-Ruth Plumly Thompson
THE LOST KING OF OZ
List of Chapters
1 In Jolly Kimbaloo
2 Snip's Great Adventure
3 King Kinda Jolly Is Sad
4 In the Purple Forest
5 The Rolling Hoopers
6 In Catty Corners
7 The Magic Pudding
8 The Mysterious Message
9 In the Castle of Morrow
10 Dorothy and the Dummy
12 The Playful Scooters
13 Snip Meets the Blanks
14 The Old Tailor's Story
15 Kabumpo to the Rescue
16 Humpy Hailed as King
17 Mombi's Magic
18 Ozma's Odd Home-Coming
19 The Wizard Takes a Hand
20 The Lost King Is Found
21 The Grand Procession
In Jolly Kimbabo
THE KING OF KIMBALOO was kind'a jolly, and Kinda Jolly was the King of Kimbaloo. And no wonder he was kind'a jolly! He had made a great fortune in buttons, and had one of the coziest castles in Oz. It was set in the very center of a thick button wood in the Gilliken country, and had more chimneys and windows than any dozen castles I can think of.
The castle owed much of its coziness to Rosa Merry, the quaint little Queen of Kimbaloo, who kept it spick and spandy and simply blooming with flowers. This she could easily do, for in the castle garden grew a simply enormous bouquet bush, where old and new fashioned bouquets blossomed in bewildering profusion. There were violets and rosebuds edged with lace paper, lovely red roses tied with satin bows, daisies and daffodils, pinks and larkspur, and every other sort of delightful nosegay you could ever imagine. No matter how many were gathered, others immediately blossomed, so that Rosa Merry had made almost as much of a fortune in bouquets as Kinda had in buttons, and could have jelly-roll every lunch-time if she cared to.
There were some who thought the castle, built as it was of dark purple button wood, studded with rows and rows of bright buttons; extremely odd, but it suited Kinda Jolly and Rosa Merry right down to the cellar and the five hundred inhabitants of Kimbaloo thought it extremely magnificent. No doubt they were right. However that may be, anyone who had seen Kinda Jolly and Rosa Merry walking in the gardens on pleasant summer evenings would have had to admit they were the most lovable little couple in the land. Kinda was short and fat and Rosa was short and merry. They both dressed in the purple costumes of the Gillikens, but their robes were trimmed all over with buttons that chinked delightfully when they walked and almost dazzled one by the brilliance of their colors.
King Kinda's crown was made of silver buttons to match his whiskers and Rosa's was of gold to match her curls. Both had cheerful dispositions to match their crowns, so that life in Kimbaloo was cheerful for everyone. The Kimbles themselves lived in tiny cottages scattered about under the trees, and as they were all girls and boys, they were all happy and light hearted as birds in the button wood. Half of them worked for the King and half for the Queen. Yes, every morning, the two hundred and fifty merry little maids would run into the castle garden, where Rosa Merry would fill their arms with bouquets from the bouquet bush. Then away down the Queen's Highway, that led through the wood into the Winkie Country, they would hurry-and so charming and quaint were the Queen's little flower girls no one could help buying their posies. So by noon time they would come back with empty arms and heavy pockets and nothing to do for the rest of the day but swing in the hammocks or dance in the gardens.
The boys' work was almost as delightful. Every morning they would scamper into the button wood with Kinda Jolly and shake down a good crop of buttons. Then each button boy would fill his button box with a gay assortment and set off down the King's Highway to sell them to the good dames in the Gilliken Country. There are no stores in Oz, so they never had any trouble in disposing of their wares, especially the collar buttons. The men of the Gilliken country are as good at losing collar buttons as men in your own town, so by noon time the button boxes would be full of coins and button boys would come racing back to the castle with nothing more to do for the rest of the day but play quoits or "button-button-who's-got-the-button?"
Altogether, life in Kimbabo was as jolly as possible. Indeed, there was so much laughing to be done that King Kinda had a Town Laugher to help out on particularly funny days and to keep him from busting all the buttons from his purple vest. Yes sir, everybody in Kimbaloo was laughing and happy-excepting one and that person was the King's cook. Mombi never laughed at all, and how she came to be cook I will tell you at once. She was not a native of Kimbabo and, though no one in the kingdom knew it, Mombi was really an old Gilliken witch. Long ago, for her wicked transformations, she had been deprived of her magic powers by Glinda, the good sorceress, and given enough to live on honestly and comfortably.
