Chapter 2 – The Council with The Munchkins
She woke up by a shock. The shock was sharp and sudden. If she hadn’t been lying on the soft bed, she might have been hurt.
Toto whined and put his cold, wet nose on Dorothy’s face.
Dorothy sat up. The house was not moving. And it was not dark.
Bright sunshine came in through the window. She jumped from her bed. Toto followed Dorothy at her heels, and she ran and opened the door.
She cried out in amazement. Her eyes opened wide because of the wonderful sights.
The cyclone had set the house down in the middle of a beautiful country. There were green plants and tall tree with delicious fruit. There were flower patches all around. Birds with colorful feathers sang in the trees and bushes. There was a brook. The brook’s water was flowing gently and sparkling.
Dorothy appreciated the sights and sounds because she lived a long time in the dry, gray Kansas fields.
Suddenly, she noticed a group of strange people coming toward her.
They were not as big as adults. They were about the same height as Dorothy, but their faces looked very old.
Three were men and one was a woman. All of them were oddly dressed. They wore big hats that were round on the bottom and pointed at the top. The bottom of the hats had little bells that made noise as they walked. The noise was a sweet tinkle. The hats of the men were blue and their clothes were blue. The little woman’s hat was white and she wore a white gown with sparkly stars.
The men, Dorothy thought, were as old as Uncle Henry. The woman might be even older because her face had many wrinkles and her hair was nearly white. She also walked stiffly.
These people walked toward Dorothy, but stopped as if they were afraid. They whispered to themselves. Only the woman walked up to Dorothy. The old woman bowed. In a sweet voice, she said,
“Welcome, noble Sorceress. Welcome to the land of the Munchkins. We are so grateful to you for killing the Wicked Witch of the East. You set our people free.”
Dorothy listened to this speech with wonder. What did the little woman mean? Did she call Dorothy a sorceress? Did she say that Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch of the East?
Dorothy was an innocent, harmless little girl. Dorothy had never killed anything before.
Dorothy said, with hesitation, “You are very kind, but there must be some mistake. I have not killed anything.”
“Your house did, anyway,” replied the little old woman, with a laugh. “See!” She pointed to the corner of the house.
“There are her two toes, still sticking out from under your house.”
Dorothy looked and cried out. She saw that, indeed, there were two feet sticking out from under her house. The feet had silver, pointy shoes.
“Oh, dear! Oh, dear!” cried Dorothy. She clasped her hands together. “The house must have fallen on her. What should we do?”
“There is nothing to do,” said the little woman calmly.
“But who was she?” asked Dorothy.
“I already said that she was the Wicked Witch of the East,” answered the little woman. “She made all the Munchkins her slaves for many years. She made them work for her every day and night. Now they are free, and grateful to you.”
“Who are the Munchkins?” asked Dorothy.
“They are the people who live in this land of the East.”
“Are you a Munchkin?” asked Dorothy.
“No, but I am their friend, although I live in the land of the North. When they saw the Witch of the East was dead, the Munchkins sent a swift message to me, and I came at once. I am the Witch of the North.”
“Oh, gracious!” cried Dorothy. “Are you a real witch?”
“Yes, indeed,” answered the little woman. “But I am a good witch and the people love me. I am not as powerful as the Wicked Witch of the East. If I had the power, I would have set the Munchkins free myself.”
“But I though all witches were wicked,” said Dorothy.
“Oh, no. That is a great mistake. There were only four witches in the Land of Oz, and two of them are good witches. I know this is true because I am one of the good witches. The other good witch is the Witch of the South. The witches of the East and West are wicked. But you killed the Witch of the East, so now there is only one wicked witch in all the Land of Oz.”
Dorothy thought for a moment. “But, Aunt Em told me that the witches were all dead – years and years ago.”
“Who is Aunt Em?” asked the little old woman.
“She is my aunt who lives in Kansas, where I came from.”
The Witch of the North looked down and thought for some time. Then, she looked up and said,
“I do no know where Kansas is. I have never heard of that country before. Tell me, is it a civilized country?”
“Oh, yes,” replied Dorothy.
“Then that is the reason. In the civilized countries, there are no witches left. No witches, nor wizards, nor sorceresses, nor magicians. But, you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized. We are cut off from the rest of the world. Therefore, we still have witches and wizards.”
“Who are the wizards?” asked Dorothy.
“Oz is the Great Wizard,” answered the witch, whispering. “He is more powerful than all of us together. He lives in the City of Emeralds.”
Dorothy was going to ask another question, but a Munchkin suddenly shouted and pointed to the corner of the house.
“What is it?” asked the little old woman. She looked and began to laugh.
The feet of the dead Witch of the East had disappeared. Only the silver shoes were left.
“She was so old,” explained the Witch of the North. “She dried up quickly in the sun. That is the end of her. But the silver shoes are yours and you can wear them.” She reached down and picked up the shoes. She shook the dust off and handed them to Dorothy.
“The Witch of the East was proud of those silver shoes,” said one of the Munchkins. “And there is some magic in them. But we don’t know what kind of magic.”
Dorothy carried the shoes into the house and placed them on the table. Then, she came out again and said:
“I am anxious to get back to my Aunt and Uncle. I’m sure that they will worry about me. Can you help me get home?”
The Munchkins and the Witch looked at each other. They looked back at Dorothy and shook their heads.
“To the East,” said one Munchkin, “there is a great desert. No one could cross it alive.”
“It is the same to the South,” said another Munchkin. “I have been there and seen it. The South is the country of the Quadlings.”
“I heard,” said the third Munchkin, “that it is the same to the West. That is the country where the Winkies live and it is ruled by the Wicked Witch of the West. If you passed, she would make you her slave.”
“The North is my home,” said the old witch, “and at the edge is the same great desert. The Land of Oz is surrounded by the desert. I’m afraid, my dear, you will have to live with us.”
Dorothy heard this and began to cry. She felt lonely among all these strange people.
The kind-hearted Munchkins saw her crying and they began to weep, too.
The little old woman took off her hat. She balanced the point on the end of her nose. She counted “one, two, three” in a quiet voice. At once, the hat changed into a chalkboard. The board said,
“LET DOROTHY GO TO THE CITY OF EMERALDS.”
The little old woman took the chalkboard off of her nose and read it. She asked,
“Is your name Dorothy, my dear?”
“Yes,” answered the child. She looked up and dried her tears.
“Then you must go to the City of Emeralds. Perhaps Oz will help you.”
“Where is this city?” asked Dorothy.
“It is exactly in the center of the country, and it is ruled by Oz, the Great Wizard.”
“Is he a good man?” asked Dorothy, anxiously.
“He is a good wizard. I don’t know if he is a man or not because I have never seen him before.”
“How can I get there?” asked Dorothy.
“You must walk. It is a long journey. The country is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use all the magic that I know to keep you safe.”
“Won’t you go with me?” pleaded Dorothy.
“No, I can’t do that,” she replied. “But I will give you my kiss. No one will dare hurt a person who has been kissed by the Witch of the North.”
She came close to Dorothy and kissed her gently on the forehead. Dorothy did not know it yet, but the kiss left a mark on her forehead.
“The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with yellow brick,” said the witch, “so you can’t get lost. When you get to Oz, do not be afraid of him. Tell him your story and ask him to help you. Goodbye, my dear.”
The three Munchkins bowed low to her and walked away.
The witch nodded to Dorothy and spun around three times. She disappeared magically.
Toto, who had been silent the whole time, barked loudly when the witch disappeared.
Dorothy was not surprised. She expected that a witch could disappear magically and such.