Jus' as soon as one fades away, another comes, of a different sort, an' the perfume from 'em is mighty snifty, an' they keeps bloomin' night and day, year in an' year out."
"That's wonderful!" exclaimed Dorothy. "I think Ozma would like it."
"But where is the Magic Flower, and how can we get it?" asked Trot.
"Dun'no, zac'ly," slowly replied Cap'n Bill. "The Glass Cat tol' me about it only yesterday, an' said it was in some lonely place up at the nor'east o' here. The Glass Cat goes travelin' all around Oz, you know, an' the little critter sees a lot o' things no one else does."
"That's true," said Dorothy, thoughtfully. "Northeast of here must be in the Munchkin Country, and perhaps a good way off, so let's ask the Glass Cat to tell us how to get to the Magic Flower."
So the two girls, with Cap'n Bill stumping along on his wooden leg after them, went out into the garden, and after some time spent in searching, they found the Glass Cat curled up in the sunshine beside a bush, fast sleep.
The Glass Cat is one of the most curious creatures in all Oz. It was made by a famous magician named Dr. Pipt before Ozma had forbidden her subjects to work magic. Dr. Pipt had made the Glass Cat to catch mice, but the Cat refused to catch mice and was considered more curious than useful.
This astonished cat was made all of glass and was so clear and transparent that you could see through it as easily as through a window. In the top of its head, however, was a mass of delicate pink balls which looked like jewels but were intended for brains. It had a heart made of blood-red ruby. The eyes were two large emeralds. But, aside from these colors, all the rest of the animal was of clear glass, and it had a spun-glass tail that was really beautiful.
"Here, wake up," said Cap'n Bill. "We want to talk to you."
Slowly the Glass Cat got upon its feed, yawned and then looked at the three who stood before it.
"How dare you disturb me?" it asked in a peevish voice. "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves."
"Never mind that," returned the Sailor. "Do you remember tellin' me yesterday 'bout a Magic Flower in a Gold Pot?"
"Do you think I'm a fool? Look at my brains--you can see 'em work. Of course I remember!" said the cat.
"Well, where can we find it?"
"You can't. It's none of your business, anyhow. Go away and let me sleep," advised the Glass Cat.
"Now, see here," said Dorothy; "we want the Magic Flower to give to Ozma on her birthday. You'd be glad to please Ozma, wouldn't you?"
"I'm not sure," replied the creature. "Why should I want to please anybody?"
"You've got a heart, 'cause I can see it inside of you," said Trot.
"Yes; it's a pretty heart, and I'm fond of it," said the cat, twisting around to view its own body. "But it's made from a ruby, and it's hard as nails."
"Aren't you good for ANYthing?" asked Trot.
"Yes, I'm pretty to look at, and that's more than can be said of you," retorted the creature.
Trot laughed at this, and Dorothy, who understood the Glass Cat pretty well, said soothingly:
"You are indeed beautiful, and if you can tell Cap'n Bill where to find the Magic Flower, all the people in Oz will praise your cleverness. The Flower will belong to Ozma, but everyone will know the Glass Cat discovered it."
This was the kind of praise the crystal creature liked.
"Well," it said, while the pink brains rolled around, "I found the Magic Flower way up in the north of the Munchkin Country where few people live or ever go. There's a river there that flows through a forest, and in the middle of the forest there is a small island on which stands the gold pot in which grows the Magic Flower."
"How did you get to the island?" asked Dorothy. "Glass cats can't swim."
"No, but I'm not afraid of water," was the reply. "I just walked across the river on the bottom."
"Under the water?" exclaimed Trot.
The cat gave her a scornful look.
"How could I walk OVER the water on the BOTTOM of the river? If you were transparent, anyone could see YOUR brains were not working.