to meet you all!" cried Santa Claus, briskly, as
he trotted up the long room.
He was round as an apple, with a fresh rosy face, laughing eyes, and a bushy beard as
white as snow. A red cloak trimmed with beautiful ermine hung from his shoulders and
upon his back was a basket filled with pretty presents for the Princess Ozma.
"Hello, Dorothy; still having adventures?" he asked in his jolly way, as he took the girl's
hand in both his own.
"How did you know my name, Santa?" she replied, feeling more shy in the presence of
this immortal saint than she ever had before in her young life.
"Why, don't I see you every Christmas Eve, when you're asleep?" he rejoined, pinching
her blushing cheek.
"Oh, do you?"
"And here's Button-Bright, I declare!" cried Santa Claus, holding up the boy to kiss him.
"What a long way from home you are; dear me!"
"Do you know Button-Bright, too?" questioned Dorothy, eagerly.
"Indeed I do. I've visited his home several Christmas Eves."
"And do you know his father?" asked the girl.
"Certainly, my dear. Who else do you suppose brings him his Christmas neckties and
stockings?" with a sly wink at the Wizard.
"Then where does he live? We're just crazy to know, 'cause Button-Bright's lost," she
said.
 
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