The Road to Oz HTML version

8. The Musicker
About the middle of the forenoon they began to go up a long hill. By-and-by this hill
suddenly dropped down into a pretty valley, where the travelers saw, to their surprise, a
small house standing by the road-side.
It was the first house they had seen, and they hastened into the valley to discover who
lived there. No one was in sight as they approached, but when they began to get nearer
the house they heard queer sounds coming from it. They could not make these out at first,
but as they became louder our friends thought they heard a sort of music like that made
by a wheezy hand-organ; the music fell upon their ears in this way:
Oom, pom-pom--pah!
"What is it, a band or a mouth-organ?" asked Dorothy.
"Don't know," said Button-Bright.
"Sounds to me like a played-out phonograph," said the shaggy man, lifting his enormous
ears to listen.
"Oh, there just COULDN'T be a funnygraf in Fairyland!" cried Dorothy.
"It's rather pretty, isn't it?" asked Polychrome, trying to dance to the strains.
Oom pom-pom; oom pom-pom!
came the music to their ears, more distinctly as they drew nearer the house. Presently,
they saw a little fat man sitting on a bench before the door. He wore a red, braided jacket
that reached to his waist, a blue waistcoat, and white trousers with gold stripes down the
sides. On his bald head was perched a little, round, red cap held in place by a rubber
elastic underneath his chin. His face was round, his eyes a faded blue, and he wore white
cotton gloves. The man leaned on a stout gold-headed cane, bending forward on his seat
to watch his visitors approach.
Singularly enough, the musical sounds they had heard seemed to come from the inside of
the fat man himself; for he was playing no instrument nor was any to be seen near him.
They came up and stood in a row, staring at him, and he stared back while the queer
sounds came from him as before: