"Still," said Scraps, reflectively:
"Yoop-te-hoop-te-loop-te-goop! Who put noodles in the soup? We may beware but we don't care, And dare go where we scare the Yoop."
"Dear me! Aren't you feeling a little queer, just now?" Dorothy asked the Patchwork Girl.
"Not queer, but crazy," said Ojo. "When she says those things I'm sure her brains get mixed somehow and work the wrong way.
"I don't see why we are told to beware the Yoop unless he is dangerous," observed the Scarecrow in a puzzled tone.
"Never mind; we'll find out all about him when we get to where he is," replied the little girl.
The narrow canyon turned and twisted this way and that, and the rift was so small that they were able to touch both walls at the same time by stretching out their arms. Toto had run on ahead, frisking playfully, when suddenly he uttered a sharp bark of fear and came running back to them with his tail between his legs, as dogs do when they are frightened.
"Ah," said the Scarecrow, who was leading the way, "we must be near Yoop."
Just then, as he rounded a sharp turn, the Straw man stopped so suddenly that all the others bumped against him.
"What is it?" asked Dorothy, standing on tip-toes to look over his shoulder. But then she saw what it was and cried "Oh!" in a tone of astonishment.
In one of the rock walls--that at their left-- was hollowed a great cavern, in front of which was a row of thick iron bars, the tops and bottoms being firmly fixed in the solid rock. Over this cavern was a big sign, which Dorothy read with much curiosity, speaking the words aloud that all might know what they said:
"MISTER YOOP--HIS CAVE
The Largest Untamed Giant in Captivity. Height, 21 Feet.--(And yet he has but 2 feet.) Weight, 1640 Pounds.--(But he waits all the time.) Age, 400 Years 'and Up' (as they say in the Department Store advertisements). Temper, Fierce and Ferocious.--(Except when asleep.) Appetite, Ravenous.--(Prefers Meat People and Orange Marmalade.)
STRANGERS APPROACHING THIS CAVE DO SO AT THEIR OWN PERIL!
P.S.--Don't feed the Giant yourself."
"Very well," said Ojo, with a sigh; "let's go back."
"It's a long way back," declared Dorothy.
"So it is," remarked the Scarecrow, "and it means a tedious climb over those sharp rocks if we can't use this passage. I think it will be best to run by the Giant's cave as fast as we can go. Mister Yoop seems to be asleep just now."
But the Giant wasn't asleep. He suddenly appeared at the front of his cavern, seized the iron bars in his great hairy hands and shook them until they rattled in their sockets. Yoop was so tall that our friends had to tip their heads way back to look into his face, and they noticed he was dressed all in pink velvet, with silver buttons and braid. The Giant's boots were of pink leather and had tassels on them and his hat was decorated with an enormous pink ostrich feather, carefully curled.
"Yo-ho!" he said in a deep bass voice; "I smell dinner."
"I think you are mistaken," replied the Scarecrow. "There is no orange marmalade around here."
"Ah, but I eat other things," asserted Mister Yoop. "That is, I eat them when I can get them. But this is a lonely place, and no good meat has passed by my cave for many years; so I'm hungry."
"Haven't you eaten anything in many years?" asked Dorothy.
"Nothing except six ants and a monkey. I thought the monkey would taste like meat people, but the flavor was different. I hope you will taste better, for you seem plump and tender."
"Oh, I'm not going to be eaten," said Dorothy.
"I shall keep out of your way," she answered.
"How heartless!" wailed the Giant, shaking the bars again. "Consider how many years it is since I've eaten a single plump little girl! They tell me meat is going up, but if I can manage to catch you I'm sure it will soon be going down. And I'll catch you if I can."
With this the Giant pushed his big arms, which looked like tree-trunks (except that tree- trunks don't wear pink velvet) between the iron bars, and the arms were so long that they touched the opposite wall of the rock passage. Then he extended them as far as he could reach toward our travelers and found he could almost touch the Scarecrow--but not quite.