But after you have been a witch all of your life, it is dreadfully hard to settle down to being just an ugly old woman. Mombi had stood it as long as she could, and then one day she had closed up her little hut at the foot of the Gilliken mountains, taken her crooked stick, and set out to seek a position as cook in one of the castles of Oz-for she felt that only among a great many kettles and cauldrons could she ever be contented or at home. Besides being cross and crooked, Mombi was so ugly and ill-tempered that most of the castle doors were slammed in her face, but one day she had come to Kimbaloo. Hobbling through the button wood she found King Kinda Jolly under a shoe button tree. Falling upon her knees Mombi begged him so hard to let her remain as cook that the gentle old monarch finally consented, though much against the advice of Hah Hoh, the Town Laugher. But Kinda, thinking her a poor and needy old woman, had kept her nevertheless, and as Mombi, like many another old witch, was an excellent cook, he had never regretted his bargain. In spite of her wonderful cooking no one had ever grown really fond of her, but she was treated with consideration and respect and allowed to do pretty much as she pleased in the castle kitchen.
So while everyone else in the kingdom was being useful and happy, Mombi went muttering and sputtering about among the pots and kettles and every minute when she was not cooking she was trying to remember her magic formulas, mixing pepper with onions, onions with cinders, and cinders with suspender buttons. But stir as she would, nothing ever came of it, for Mombi had forgotten every witch word she had ever known. She knew a good many other words, however, and said very nearly all of them when her magic failed to work, flinging her stick into the air and hopping up and down with rage and disappointment. But as she never allowed anyone in the kitchen but herself, there was no one to witness her shocking behavior, until Snip, one of the King's button boys, climbing through the window one afternoon to steal a cooky, caught her right in the midst of a frightful incantation.
The king shall be a collar button!"
That was what Snip heard Mombi mumble, bending over a peppery mixture on the fire. So dreadful was her expression as she scowled into the frying pan that Snip tumbled from the window sill into a rose bush. Picking himself up, he rushed down the garden path convinced that the King was done for. But there was Kinda Jolly, with his silver crown, walking calmly under the button trees. Snip looked again to be sure Kinda was not turning to a collar button and then, a little ashamed of being so easily frightened, he crept back to the ledge to see what Mombi would do next. He was just in time to see her fling the frying pan down the cellar steps and kick over a basket of potatoes. Then, grumbling and snarling and rubbing her shins, she limped into the garden to fetch the goose Kinda Jolly had bought for dinner-for magic or no magic the cooking had to be attended to. The goose had come straight from a neighboring farm and was still in the flimsy wooden crate. Scowling and scolding, Mombi slammed the crate on the table and ripped off the top slats.
As soon as the slats were removed, the goose thrust its head out of the crate and peered about the kitchen. As he looked at the big white bird, Snip had a feeling that there was something human about him. The old witch-cook made a grab at the bobbing white head.
"Help!" squawked the luckless bird, as Mombi seized it roughly by the feathers. Then, catching a really good look at Mombi, it reared up its neck till its eyes were on a level with her own. "YOU!" cried the goose, so shrilly that Snip's hair rose up and waved to and fro under his stiff little hat. He was not surprised to hear the goose talk, for all beasts and birds in the Land of Oz converse, but its next words were so strange and mysterious the little button boy nearly lost his balance again.
"Woman!" hissed the goose, thrusting its bill under Mombi's long nose, "Woman, what have you done with the King?"
Snip's Great Adventure
THE King! Poor Snip, crouched uncomfortably on the narrow sill, trembled with terror, for this time he was sure Mombi's incantation had taken effect and had turned King Kinda to a collar button. Mombi herself seemed as astonished as he. Dropping her hands at her sides, she peered sharply at the great white goose.
"Well!" wheezed the old witch, blinking her eyes rapidly, "Well, if it isn't Pajuka, and simple as ever he was!"
"Whose fault is that?" complained the goose bitterly. "Who took away my elegant figure and gave me this ridiculous shape?"
"You always were a goose," sniffed Mombi. "All you needed was a bill and feathers. You're one of the best transformations I ever did," she added proudly. "What are you fussing about anyway?"
