"What an absurd creature!" he exclaimed.
"He may look absurd," said the Prince, in his quiet voice; "but he is an excellent Sorcerer. The only fault I find with him is that he is so often wrong."
"I am never wrong," answered the Sorcerer.
"Only a short time ago you told me there would be no more Rain of Stones or of People," said the Prince.
"Well, what then?"
"Here is another person descended from the air to prove you were wrong."
"One person cannot be called 'people,'" said the Sorcerer. "If two should come out of the sky you might with justice say I was wrong; but unless more than this one appears I will hold that I was right."
"Very clever," said the Wizard, nodding his head as if pleased. "I am delighted to find humbugs inside the earth, just the same as on top of it. Were you ever with a circus, brother?"
"No," said the Sorcerer.
"You ought to join one," declared the little man seriously. "I belong to Bailum & Barney's Great Consolidated Shows--three rings in one tent and a menagerie on the side. It's a fine aggregation, I assure you."
"What do you do?" asked the Sorcerer.
"I go up in a balloon, usually, to draw the crowds to the circus. But I've just had the bad luck to come out of the sky, skip the solid earth, and land lower down than I intended. But never mind. It isn't everybody who gets a chance to see your Land of the Gabazoos."
"Mangaboos," said the Sorcerer, correcting him. "If you are a Wizard you ought to be able to call people by their right names."
"Oh, I'm a Wizard; you may be sure of that. Just as good a Wizard as you are a Sorcerer."
"That remains to be seen," said the other.
"If you are able to prove that you are better," said the Prince to the little man, "I will make you the Chief Wizard of this domain. Otherwise--"
"What will happen otherwise?" asked the Wizard.
"I will stop you from living and forbid you to be planted," returned the Prince.
"That does not sound especially pleasant," said the little man, looking at the one with the star uneasily. "But never mind. I'll beat Old Prickly, all right."
"My name is Gwig," said the Sorcerer, turning his heartless, cruel eyes upon his rival. "Let me see you equal the sorcery I am about to perform."
He waved a thorny hand and at once the tinkling of bells was heard, playing sweet music. Yet, look where she would, Dorothy could discover no bells at all in the great glass hall.
The Mangaboo people listened, but showed no great interest. It was one of the things Gwig usually did to prove he was a sorcerer.
Now was the Wizard's turn, so he smiled upon the assemblage and asked:
"Will somebody kindly loan me a hat?"
No one did, because the Mangaboos did not wear hats, and Zeb had lost his, somehow, in his flight through the air.
"Ahem!" said the Wizard, "will somebody please loan me a handkerchief?"
But they had no handkerchiefs, either.
"Very good," remarked the Wizard. "I'll use my own hat, if you please. Now, good people, observe me carefully. You see, there is nothing up my sleeve and nothing concealed about my person. Also, my hat is quite empty." He took off his hat and held it upside down, shaking it briskly.
"Let me see it," said the Sorcerer.
He took the hat and examined it carefully, returning it afterward to the Wizard.
"Now," said the little man, "I will create something out of nothing."
He placed the hat upon the glass floor, made a pass with his hand, and then removed the hat, displaying a little white piglet no bigger than a mouse, which began to run around here and there and to grunt and squeal in a tiny, shrill voice.
The people watched it intently, for they had never seen a pig before, big or little. The Wizard reached out, caught the wee creature in his hand, and holding its head between one thumb and finger and its tail between the other thumb and finger he pulled it apart, each of the two parts becoming a whole and separate piglet in an instant.
He placed one upon the floor, so that it could run around, and pulled apart the other, making three piglets in all; and then one of these was pulled apart, making four piglets.