"They know you are wrong to make such an absurd statement, and they will probably think you are a lobster instead of a crab," retorted the animal.
At this taunt the crab reached out its other claw and seized the zebra's ear, and the creature gave a cry of pain and began prancing up and down, trying to shake off the crab, which clung fast.
"Stop pinching!" cried the zebra. "You promised not to pinch if I would carry you here!"
"And you promised to treat me respectfully," said the crab, letting go the ear.
"Well, haven't I?" demanded the zebra.
"No; you called me a lobster," said the crab.
"Ladies and gentlemen," continued the zebra, "please pardon my poor friend, because he is ignorant and stupid, and does not understand. Also the pinch of his claw is very annoying. So pray tell him that the world contains more land than water, and when he has heard your judgment I will carry him back and dump him into his pool, where I hope he will be more modest in the future."
"But we cannot tell him that," said Dorothy, gravely, "because it would not be true."
"What!" exclaimed the zebra, in astonishment; "do I hear you aright?"
"The soft-shell crab is correct," declared the Wizard. "There is considerably more water than there is land in the world."
"Impossible!" protested the zebra. "Why, I can run for days upon the land, and find but little water."
"Did you ever see an ocean?" asked Dorothy.
"Never," admitted the zebra. "There is no such thing as an ocean in the Land of Oz."
"Well, there are several oceans in the world," said Dorothy, "and people sail in ships upon these oceans for weeks and weeks, and never see a bit of land at all. And the joggerfys will tell you that all the oceans put together are bigger than all the land put together."
At this the crab began laughing in queer chuckles that reminded Dorothy of the way Billina sometimes cackled.
"NOW will you give up, Mr. Zebra?" it cried, jeeringly; "now will you give up?"
The zebra seemed much humbled.
"Of course I cannot read geographys," he said.
"You could take one of the Wizard's School Pills," suggested Billina, "and that would make you learned and wise without studying."
The crab began laughing again, which so provoked the zebra that he tried to shake the little creature off. This resulted in more ear-pinching, and finally Dorothy told them that if they could not behave they must go back to the forest.
"I'm sorry I asked you to decide this question," said the zebra, crossly. "So long as neither of us could prove we were right we quite enjoyed the dispute; but now I can never drink at that pool again without the soft-shell crab laughing at me. So I must find another drinking place."
"Do! Do, you ignoramus!" shouted the crab, as loudly as his little voice would carry. "Rile some other pool with your clumsy hoofs, and let your betters alone after this!"
Then the zebra trotted back to the forest, bearing the crab with him, and disappeared amid the gloom of the trees. And as it was now getting dark the travelers said good night to one another and went to bed.
Dorothy awoke just as the light was beginning to get strong next morning, and not caring to sleep any later she quietly got out of bed, dressed herself, and left the tent where Aunt Em was yet peacefully slumbering.
Outside she noticed Billina busily pecking around to secure bugs or other food for breakfast, but none of the men in the other tent seemed awake. So the little girl decided to take a walk in the woods and try to discover some path or road that they might follow when they again started upon their journey.
She had reached the edge of the forest when the Yellow Hen came fluttering along and asked where she was going.
"Just to take a walk, Billina; and maybe I'll find some path," said Dorothy.
"Then I'll go along," decided Billina, and scarcely had she spoken when Toto ran up and joined them.
Toto and the Yellow Hen had become quite friendly by this time, although at first they did not get along well together.