The last plant of all the row had captured the Woozy, and a big bunch in the center of the curled leaf showed plainly where he was. With his sharp knife the Shaggy Man sliced off the stem of the leaf and as it fell and unfolded out trotted the Woozy and escaped beyond the reach of any more of the dangerous plants.
A Good Friend
Soon the entire party was gathered on the road of yellow bricks, quite beyond the reach of the beautiful but treacherous plants. The Shaggy Man, staring first at one and then at the other, seemed greatly pleased and interested.
"I've seen queer things since I came to the Land of Oz," said he, "but never anything queerer than this band of adventurers. Let us sit down a while, and have a talk and get acquainted."
"Haven't you always lived in the Land of Oz?" asked the Munchkin boy.
"No; I used to live in the big, outside world. But I came here once with Dorothy, and Ozma let me stay."
"How do you like Oz?" asked Scraps. "Isn't the country and the climate grand?"
"It's the finest country in all the world, even if it is a fairyland. and I'm happy every minute I live in it," said the Shaggy Man. "But tell me something about yourselves."
So Ojo related the story of his visit to the house of the Crooked Magician, and how he met there the Glass Cat, and how the Patchwork Girl was brought to life and of the terrible accident to Unc Nunkie and Margolotte. Then he told how he had set out to find the five different things which the Magician needed to make a charm that would restore the marble figures to life, one requirement being three hairs from a Woozy's tail.
"We found the Woozy," explained the boy, "and he agreed to give us the three hairs; but we couldn't pull them out. So we had to bring the Woozy along with us."
"I see," returned the Shaggy Man, who had listened with interest to the story. "But perhaps I, who am big and strong, can pull those three hairs from the Woozy's tail."
"Try it, if you like," said the Woozy.
So the Shaggy Man tried it, but pull as hard as he could he failed to get the hairs out of the Woozy's tail. So he sat down again and wiped his shaggy face with a shaggy silk handkerchief and said:
"It doesn't matter. If you can keep the Woozy until you get the rest of the things you need, you can take the beast and his three hairs to the Crooked Magician and let him find a way to extract 'em. What are the other things you are to find?"
"One," said Ojo, "is a six-leaved clover."
"You ought to find that in the fields around the Emerald City," said the Shaggy Man. "There is a Law against picking six-leaved clovers, but I think I can get Ozma to let you have one."
"Thank you," replied Ojo. "The next thing is the left wing of a yellow butterfly."
"For that you must go to the Winkie Country," the Shaggy Man declared. "I've never noticed any butterflies there, but that is the yellow country of Oz and it's ruled by a good friend of mine, the Tin Woodman."
"Oh, I've heard of him!" exclaimed Ojo. "He must be a wonderful man."
"So he is, and his heart is wonderfully kind. I'm sure the Tin Woodman will do all in his power to help you to save your Unc Nunkie and poor Margolotte."
"The next thing I must find," said the Munchkin boy, "is a gill of water from a dark well."
"Indeed! Well, that is more difficult," said the Shaggy Man, scratching his left ear in a puzzled way. "I've never heard of a dark well; have you?"
"No," said Ojo.
"Do you know where one may be found?" inquired the Shaggy Man.
"I can't imagine," said Ojo.
"Then we must ask the Scarecrow."
"The Scarecrow! But surely, sir, a scarecrow can't know anything."
"Most scarecrows don't, I admit," answered the Shaggy Man. "But this Scarecrow of whom I speak is very intelligent. He claims to possess the best brains in all Oz."
"Better than mine?" asked Scraps.
"Better than mine?" echoed the Glass Cat. "Mine are pink, and you can see 'em work."
"Well, you can't see the Scarecrow's brains work, but they do a lot of clever thinking," asserted the Shaggy Man.