Chapter 11 – The Wonderful City of Oz
Even though their eyes were protected by the green glasses, Dorothy and her friends were dazzled by the brightness of the wonderful City. The streets were lined with beautiful houses, which were build from green marble and studded with sparkling emeralds. They walked over green marble roads, which were also studded with glittering emeralds. The windows were green glass, and even the bright sky above the City was greenish, and the rays of the sun were green.
There were many people – men, women and children – walking about. They were all dressed in green clothes and had greenish skin. They looked at Dorothy and her strange friends with eyes of wonder. The children all ran away and hid behind their mothers when they saw the lion. No one spoke to them. Many shops stood in the street. Dorothy saw that everything in them was green. Green candy and green popcorn were for sale, as well as green shoes, hats and clothes. At one shop, a man was selling green lemonade. When the children bought it, Dorothy could see that they paid with green coins.
There seemed to be no horses or animals of any kind. The men carried things around in little green carts. Everyone seemed happy and prosperous.
The Guardian of the Gates led them through the streets until they came to a big building, exactly in the middle of the City. It was the Palace of Oz, the Great Wizard. There was a soldier in front of the door, with a long green beard and a green uniform.
“Here are strangers,” said the Guardian of the Gates to him, “and they demand to see the Great Oz.”
“Step inside,” answered the soldier, “and I will pass you message to him.”
So they passed through the palace gates and were led to a big room with a green carpet and lovely green furniture. The soldier made them all wipe their feet on a green mat before entering this room. When they sat down, he said politely:
“Please make yourselves comfortable while I go to the door of the Throne Room and tell Oz that you are here.”
They had to wait a long time before the soldier returned. When, at last, he came back, Dorothy asked:
“Have you seen Oz?”
“Oh, no,” said the soldier, “I have never seen him. But I spoke to him as he sat behind his curtain and gave him your message. He said he will listen to you, but each one of you must enter alone. He will admit only one person each day. Therefore, you must remain in the palace for several days. I will have you shown to your rooms where you may rest in comfort.”
“Thank you,” replied the girl, “that is very kind of Oz.”
The soldier blew a green whistle and, at once, a young girl entered the room. She was wearing a pretty green silk dress. She had lovely green hair and green eyes. She bowed low to Dorothy and said, “Follow me and I will show you your room.”
So Dorothy said goodbye to all her friends, except Toto, and took the dog in her arms. She followed the green girl through seven hallways and up three flights of stairs until they came to a room at the front of the palace. It was the sweetest little room in the world, with a soft bed that had sheets of green silk. There was a tiny fountain in the middle of the room that sprayed green perfume into the air. Beautiful green flowers stood in the windows and there was a shelf with little green books. When Dorothy had time to open these books, she saw that they were filled with funny green pictures that made her laugh.
In the closet, there were many green dresses, made of silk, satin and velvet. All of them fitted Dorothy perfectly.
“Make yourself at home,” said the green girl, “and if you wish for anything, ring the bell. You can see Oz tomorrow morning.”
She left Dorothy alone, and went back to the others. She also led them to pleasant rooms.
Of course, this politeness was wasted on the scarecrow because when he was alone in his room, he just stood stupidly in one spot, next to the doorway to wait for morning. He didn’t need a bed, and he couldn’t close his eyes, so he starred at a little spider in the corner of the room.
The tin man lied down on his bed out of habit (he used to sleep in a bed when he was a man of flesh), but he was not able to sleep, so he spent the night moving his joints up and down to keep them working well.
The lion would have preferred a bed of dried leaves in the forest, and he did not like to be shut up in a room, but he wasn’t worried. He jumped on the bed and rolled himself up like a cat and fell asleep in a minute.
The next morning, after breakfast, the green girl came to fetch Dorothy. She helped Dorothy put on a beautiful green dress that was made of satin. She put a green apron over the dress and tied a green ribbon around Toto’s neck. They walked toward the Throne Room of the Great Oz.
First, they came to a great hall in which there were many ladies and gentlemen, all dressed in rich costumes. These people had nothing to do except to talk to each other. They waited outside of the Throne Room every morning, although they were never allowed to see Oz. As Dorothy entered, they looked at her curiously, and one of them whispered:
“Are you really going to look at the face of Oz the Terrible?”
“Of course,” answered the girl, “if he will see me.”
“Oh, he will see you,” said the solder who had taken her message to the Wizard, “although he does not like to have people see him. Indeed, at first, he was angry and said I should send you away. Then, he asked me what you looked like. When I mentioned your silver shoes, he was very interested. Then, I told him about the mark on your forehead, and he decided that he would see you.”
Just then, a bell rang and the green girl said to Dorothy, “That is is the signal. You must go to the Throne Room alone.”
She opened a little door and Dorothy walked bolding through it. She found herself in a wonderful place. It was a big, round room with a high arched roof. The walls, ceiling and floor were covered with large emeralds. In the center of the roof was a great light, as bright as the sun. It made the emeralds sparkle wonderfully.
But what interested Dorothy the most was the big throne of green marble in the middle of the room. It was shaped like a chair and it sparkled with gems. In the center of the chair was an enormous head, without a body or any arms or legs. There was no hair on this head, but it had eyes and a nose and a mouth, and it was much bigger than the head of a giant.
