Tik-Tok of Oz
1. Ann's Army
"I won't!" cried Ann; "I won't sweep the floor. It is beneath my dignity."
"Some one must sweep it," replied Ann's younger sister, Salye; "else we shall soon be
wading in dust. And you are the eldest, and the head of the family."
"I'm Queen of Oogaboo," said Ann, proudly. "But," she added with a sigh, "my kingdom
is the smallest and the poorest in all the Land of Oz."
This was quite true. Away up in the mountains, in a far corner of the beautiful fairyland
of Oz, lies a small valley which is named Oogaboo, and in this valley lived a few people
who were usually happy and contented and never cared to wander over the mountain pass
into the more settled parts of the land. They knew that all of Oz, including their own
territory, was ruled by a beautiful Princess named Ozma, who lived in the splendid
Emerald City; yet the simple folk of Oogaboo never visited Ozma. They had a royal
family of their own--not especially to rule over them, but just as a matter of pride. Ozma
permitted the various parts of her country to have their Kings and Queens and Emperors
and the like, but all were ruled over by the lovely girl Queen of the Emerald City.
The King of Oogaboo used to be a man named Jol Jemkiph Soforth, who for many years
did all the drudgery of deciding disputes and telling his people when to plant cabbages
and pickle onions. But the King's wife had a sharp tongue and small respect for the King,
her husband; therefore one night King Jol crept over the pass into the Land of Oz and
disappeared from Oogaboo for good and all. The Queen waited a few years for him to
return and then started in search of him, leaving her eldest daughter, Ann Soforth, to act
Now, Ann had not forgotten when her birthday came, for that meant a party and feasting
and dancing, but she had quite forgotten how many years the birthdays marked. In a land
where people live always, this is not considered a cause for regret, so we may justly say
that Queen Ann of Oogaboo was old enough to make jelly--and let it go at that.
But she didn't make jelly, or do any more of the housework than she could help. She was
an ambitious woman and constantly resented the fact that her kingdom was so tiny and
her people so stupid and unenterprising. Often she wondered what had become of her
father and mother, out beyond the pass, in the wonderful Land of Oz, and the fact that
they did not return to Oogaboo led Ann to suspect that they had found a better place to
live. So, when Salye refused to sweep the floor of the living room in the palace, and Ann
would not sweep it, either, she said to her sister:
"I'm going away. This absurd Kingdom of Oogaboo tires me."
"Go, if you want to," answered Salye; "but you are very foolish to leave this place."
"Why?" asked Ann.
"Because in the Land of Oz, which is Ozma's country, you will be a nobody, while here
you are a Queen."