"Would you like to be a goose?" asked the bird indignantly. "I should think you'd be ashamed of yourself, you old Scundermutch!"
"I don't care a waffle what you think," retorted Mombi, "but if you care to think anything more, be quick about it, for your time has come."
"Time?" puffed the goose. "What time?"
"Dinner time," said Moinbi unfeelingly. "You are tired of being a goose. Well then, you shall be a dinner and I trust you will pan out well!"
"Dinner!" screamed the goose, fluttering all of his feathers. "You wouldn't dare serve me for dinner. I'm a Prime Minister and you know it."
"Prime goose, you mean," snickered Mombi, reaching behind the table for the ax.
Now all this, as you may well imagine, was frightfully interesting to Snip. Raising himself on his elbow he saw the two glaring furiously at one another.
"Don't sass me woman!" hissed Pajuka, flapping his wings.
"I'll apple sass you," sneered Momhi. "The sooner you are roasted the better. You know far too much." She made a snatch at the goose, but Pajuka, with a quick flounce, freed himself from the crate and soared into the air.
"Help! Help! This woman is a witch," he honked loudly. "Help. Help!"
"Hush!" raged the old woman, dropping the ax and running to slam the door. "Do you want to rouse the castle?" It was her turn to be alarmed now, for in Kimbabo Mombi enjoyed more privileges than she would anywhere else, and she was not anxious to have it known that she was a witch and so be turned out of the kingdom. "Be quiet I tell you," she wheezed angrily. "What are you making such a racket about?"
"Mombi a witch!" Snip could hardly believe his ears, but frightened as he was he could not help chuckling. "Who wouldn't make a fuss at roasting," thought Snip, peering around the edge of the sill to see what Pajuka would do. The goose had settled on a cupboard high above Mombi's head.
"Very well," he breathed heavily. "I will be quiet, but now you will listen to me. I demand that you instantly restore my proper shape or-" He gave a loud squawk that made Mombi leap a foot into the air.
"How can I? How can I?" chattered the witch, wringing her hands. "I've forgotten all my witchcraft. Do you suppose I'd be here as a cook if I had my magic powers, you ridiculous old bird!" Snip could see Pajuka's eyes grow round as buttons at this dismal news.
"What?" wailed the unhappy goose. "Must I continue forever to lead this simple life? Must I associate with ducks and farmers to the end of my days?"
"You ought to be glad you're alive at all," mumbled Mombi uncomfortably. These words had a startling effect on Pajuka.
"Ah!" groaned the goose remorsefully. "Here I've been thinking of myself when it is the King who matters." And stretching his long neck he repeated the question that had so alarmed Snip in the first place. "Woman!" rasped Pajuka hoarsely, "Woman, what have you done with the King?"
"Not so loud," begged Mombi, raising her stick and glancing uneasily over her shoulder, as if she half suspected someone were listening. Then, seeing Pajuka was going to honk again, she added defiantly, "I don't remember what I did with him!"
Now Snip, who loved King Kinda Jolly with all his heart, was stunned at this dreadful news. Undecided whether to run for help or stay and listen, he finally decided to stay and crept close to the inner edge of the sill.
Pajuka seemed stunned too. "How frightful," choked the goose dolefully, "how careless of you to mislay the King. How dare you forget?"
"Well, there's no use quarreling about it," grumbled Mombi. "Who cares anyway? Ozma is Queen now and nobody even remembers there was a King of Oz!"
"Of Oz!" Snip, between relief at finding nothing had happened to King Kinda Jolly and shock at the old witch's words, lost his hold on the window bars and fell straight into Mombi's arms.
"A spy!" shrieked Mombi, beginning to shake him backward and forward. "A spy!"
"Now who's making a racket," demanded Pajuka triumphantly. "Keep that up and you'll have the whole castle about our ears. Besides, if he's a spy, where is his spy glass?"
"Idiot!" hissed Mombi, but she lowered her voice and stopped shaking Snip. "Why, you're as simple as you look," she muttered contemptuously.
"And you're as wicked," retorted the goose, staring sharply at Snip. "Let that boy alone or I'll honk my head off." Snip's ears were buzzing from the shaking and he looked gratefully at Pajuka.
