"Answer me!" cried the Sorceress.
But still Mombi remained silent.
"Perhaps she doesn't know," remarked Jack.
"I beg you will keep quiet," said Tip. "You might spoil everything with your foolishness."
"Very well, dear father!" returned the Pumpkinhead, meekly.
"How glad I am to be a Woggle-Bug!" murmured the Highly Magnified Insect, softly. "No one can expect wisdom to flow from a pumpkin."
"Well," said the Scarecrow, "what shall we do to make Mombi speak? Unless she tells us what we wish to know her capture will do us no good at all."
"Suppose we try kindness," suggested the Tin Woodman. "I've heard that anyone can be conquered with kindness, no matter how ugly they may be."
At this the Witch turned to glare upon him so horribly that the Tin Woodman shrank back abashed.
Glinda had been carefully considering what to do, and now she turned to Mombi and said:
"You will gain nothing, I assure you, by thus defying us. For I am determined to learn the truth about the girl Ozma, and unless you tell me all that you know, I will certainly put you to death."
"Oh, no! Don't do that!" exclaimed the Tin Woodman. "It would be an awful thing to kill anyone -- even old Mombi!"
"But it is merely a threat," returned Glinda. "I shall not put Mombi to death, because she will prefer to tell me the truth."
"Oh, I see!" said the tin man, much relieved.
"Suppose I tell you all that you wish to know,". said Mombi, speaking so suddenly that she startled them all. "What will you do with me then?"
"In that case," replied Glinda, "I shall merely ask you to drink a powerful draught which will cause you to forget all the magic you have ever learned."
"Then I would become a helpless old woman!"
"But you would be alive," suggested the Pumpkinhead, consolingly.
"Do try to keep silent!" said Tip, nervously.
"I'll try," responded Jack; "but you will admit that it's a good thing to be alive."
"Especially if one happens to be Thoroughly Educated," added the Woggle-Bug, nodding approval.
"You may make your choice," Glinda said to old Mombi, "between death if you remain silent, and the loss of your magical powers if you tell me the truth. But I think you will prefer to live.
Mombi cast an uneasy glance at the Sorceress, and saw that she was in earnest, and not to be trifled with. So she replied, slowly:
"I will answer your questions."
"That is what I expected," said Glinda, pleasantly. "You have chosen wisely, I assure you."
She then motioned to one of her Captains, who brought her a beautiful golden casket. From this
268 the Sorceress drew an immense white pearl, attached to a slender chain which she placed around her neck in such a way that the pearl rested upon her bosom, directly over her heart.
"Now," said she, "I will ask my first question: Why did the Wizard pay you three visits?"
"Because I would not come to him," answered Mombi.
"That is no answer," said Glinda, sternly. "Tell me the truth."
"Well," returned Mombi, with downcast eyes, "he visited me to learn the way I make tea-biscuits."
"Look up!" commanded the Sorceress.
"What is the color of my pearl?" demanded Glinda.
"Why -- it is black!" replied the old Witch, in a tone of wonder.
"Then you have told me a falsehood!" cried Glinda, angrily. "Only when the truth is spoken will my magic pearl remain a pure white in color."
Mombi now saw how useless it was to try to deceive the Sorceress; so she said, meanwhile scowling at her defeat:
"The Wizard brought to me the girl Ozma, who was then no more than a baby, and begged me to conceal the child."
"That is what I thought," declared Glinda, calmly. "What did he give you for thus serving him?"
"He taught me all the magical tricks he knew. Some were good tricks, and some were only frauds; but I have remained faithful to my promise."
"What did you do with the girl?" asked Glinda; and at this question everyone bent forward and listened eagerly for the reply.