Next moment the poor woman clasped her husband around the neck and cried:
"Save me, Henry, save me!"
"Can't even save myself, Em," he returned, in a husky voice, "for the animile looks as if it could eat both of us an' lick its chops for more! If I only had a gun--"
"Haven't you, Henry? Haven't you?" she asked anxiously.
"Nary gun, Em. So let's die as brave an' graceful as we can. I knew our luck couldn't last!"
"I won't die. I won't be eaten by a lion!" wailed Aunt Em, glaring upon the huge beast. Then a thought struck her, and she whispered, "Henry, I've heard as savage beastses can be conquered by the human eye. I'll eye that lion out o' countenance an' save our lives."
"Try it, Em," he returned, also in a whisper. "Look at him as you do at me when I'm late to dinner."
Aunt Em turned upon the Lion a determined countenance and a wild dilated eye. She glared at the immense beast steadily, and the Lion, who had been quietly blinking at them, began to appear uneasy and disturbed.
"Is anything the matter, ma'am?" he asked, in a mild voice.
At this speech from the terrible beast Aunt Em and Uncle Henry both were startled, and then Uncle Henry remembered that this must be the Lion they had seen in Ozma's Throne Room.
"Hold on, Em!" he exclaimed. "Quit the eagle eye conquest an' take courage. I guess this is the same Cowardly Lion Dorothy has told us about."
"Oh, is it?" she cried, much relieved.
"When he spoke, I got the idea; and when he looked so 'shamed like, I was sure of it," Uncle Henry continued.
Aunt Em regarded the animal with new interest.
"Are you the Cowardly Lion?" she inquired. "Are you Dorothy's friend?"
"Yes'm," answered the Lion, meekly. "Dorothy and I are old chums and are very fond of each other. I'm the King of Beasts, you know, and the Hungry Tiger and I serve Princess Ozma as her body guards."
"To be sure," said Aunt Em, nodding. "But the King of Beasts shouldn't be cowardly."
"I've heard that said before," remarked the Lion, yawning till he showed two great rows of sharp white teeth; "but that does not keep me from being frightened whenever I go into battle."
"What do you do, run?" asked Uncle Henry.
"No; that would be foolish, for the enemy would run after me," declared the Lion. "So I tremble with fear and pitch in as hard as I can; and so far I have always won my fight."
"Ah, I begin to understand," said Uncle Henry.
"Were you scared when I looked at you just now?" inquired Aunt Em.
"Terribly scared, madam," answered the Lion, "for at first I thought you were going to have a fit. Then I noticed you were trying to overcome me by the power of your eye, and your glance was so fierce and penetrating that I shook with fear."
This greatly pleased the lady, and she said quite cheerfully:
"Well, I won't hurt you, so don't be scared any more. I just wanted to see what the human eye was good for."
"The human eye is a fearful weapon," remarked the Lion, scratching his nose softly with his paw to hide a smile. "Had I not known you were Dorothy's friends I might have torn you both into shreds in order to escape your terrible gaze."
Aunt Em shuddered at hearing this, and Uncle Henry said hastily:
"I'm glad you knew us. Good morning, Mr. Lion; we'll hope to see you again--by and by--some time in the future."
"Good morning," replied the Lion, squatting down upon the lawn again. "You are likely to see a good deal of me, if you live in the Land of Oz."
8. How the Grand Gallipoot Joined The Nomes
After leaving the Whimsies, Guph continued on his journey and penetrated far into the Northwest. He wanted to get to the Country of the Growleywogs, and in order to do that he must cross the Ripple Land, which was a hard thing to do. For the Ripple Land was a succession of hills and valleys, all very steep and rocky, and they changed places constantly by rippling. While Guph was climbing a hill it sank down under him and became a valley, and while he was descending into a valley it rose up and carried him to the top of a hill.