"Do you think I'm going to let him carry his tales to Kinda Jolly? No sir! Into the soup kettle with him," puffed Mombi, rushing Snip toward the stove. But at her first step, the white goose flung himself at her head with such an outcry that she stopped at once.
"Let the boy alone," panted Pajuka. Then, seeing that it was useless to appeal to Mombi's goodness he began to appeal to her badness. "The King will reward you generously, if you restore him to the throne," began Pajuka craftily. "Nothing is to be gained by this quarreling. Let us put our heads together and find the King of Oz."
Still holding Snip tightly by the wrist, Mombi sank upon a crooked stool and, half closing her eyes, began to think of the bad old days before little Ozma was Queen-the bad old days when witches had been free to practice their arts and she herself was one of the most powerful witches in the land.
"I'll do it!" declared Mombi suddenly. "But how shall we find him when I forget what I have done with him?"
"I'd know him anywhere," gulped Pajuka, two tears dropping off the end of his bill. "Haven't I been hunting him all these years?"
"Yes, but I think he is transformed," muttered Mombi uneasily. "If the King is not himself how do you expect to recognize him?"
"I'd know him in any shape," insisted the goose. "But try-try to remember. You turned Ozma to a boy and me to a goose. What did you do with the King?"
So interested had the two become by this time, they had almost forgotten the presence of Snip. But Snip was listening with all his might, his ears fairly tingling with curiosity. The lad, like many another Gilliken boy, was perfectly familiar with the history of Oz. For while they gathered buttons in the wood, King Kinda had read them many a strange chapter from the big purple history books.
Snip knew that Oz was a great oblong Kingdom divided into four parts with the capital, a splendid Emerald City, in the exact center. The Northern Land was the Gilliken country and Kimbaloo was but one of the many kingdoms in that interesting section. The Eastern part of Oz belonged to the Winkies; the Southern country was the Quadling Country; while the Western lands belonged to the Munchkins. Snip knew the names of the rulers of Oz as well as you know the names of the Presidents-perhaps even better-for as only a part of Oz history has been written down there have not been so many. The first ruler mentioned was the famous Wizard of Oz, who had flown to the marvelous country in a balloon from Omaha. It was the Wizard who had built the famous Emerald City, and who had given Ozma, the little girl ruler, into the keeping of an old witch. This witch had already captured the King, Ozma's father, and very little was known about the royal gentleman.
The Wizard had ruled Oz for years. At last, desiring to return to America, he had made the Scarecrow Emperor. This lively man of straw had held the throne until captured by an ambitious girl named Jinjur, and her army of girls. But Jinjur was only ruler for a few days and was herself captured by Glinda, the good sorceress of the South, to whom the scarecrow had gone for help. Glinda, looking through her magic record books, had discovered that Ozma, who had been deposed by the Wizard, was still in the old witch's clutches. So Glinda had compelled her to restore Ozma to the throne. The witch had transformed the little Princess into a boy named Tip, but was forced by Glinda to disenchant her and amid general rejoicing Ozma was proclaimed Queen of Oz and had been ruler ever since, while the old witch had been deprived of her magic powers and banished from the Emerald City forever.
The Wizard of Oz had later returned and become one of Ozma's most trusted counselors, regretting exceedingly his part in giving her to the witch. As Snip listened, all of these facts went scurrying through his head, and while Professor Wogglebug in his history had neglected to put in the witch's name, looking at the dreadful old woman beside him, Snip realized with a shudder that Mombi was that witch.
It had been generally supposed that the King, Ozma's father, had been utterly destroyed by Mombi's magic, but if what Pajuka said were true, the King in some shape or other was still alive and the rightful ruler of Oz, while this faithful goose was his prime minister. Snip longed to run to Kinda Jolly with the amazing news and to warn him against Mombi herself, but the old hag had him fast by the wrist, so there was nothing to do but listen. Even this was becoming harder and harder, for Mombi and Pajuka had lowered their voices to a whisper. Just as Snip had determined to jerk away and make a run for it, Mombi sprang to her feet.
"We'll start at once!" she cried determinedly, and jerking off her cook's cap and without releasing her hold on Snip, she snatched her peaked witch hat from a low cupboard and set it jauntily on the side of her head. Then, dragging Snip with her, she began hobbling about the kitchen, collecting pepper shakers, mustard boxes, spices, herbs and various other supplies from the shelves. These she tossed quickly into a basket with a loaf of bread, a cold chicken and some cheese.
