Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz HTML version
1. The Earthquake
The train from 'Frisco was very late. It should have arrived at Hugson's Siding at
midnight, but it was already five o'clock and the gray dawn was breaking in the east when
the little train slowly rumbled up to the open shed that served for the station-house. As it
came to a stop the conductor called out in a loud voice:
At once a little girl rose from her seat and walked to the door of the car, carrying a wicker
suit-case in one hand and a round bird-cage covered up with newspapers in the other,
while a parasol was tucked under her arm. The conductor helped her off the car and then
the engineer started his train again, so that it puffed and groaned and moved slowly away
up the track. The reason he was so late was because all through the night there were times
when the solid earth shook and trembled under him, and the engineer was afraid that at
any moment the rails might spread apart and an accident happen to his passengers. So he
moved the cars slowly and with caution.
The little girl stood still to watch until the train had disappeared around a curve; then she
turned to see where she was.
The shed at Hugson's Siding was bare save for an old wooden bench, and did not look
very inviting. As she peered through the soft gray light not a house of any sort was visible
near the station, nor was any person in sight; but after a while the child discovered a
horse and buggy standing near a group of trees a short distance away. She walked toward
it and found the horse tied to a tree and standing motionless, with its head hanging down
almost to the ground. It was a big horse, tall and bony, with long legs and large knees and
feet. She could count his ribs easily where they showed through the skin of his body, and
his head was long and seemed altogether too big for him, as if it did not fit. His tail was
short and scraggly, and his harness had been broken in many places and fastened together
again with cords and bits of wire. The buggy seemed almost new, for it had a shiny top
and side curtains. Getting around in front, so that she could look inside, the girl saw a boy
curled up on the seat, fast asleep.
She set down the bird-cage and poked the boy with her parasol. Presently he woke up,
rose to a sitting position and rubbed his eyes briskly.
"Hello!" he said, seeing her, "are you Dorothy Gale?"
"Yes," she answered, looking gravely at his tousled hair and blinking gray eyes. "Have
you come to take me to Hugson's Ranch?"
"Of course," he answered. "Train in?"
"I couldn't be here if it wasn't," she said.
He laughed at that, and his laugh was merry and frank. Jumping out of the buggy he put
Dorothy's suit-case under the seat and her bird-cage on the floor in front.
"Canary-birds?" he asked.