the people found it out," Dorothy asked.
"I know," said Ojo. "Jellia Jamb told them. She has been asking everywhere if anyone has seen Ozma."
"That's too bad," observed Dorothy, frowning.
"Why?" asked Button-Bright.
"There wasn't any use making all our people unhappy till we were dead certain that Ozma can't be found."
"Pshaw," said Button-Bright, "it's nothing to get lost. I've been lost lots of times."
"That's true," admitted Trot, who knew that the boy had a habit of getting lost and then finding himself again, "but it's diff'rent with Ozma. She's the Ruler of all this big fairyland, and we're 'fraid that the reason she's lost is because somebody has stolen her away."
"Only wicked people steal," said Ojo. "Do you know of any wicked people in Oz, Dorothy?"
"No," she replied.
"They're here, though," cried Scraps, dancing up to them and then circling around the group. "Ozma's stolen; someone in Oz stole her; only wicked people steal; so someone in Oz is wicked!"
There was no denying the truth of this statement. The faces of all of them were now solemn and sorrowful. "One thing is sure," said Button-Bright after a time, "if Ozma has been stolen, someone ought to find her and punish the thief."
"There may be a lot of thieves," suggested Trot gravely, "and in this fairy country they don't seem to have any soldiers or policemen."
"There is one soldier," claimed Dorothy.
"He has green whiskers and a gun and is a Major-General, but no one is afraid of either his gun or his whiskers, 'cause he's so tender-hearted that he wouldn't hurt a fly."
"Well, a soldier is a soldier," said Betsy, "and perhaps he'd hurt a wicked thief if he wouldn't hurt a fly. Where is he?"
"He went fishing about two months ago and hasn't come back yet," explained Button-Bright.
"Then I can't see that he will be of much use to us in this trouble," sighed little Trot. "But p'raps Ozma, who is a fairy, can get away from the thieves without any help from anyone."
"She MIGHT be able to," answered Dorothy reflectively, "but if she had the power to do that, it isn't likely she'd have let herself be stolen. So the thieves must have been even more powerful in magic than our Ozma."
There was no denying this argument, and although they talked the matter over all the rest of that day, they were unable to decide how Ozma had been stolen against her will or who had committed the dreadful deed. Toward evening the Wizard came back, riding slowly upon the Sawhorse because he felt discouraged and perplexed. Glinda came later in her aerial chariot drawn by twenty milk-white swans, and she also seemed worried and unhappy. More of Ozma's friends joined them, and that evening they all had a big talk together. "I think," said Dorothy, "we ought to start out right away in search of our dear Ozma. It seems cruel for us to live comf'tably in her palace while she is a pris'ner in the power of some wicked enemy."
"Yes," agreed Glinda the Sorceress, "someone ought to search for her. I cannot go myself, because I must work hard in order to create some new instruments of sorcery by means of which I may rescue our fair Ruler. But if you can find her in the meantime and let me know who has stolen her, it will enable me to rescue her much more quickly."
"Then we'll start tomorrow morning," decided Dorothy. "Betsy and Trot and I won't waste another minute."
"I'm not sure you girls will make good detectives," remarked the Wizard, "but I'll go with you to protect you from harm and to give you my advice. All my wizardry, alas, is stolen, so I am now really no more a wizard than any of you, but I will try to protect you from any enemies you may meet."
"What harm could happen to us in Oz?" inquired Trot.
"What harm happened to Ozma?" returned the Wizard.
"If there is an Evil Power abroad in our fairyland, which is able to steal not only Ozma and her Magic Picture, but Glinda's Book of Records and all her magic, and my black bag containing all my tricks of wizardry, then that Evil Power may yet cause us considerable injury.