The stranger was left in a handsomely furnished waiting room while the soldier went to announce him. It so happened that at this hour His Majesty was at leisure and greatly bored for want of something to do, so he ordered his visitor to be shown at once into his throne room.
Jack felt no fear or embarrassment at meeting the ruler of this magnificent city, for he was entirely ignorant of all worldly customs. But when he en-
70 tered the room and saw for the first time His Majesty the Scarecrow seated upon his glittering throne, he stopped short in amazement.
71 His Majesty the Scarecrow
I suppose every reader of this book knows what a scarecrow is; but Jack Pumpkinhead, never having seen such a creation, was more surprised at meeting the remarkable King of the Emerald City than by any other one experience of his brief life.
His Majesty the Scarecrow was dressed in a suit of faded blue clothes, and his head was merely a small sack stuffed with straw, upon which eyes, ears, a nose and a mouth had been rudely painted to represent a face. The clothes were also stuffed with straw, and that so unevenly or carelessly that his Majesty's legs and arms seemed more bumpy than was necessary. Upon his hands were gloves with long fingers, and these were padded with cotton. Wisps of straw stuck out from the monarch's
72 coat and also from his neck and boot-tops. Upon his head he wore a heavy golden crown set thick with sparkling jewels, and the weight of this crown caused his brow to sag in wrinkles, giving a thoughtful expression to the painted face. Indeed, the crown alone betokened majesty; in all else the, Scarecrow King was but a simple scarecrow -- flimsy, awkward, and unsubstantial.
But if the strange appearance of his Majesty the Scarecrow seemed startling to Jack, no less wonderful was the form of the Pumpkinhead to the Scarecrow. The purple trousers and pink waistcoat and red shirt hung loosely over the wooden joints Tip had manufactured, and the carved face on the pumpkin grinned perpetually, as if its wearer considered life the jolliest thing imaginable.
At first, indeed, His Majesty thought his queer visitor was laughing at him, and was inclined to resent such a liberty; but it was not without reason that the Scarecrow had attained the reputation of being the wisest personage in the Land of Oz. He made a more careful examination of his visitor, and soon discovered that Jack's features were carved into a smile and that he could not look grave if he wished to.
The King was the first to speak. After regarding
73 Line-Art Drawing
Jack for some minutes he said, in a tone of wonder:
"Where on earth did you come from, and how do you happen to be alive?"
"I beg your Majesty's pardon," returned the Pumpkinhead; "but I do not understand you."
"What don't you understand?" asked the Scarecrow.
"Why, I don't understand your language. You see, I came from the Country of the Gillikins, so that I am a foreigner."
"Ah, to be sure!" exclaimed the Scarecrow. "I myself speak the language of the Munchkins, which is also the language of the Emerald City. But you, I suppose, speak the language of the Pumpkinheads?"
"Exactly so, your Majesty" replied the other, bowing; "so it will be impossible for us to understand one another."
"That is unfortunate, certainly," said the Scarecrow, thoughtfully. "We must have an interpreter."
"What is an interpreter?" asked Jack.
"A person who understands both my language and your own. When I say anything, the interpreter can tell you what I mean; and when you say anything the interpreter can tell me what you mean. For the interpreter can speak both languages as well as understand them."
"That is certainly clever," said Jack, greatly pleased at finding so simple a way out of the difficulty.
So the Scarecrow commanded the Soldier with the Green Whiskers to search among his people
75 until he found one who understood the language of the Gillikins as well as the language of the Emerald City, and to bring that person to him at once.