And so--Well, well! here's a little Munchkin boy, too. Shake hands, my little man. How are you?"
Ojo placed his hand in the flabby stuffed glove that served the Scarecrow for a hand, and the Scarecrow pressed it so cordially that the straw in his glove crackled.
Meantime, the Woozy had approached the Sawhorse and begun to sniff at it. The Sawhorse resented this familiarity and with a sudden kick pounded the Woozy squarely on its head with one gold-shod foot.
"Take that, you monster!" it cried angrily.
The Woozy never even winked.
"To be sure," he said; "I'll take anything I have to. But don't make me angry, you wooden beast, or my eyes will flash fire and burn you up."
The Sawhorse rolled its knot eyes wickedly and kicked again, but the Woozy trotted away and said to the Scarecrow:
"What a sweet disposition that creature has! I advise you to chop it up for kindling-wood and use me to ride upon. My back is flat and you can't fall off."
"I think the trouble is that you haven't been properly introduced," said the Scarecrow, regarding the Woozy with much wonder, for he had never seen such a queer animal before.
"The Sawhorse is the favorite steed of Princess Ozma, the Ruler of the Land of Oz, and he lives in a stable decorated with pearls and emeralds, at the rear of the royal palace. He is swift as the wind, untiring, and is kind to his friends. All the people of Oz respect the Sawhorse highly, and when I visit Ozma she sometimes allows me to ride him--as I am doing to-day. Now you know what an important personage the Sawhorse is, and if some one--perhaps yourself--will tell me your name, your rank and station, and your history, it will give me pleasure to relate them to the Sawhorse. This will lead to mutual respect and friendship."
The Woozy was somewhat abashed by this speech and did not know how to reply. But Ojo said:
"This square beast is called the Woozy, and he isn't of much importance except that he has three hairs growing on the tip of his tail."
The Scarecrow looked and saw that this was true.
"But," said he, in a puzzled way, "what makes those three hairs important? The Shaggy Man has thousands of hairs, but no one has ever accused him of being important."
So Ojo related the sad story of Unc Nunkie's transformation into a marble statue, and told how he had set out to find the things the Crooked Magician wanted, in order to make a charm that would restore his uncle to life. One of the requirements was three hairs from a Woozy's tail, but not being able to pull out the hairs they had been obliged to take the Woozy with them.
The Scarecrow looked grave as he listened and he shook his head several times, as if in disapproval.
"We must see Ozma about this matter," he said. "That Crooked Magician is breaking the Law by practicing magic without a license, and I'm not sure Ozma will allow him to restore your uncle to life."
"Already I have warned the boy of that," declared the Shaggy Man.
At this Ojo began to cry. "I want my Unc Nunkie!" he exclaimed. "I know how he can be restored to life, and I'm going to do it--Ozma or no Ozma! What right has this girl Ruler to keep my Unc Nunkie a statue forever?"
"Don't worry about that just now," advised the Scarecrow. "Go on to the Emerald City, and when you reach it have the Shaggy Man take you to see Dorothy. Tell her your story and I'm sure she will help you. Dorothy is Ozma's best friend, and if you can win her to your side your uncle is pretty safe to live again." Then he turned to the Woozy and said: "I'm afraid you are not important enough to be introduced to the Sawhorse, after all."
"I'm a better beast than he is," retorted the Woozy, indignantly. "My eyes can flash fire, and his can't."
"Is this true?" inquired the Scarecrow, turning to the Munchkin boy.
"Yes," said Ojo, and told how the Woozy had set fire to the fence.
"Have you any other accomplishments?" asked the Scarecrow.
"I have a most terrible growl--that is, sometimes," said the Woozy, as Scraps laughed merrily and the Shaggy Man smiled.