"I've raised chickens for nearly forty years, Billina, and I know you've got to starve 'em to make 'em lay lots of eggs, and stuff 'em if you want good broilers."
"Broilers!" exclaimed Billina, in horror. "Broil my chickens!"
"Why, that's what they're for, ain't it?" asked Aunt Em, astonished.
"No, Aunt, not in Oz," said Dorothy. "People do not eat chickens here. You see, Billina was the first hen that was ever seen in this country, and I brought her here myself. Everybody liked her an' respected her, so the Oz people wouldn't any more eat her chickens than they would eat Billina."
"Well, I declare," gasped Aunt Em. "How about the eggs?"
"Oh, if we have more eggs than we want to hatch, we allow people to eat them," said Billina. "Indeed, I am very glad the Oz folks like our eggs, for otherwise they would spoil."
"This certainly is a queer country," sighed Aunt Em.
"Excuse me," called the Sawhorse, "the path has ended and I'd like to know which way to go."
They looked around and sure enough there was no path to be seen.
"Well," said Dorothy, "we're going southwest, and it seems just as easy to follow that direction without a path as with one."
"Certainly," answered the Sawhorse. "It is not hard to draw the wagon over the meadow. I only want to know where to go."
"There's a forest over there across the prairie," said the Wizard, "and it lies in the direction we are going. Make straight for the forest, Sawhorse, and you're bound to go right."
So the wooden animal trotted on again and the meadow grass was so soft under the wheels that it made easy riding. But Dorothy was a little uneasy at losing the path, because now there was nothing to guide them.
No houses were to be seen at all, so they could not ask their way of any farmer; and although the Land of Oz was always beautiful, wherever one might go, this part of the country was strange to all the party.
"Perhaps we're lost," suggested Aunt Em, after they had proceeded quite a way in silence.
"Never mind," said the Shaggy Man; "I've been lost many a time--and so has Dorothy--and we've always been found again."
"But we may get hungry," remarked Omby Amby. "That is the worst of getting lost in a place where there are no houses near."
"We had a good dinner at the Fuddle town," said Uncle Henry, "and that will keep us from starving to death for a long time."
"No one ever starved to death in Oz," declared Dorothy, positively; "but people may get pretty hungry sometimes."
The Wizard said nothing, and he did not seem especially anxious. The Sawhorse was trotting along briskly, yet the forest seemed farther away than they had thought when they first saw it. So it was nearly sundown when they finally came to the trees; but now they found themselves in a most beautiful spot, the wide-spreading trees being covered with flowering vines and having soft mosses underneath them. "This will be a good place to camp," said the Wizard, as the Sawhorse stopped for further instructions.
"Camp!" they all echoed.
"Certainly," asserted the Wizard. "It will be dark before very long and we cannot travel through this forest at night. So let us make a camp here, and have some supper, and sleep until daylight comes again."
They all looked at the little man in astonishment, and Aunt Em said, with a sniff:
"A pretty camp we'll have, I must say! I suppose you intend us to sleep under the wagon."
"And chew grass for our supper," added the Shaggy Man, laughing.
But Dorothy seemed to have no doubts and was quite cheerful
"It's lucky we have the wonderful Wizard with us," she said; "because he can do 'most anything he wants to."
"Oh, yes; I forgot we had a Wizard," said Uncle Henry, looking at the little man curiously.
"I didn't," chirped Billina, contentedly.
The Wizard smiled and climbed out of the wagon, and all the others followed him.
"In order to camp," said he, "the first thing we need is tents. Will some one please lend me a handkerchief?"
The Shaggy Man offered him one, and Aunt Em another.