The Wonderful Wizard of Oz HTML version
From the far north they heard a low wail of the wind, and Uncle Henry
and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves before the
coming storm. There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the
south, and as they turned their eyes that way they saw ripples in the
grass coming from that direction also.
Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.
"There's a cyclone coming, Em," he called to his wife. "I'll go look
after the stock." Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and
horses were kept.
Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of
the danger close at hand.
"Quick, Dorothy!" she screamed. "Run for the cellar!"
Toto jumped out of Dorothy's arms and hid under the bed, and the girl
started to get him. Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap
door in the floor and climbed down the ladder into the small, dark
hole. Dorothy caught Toto at last and started to follow her aunt.
When she was halfway across the room there came a great shriek from the
wind, and the house shook so hard that she lost her footing and sat
down suddenly upon the floor.
Then a strange thing happened.
The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the
air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.
The north and south winds met where the house stood, and made it the
exact center of the cyclone. In the middle of a cyclone the air is
generally still, but the great pressure of the wind on every side of
the house raised it up higher and higher, until it was at the very top
of the cyclone; and there it remained and was carried miles and miles
away as easily as you could carry a feather.
It was very dark, and the wind howled horribly around her, but Dorothy
found she was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls around,
and one other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as if she were
being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.
Toto did not like it. He ran about the room, now here, now there,
barking loudly; but Dorothy sat quite still on the floor and waited to
see what would happen.
Once Toto got too near the open trap door, and fell in; and at first
the little girl thought she had lost him. But soon she saw one of his
ears sticking up through the hole, for the strong pressure of the air
was keeping him up so that he could not fall. She crept to the hole,
caught Toto by the ear, and dragged him into the room again, afterward
closing the trap door so that no more accidents could happen.
Hour after hour passed away, and slowly Dorothy got over her fright;
but she felt quite lonely, and the wind shrieked so loudly all about
her that she nearly became deaf. At first she had wondered if she
would be dashed to pieces when the house fell again; but as the hours
passed and nothing terrible happened, she stopped worrying and resolved
to wait calmly and see what the future would bring. At last she
crawled over the swaying floor to her bed, and lay down upon it; and
Toto followed and lay down beside her.
In spite of the swaying of the house and the wailing of the wind,
Dorothy soon closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.