Note: This story was rewritten by Judy Shinohara. The original was written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum.
Chapter 1 – The Cyclone
Dorothy lived in the middle of Kansas. Kansas is a state in the USA and it has no hills or mountains. It has flat fields.
Dorothy lived with her Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. Their house was small and simple. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room. This room had a rusty stove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, four chairs and two beds.
Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy had a little bed in another corner. There was no closet and no basement. There was only a small hole in the ground, covered by a trap door. This hole is called a cyclone cellar. If a cyclone came, the family could go open the trap door and climb down the ladder. They would be safe in the small hole.
When Dorothy stood outside and looked around, she only saw gray fields. Not a tree or another house. The horizon was perfectly flat.
The sun had baked the land. The ground was cracked and the grass was not green. The house’s color also faded, so it was gray, too.
When Aunt Em came there to live, she was a young, pretty wife. The sun had changed her, too. Now her eyes, lips and cheeks were gray. She was thin and she never smiled.
Uncle Henry was gray, too. He had a long, gray beard and he always looked serious. He rarely spoke.
Dorothy came to Uncle Henry and Aunt Em because her parents died. Dorothy was an orphan.
Dorothy had been a playful child. Whenever she laughed, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry were surprised. They thought, “Why is she laughing? What is there to laugh at?”
Dorothy grew up in this home, but she never became gray. She had a dog, Toto. Toto had silky, black hair and a wet nose. Toto and Dorothy played all day long and they were happy together.
Today, however, they were not playing. Uncle Henry sat outside and looked nervously at the sky. Dorothy stood with Toto in her arms and looked at the sky, too.
The sky was grayer than usual, and the grass bowed because of the wind. The approaching storm sounded like a sharp whistle.
Uncle Henry stood up and shouted to his wife, “There’s a cyclone coming, Em. I’ll go check the livestock.” Then he ran towards the shed where the cows and horses were.
Aunt Em stopped cleaning and looked outside. She quickly sensed the dangerous storm. “Quick, Dorothy!” she screamed, “run to the cyclone cellar!”
Toto jumped from Dorothy’s arms and hid under the bed. Dorothy crouched down to try to grab him.
Aunt Em was very frightened and she threw open the trap door and climbed down the ladder.
Dorothy finally caught Toto. She started to follow her aunt. Before she reached the trap door, the wind screamed. The house shook so hard that Dorothy fell down on the floor.
Then, a strange thing happened.
The house whirled around. It spun two or three times and rose slowly though the air. Dorothy felt like she was going up in a ballon.
The north winds and the south winds met at the house and it became the exact center of the cyclone. The house rose up the cyclone. It rose higher and higher until it was at the very top of the cyclone. The house stayed at the top, and the cyclone carried it for miles and miles.
It was dark, and the wind whistled horribly. Dorothy tried to stay calm. The house spun and spun and sometimes tipped to the side. She felt like she was being rocked, like a baby in a cradle.
Toto did not like it. He ran around the room and he barked loudly.
Toto ran too closely to the open trap door, and he fell through.
Dorothy thought she lost him, but she saw his ears sticking up through the door. The pressure of the cyclone stopped him from falling. He just floated.
Dorothy crawled to Toto and grabbed his ear. She pulled him back into the room. She closed the trap door so that no more accidents would happen.
At first, Dorothy worried that the cyclone would throw the house, and they would die from the fall. But hour after hour passed, and Dorothy stopped worrying. She even began to feel lonely.
She waited and waited. At last, she crawled over the swaying floor to her bed. She lied down to sleep and Toto lied down next to her.