The Lost Princess of Oz HTML version

In The Wicker Castle
No sooner were the Wizard of Oz and his followers well within the castle entrance when
the big gates swung to with a clang and heavy bars dropped across them. They looked at
one another uneasily, but no one cared to speak of the incident. If they were indeed
prisoners in the wicker castle, it was evident they must find a way to escape, but their
first duty was to attend to the errand on which they had come and seek the Royal Ozma,
whom they believed to be a prisoner of the magician, and rescue her.
They found they had entered a square courtyard, from which an entrance led into the
main building of the castle. No person had appeared to greet them so far, although a
gaudy peacock perched upon the wall cackled with laughter and said in its sharp, shrill
voice, "Poor fools! Poor fools!"
"I hope the peacock is mistaken," remarked the Frogman, but no one else paid any
attention to the bird. They were a little awed by the stillness and loneliness of the place.
As they entered the doors of the castle, which stood invitingly open, these also closed
behind them and huge bolts shot into place. The animals had all accompanied the party
into the castle because they felt it would be dangerous for them to separate. They were
forced to follow a zigzag passage, turning this way and that, until finally they entered a
great central hall, circular in form and with a high dome from which was suspended an
enormous chandelier.
The Wizard went first, and Dorothy, Betsy and Trot followed him, Toto keeping at the
heels of his little mistress. Then came the Lion, the Woozy and the Sawhorse, then Cayke
the Cookie Cook and Button-Bright, then the Lavender Bear carrying the Pink Bear, and
finally the Frogman and the Patchwork Girl, with Hank the Mule tagging behind. So it
was the Wizard who caught the first glimpse of the big, domed hall, but the others
quickly followed and gathered in a wondering group just within the entrance.
Upon a raised platform at one side was a heavy table on which lay Glinda's Great Book
of Records, but the platform was firmly fastened to the floor and the table was fastened to
the platform and the Book was chained fast to the table, just as it had been when it was
kept in Glinda's palace. On the wall over the table hung Ozma's Magic Picture. On a row
of shelves at the opposite side of the hall stood all the chemicals and essences of magic
and all the magical instruments that had been stolen from Glinda and Ozma and the
Wizard, with glass doors covering the shelves so that no one could get at them.
And in a far corner sat Ugu the Shoemaker, his feet lazily extended, his skinny hands
clasped behind his head. He was leaning back at his ease and calmly smoking a long pipe.
Around the magician was a sort of cage, seemingly made of golden bars set wide apart,
and at his feet, also within the cage, reposed the long-sought diamond-studded dishpan of
Cayke the Cookie Cook. Princess Ozma of Oz was nowhere to be seen.
"Well, well," said Ugu when the invaders had stood in silence for a moment, staring
about them. "This visit is an unexpected pleasure, I assure you. I knew you were coming,
and I know why you are here. You are not welcome, for I cannot use any of you to my