"C'mon!" croaked the witch, motioning to Pajuka. "C'mon before anyone misses us.
"What about the boy?" asked the goose doubtfully.
"Let him carry the basket," snapped the witch.
Thrusting the basket into Snip's hands, Mombi gave him such a glare that the poor lad's heart dropped into his boots. Then, grabbing him by the sleeve, she rushed him through the door leading into the kitchen garden. A high hedge surrounded the garden, so no one saw them go. The garden ran down to the edge of a gloomy forest. Into this forest plunged Mombi, Pajuka waddling and flying after her and poor Snip, casting many longing glances over his shoulder at the dear old castle of Kimbaloo where life had been so carefree and so merry.
It is one thing to set out on a journey of adventures yourself, but to be dragged away against your will by a wicked old witch is another pair of pickles entirely, and though Snip was as brave as the next fellow he could not keep back his tears at parting from Kinda Jolly, Rosa Merry and his many gay comrades in the button wood.
King Kinda Jolly Is Sad
WHILE all this was happening in the King's kitchen, Kinda Jolly sat cheerfully on his throne, talking to his pretty little Queen.
"Rosa, my dear," smiled Kinda, tugging at his silver whiskers, "guess what we're going to have for dinner."
Rosa Merry, who was sewing a button on the King's suspenders, paused with her needle in the air.
"What does it begin with?" asked Rosa curiously. The Queen simply doted on a riddle.
"With a G," answered Kinda Jolly, leaning down to pat Trippsy, his pet foot stool, Trippsy is the only live footstool, I think, I have ever heard of. He followed Kinda wherever he went, which was fortunate, for the King's legs were so short that no matter how low the chair or bench, his feet never touched the floor. In some ways Trippsy was a more useful pet than a dog. He never chased cats, nor got into fights, nor barked, except a few shins, so that Kinda Jolly was awfully fond of him.
"Is it a goat?" giggled Rosa Merry, biting off her thread.
"Goat!" sputtered Kinda Jolly. "I should say not! Trippsy, old boy, she says we're going to have goat for dinner." Trippsy, who had been to market with the King-Kinda being one of those dear old fashioned fellows who do their own marketing-waved his tassel faintly to show that he appreciated the joke, while General Whiffenpuff, the King's body guard, and Hah Hoh, the Town Laugher burst into loud roars of merriment.
"Guess again," invited Kinda Jolly, putting his finger tips together, and beaming on his pretty wife.
"Grapes, glue, gum drops?" ventured the Queen, puckering up her forehead. "Gravy, ginger, griddle cakes. I know, it's griddle cakes!"
"Grapes and glue and griddle cakes
Will give us frightful stomach aches!
Ginger, grapes and glue and gravy
Oh, some kind doctor come and save ye!"
That was the best that Hah Hoh could think of, but they all laughed so loud that seven little button boys stuck their heads in the window to see what all the fun was about.
"Well, do you give it up?" asked Kinda, after Rosa had made seven more merry guesses.
"Yes," said the Queen, shaking her head till the curls flew out in every direction. "What is it?"
"A goose!" puffed Kinda Jolly, settling back comfortably on his throne. "The finest, fattest goose you ever saw in your life. Cost me a thousand gold buttons," he finished, smacking his lips and winking at General Whiffenpuff. The General, who was fonder of eating than of anything else, began to pat his stomach absently and Trippsy, though far too well stuffed to require food, gave a skip of satisfaction that nearly upset the King.
"Roast goose and apple sauce," mused Kinda, regaining his balance. "Yum-yum, Whiffen, old rascal, just step out to the pantry, and see how the dinner's progressing. It's high time our goose was cooked, and I for one am hungry as a hippogriff." They were still laughing at Hah Hoh's jokes, when Whiffenpuff returned, but one look at the General sobered them at once.
"Guess what we're going to have for dinner?" panted Whiffenpuff, very red in the face from his hurry.
"What?" asked Rosa in surprise.
"Nuthin' " gulped the General dolefully. "The dinner's not going, it's GONE! Our goose is hooked, tooked, crooked," finished Whiffen-puff, forgetting his grammar entirely. (Of course, we have known this all along, but it was a great shock to the King.)