Placing one paw on the raft, he turned and struck out with his other three legs and so strong was the great beast that he managed to drag the raft from off the beach and propel it slowly to where the Wizard stood on the river bank.
"Good!" exclaimed the little man, well pleased.
"May I go across with you?" asked Dorothy.
The Wizard hesitated.
"If you'll take care not to leave the raft or step foot on the island, you'll be quite safe," he decided. So the Wizard told the Hungry Tiger and the Cowardly Lion to guard the cage of monkeys until he returned, and then he and Dorothy got upon the raft. The paddle which Cap'n Bill had made was still there, so the little Wizard paddled the clumsy raft across the water and ran it upon the beach of the Magic Isle as close to the place where Cap'n Bill and Trot were rooted as he could.
Dorothy was shocked to see how small the prisoners had become, and Trot said to her friends: "If you can't save us soon, there'll be nothing left of us."
"Be patient, my dear," counseled the Wizard, and took the little axe from his black bag.
"What are you going to do with that?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"It's a magic axe," replied the Wizard, "and when I tell it to chop, it will chop those roots from your feet and you can run to the raft before they grow again."
"Don't!" shouted the sailor in alarm. "Don't do it! Those roots are all flesh roots, and our bodies are feeding 'em while they're growing into the ground."
"To cut off the roots," said Trot, "would be like cutting off our fingers and toes."
The Wizard put the little axe back in the black bag and took out a pair of silver pincers.
"Grow--grow--grow!" he said to the pincers, and at once they grew and extended until they reached from the raft to the prisoners.
"What are you going to do now?" demanded Cap'n Bill, fearfully eyeing the pincers.
"This magic tool will pull you up, roots and all, and land you on this raft," declared the Wizard.
"Don't do it!" pleaded the sailor, with a shudder. "It would hurt us awfully."
"It would be just like pulling teeth to pull us up by the roots," explained Trot.
"Grow small!" said the Wizard to the pincers, and at once they became small and he threw them into the black bag.
"I guess, friends, it's all up with us, this time," remarked Cap'n Bill, with a dismal sigh.
"Please tell Ozma, Dorothy," said Trot, "that we got into trouble trying to get her a nice birthday present. Then she'll forgive us. The Magic Flower is lovely and wonderful, but it's just a lure to catch folks on this dreadful island and then destroy them. You'll have a nice birthday party, without us, I'm sure; and I hope, Dorothy, that none of you in the Emerald City will forget me--or dear ol' Cap'n Bill."
19. Dorothy and the Bumble Bees
Dorothy was greatly distressed and had hard work to keep the tears from her eyes.
"Is that all you can do, Wizard?" she asked the little man.
"It's all I can think of just now," he replied sadly. "But I intend to keep on thinking as long--as long--well, as long as thinking will do any good."
They were all silent for a time, Dorothy and the Wizard sitting thoughtfully on the raft, and Trot and Cap'n Bill sitting thoughtfully on the toadstools and growing gradually smaller and smaller in size.
Suddenly Dorothy said: "Wizard, I've thought of something!"
"What have you thought of?" he asked, looking at the little girl with interest.
"Can you remember the Magic Word that transforms people?" she asked.
"Of course," said he.
"Then you can transform Trot and Cap'n Bill into birds or bumblebees, and they can fly away to the other shore. When they're there, you can transform 'em into their reg'lar shapes again!"
"Can you do that, Wizard?" asked Cap'n Bill, eagerly.
"I think so."
"Roots an' all?" inquired Trot.
"Why, the roots are now a part of you, and if you were transformed to a bumblebee the whole of you would be transformed, of course, and you'd be free of this awful island."
"All right; do it!" cried the sailor-man.