It's the King's own Bodyguard, and when you are no longer King you can't have 'em."
The King did not reply, but he looked rather sorrowful for a time.
When the soldiers had marched out he said to the company:
"The Royal Jugglers will now appear."
Dorothy had seen many jugglers in her lifetime, but never any so interesting as these. There were six of them, dressed in black satin embroidered with queer symbols in silver--a costume which contrasted strongly with their snow-white fur.
First, they pushed in a big red ball and three of the rabbit jugglers stood upon its top and made it roll. Then two of them caught up a third and tossed him into the air, all vanishing, until only the two were left. Then one of these tossed the other upward and remained alone of all his fellows. This last juggler now touched the red ball, which fell apart, being hollow, and the five rabbits who had disappeared in the air scrambled out of the hollow ball.
Next they all clung together and rolled swiftly upon the floor. When they came to a stop only one fat rabbit juggler was seen, the others seeming to be inside him. This one leaped lightly into the air and when he came down he exploded and separated into the original six. Then four of them rolled themselves into round balls and the other two tossed them around and played ball with them.
These were but a few of the tricks the rabbit jugglers performed, and they were so skillful that all the nobility and even the King applauded as loudly as did Dorothy.
"I suppose there are no rabbit jugglers in all the world to compare with these," remarked the King. "And since I may not have the Whiskers Friskers or my Bodyguard, you might ask Glinda to let me take away just two or three of these jugglers. Will you?"
"I'll ask her," replied Dorothy, doubtfully.
"Thank you," said the King; "thank you very much. And now you shall listen to the Winsome Waggish Warblers, who have often cheered me in my moments of anguish."
The Winsome Waggish Warblers proved to be a quartette of rabbit singers, two gentlemen and two lady rabbits. The gentlemen Warblers wore full-dress swallow-tailed suits of white satin, with pearls for buttons, while the lady Warblers were gowned in white satin dresses with long trails.
The first song they sang began in this way:
"When a rabbit gets a habit Of living in a city And wearing clothes and furbelows And jewels rare and pretty, He scorns the Bun who has to run And burrow in the ground And pities those whose watchful foes Are man and gun and hound."
Dorothy looked at the King when she heard this song and noticed that he seemed disturbed and ill at ease.
"I don't like that song," he said to the Warblers. "Give us something jolly and rollicking."
So they sang to a joyous, tinkling melody as follows:
"Bunnies gay Delight to play In their fairy town secure; Ev'ry frisker Flirts his whisker At a pink-eyed girl demure. Ev'ry maid In silk arrayed At her partner shyly glances, Paws are grasped, Waists are clasped As they whirl in giddy dances. Then together Through the heather 'Neath the moonlight soft they stroll; Each is very Blithe and merry, Gamboling with laughter droll. Life is fun To ev'ry one Guarded by our magic charm For to dangers We are strangers, Safe from any thought of harm."
"You see," said Dorothy to the King, when the song ended, "the rabbits all seem to like Bunnybury except you. And I guess you're the only one that ever has cried or was unhappy and wanted to get back to your muddy hole in the ground."
His Majesty seemed thoughtful, and while the servants passed around glasses of nectar and plates of frosted cakes their King was silent and a bit nervous.
When the refreshments had been enjoyed by all and the servants had retired Dorothy said:
"I must go now, for it's getting late and I'm lost. I've got to find the Wizard and Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and all the rest sometime before night comes, if I poss'bly can."
"Won't you stay with us?" asked the King.