As Dorothy gazed at this in wonder and fear, the eyes turned slowly and looked at her sharply. Then the mouth moved:
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?”
It was not such an awful voice, so she gathered her courage and answered:
“I am Dorothy, the Small and Meek. I have come to you for help.”
The eyes looked at her thoughtfully for a minute. Then, the voice said:
“Where did you get the silver shoes?”
“I got them from the Wicked Witch of the East, when my house fell on her and killed her,” she replied.
“Where did you get the mark on your forehead?” continued the voice.
“That is where the Good Witch of the North kissed me when she said goodbye and sent me to you,” said the girl.
Again, the eyes looked at her sharply, and they saw that she was telling the truth. Then, Oz asked, “What do you want me to do?”
“Send me back to Kansas, where my Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are,” she answered honestly. “I don’t like your country, although it is so beautiful. And I am sure that Aunt Em will be dreadfully worried about me.”
The eyes blinked three times, and then they turned up to the ceiling and down to the floor and rolled around so strangely that they seemed to look at every part of the room. At last, the eyes looked at Dorothy again.
“Why should I do this for you?” asked Oz.
“Because you are strong and I am weak. Because you are a great wizard and I am only a little girl.”
“But you were strong enough to kill the Wicked Witch of the East,” said Oz.
“That just happened,” returned Dorothy simply, “I did nothing.”
“Well,” said the head, “I will give you my answer. You have no right to expect me to send you back to Kansas unless you do something for me in return. In this country, everyone must pay for everything they get. If you want me to use my magic power to send you home, you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you.”
“What must I do?” asked the girl.
“Kill the Wicked Witch of the West,” answered Oz.
“But I can’t!” exclaimed Dorothy.
“You killed the Witch of the East and you wear her silver shoes, which have a powerful magic. There is now only one Wicked Witch left in all this land. When you can tell me that she is dead, I will send you back to Kansas. But not before.”
The little girl began to weep. She was so disappointed. The eyes blinked again and looked at her anxiously, as if the Great Oz thought she could help him if she wanted.
“I never killed anything, willingly,” she sobbed. “Even if I wanted to, how could I kill the Wicked Witch? If you, who are Great and Terrible, can not kill her, how do you expect me to do it?”
“I do not know,” said the head, “but that is my answer. And until the Wicked Witch dies, you will not see you uncle and aunt again. Remember that the witch is wicked – tremendously wicked – and should be killed. Now go, and do no ask to see me again until you have done your task.”
Sadly, Dorothy left the Throne Room and went back to where the lion, scarecrow and tin man were waiting for her.
“There is no hope for me,” she said sadly, “because Oz will not send me home until I have killed the Wicked Witch of the West, and I can never do that.”
Her friends were sorry, but they couldn’t do anything to help her, so Dorothy went to her room and lied down on the bed and cried herself to sleep.
The next morning, the soldier with the green beard came to the scarecrow and said:
“Come with me, because Oz has sent for you.”
So the scarecrow followed him and was admitted into the great Throne Room. He saw, sitting on the emerald throne, a lovely lady. She was dressed in green silk and wore a crown of jewels on her flowing green hair. Wings grew from her shoulders. They were gorgeous and light. The wings fluttered as if they were in the wind.
When the scarecrow bowed (as gracefully as his stuffed body could), the beautiful creature looked down at him sweetly and said:
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?”
Now the scarecrow, who had expected to see the head that Dorothy described, was very surprised. But he answered her bravely.
“I am only a scarecrow, stuffed with straw. Therefore, I have no brains, and I come to you praying that you will put a brain in my head instead of straw, so that I can think like any other man.”
“Why should I do this for you?” asked the lady.
“Because you are wise and powerful, and no one else can help me,” answered the scarecrow.
“I never grant wishes without something in return,” said Oz, “but I will promise this: If you kill the Wicked Witch of the West, I will give you many great brains, and such good brains that you will be the wisest man in all the Land of Oz.”
“I thought you asked Dorothy to kill the Witch,” said the scarecrow in surprise.
“I did. I don’t care who kills her. But until she is dead, I will not grant your wish. Now go and do not seek me again until you have earned the brains that you desire.”
The scarecrow went sadly back to his friends and told them what Oz had said. Dorothy was surprised to hear that the Great Wizard was not a head, but a lovely lady.
“All the same,” said the scarecrow, “she needs a heart, just as much as the tin man.”
The next morning, the soldier with the green beard came to the tin man and said:
“Oz has sent for you. Follow me.”
So the tin man followed him and came to the great Throne Room. He did not know whether he would find a lovely lady or a head, but he hoped it would be the lovely lady. “Because,” he said to himself, “if it is a head, I am sure he won’t understand me. A head does not have a heart. But if it is a lovely lady, I will beg for a heart. And all ladies are said to be kind hearted.”
But when the tin man entered the great Throne Room, he saw neither the head nor the lady. Oz had taken the form of a terrible beast. It was nearly as big as an elephant, and the green throne didn’t seem strong enough to hold it. The beast had a head like a rhinoceros. It had five eyes on its face. There were five long arms growing out of its body, and it also had five long legs. Thick, wooly hair covered it. You couldn’t imagine a more dreadful monster. It was fortunate that the tin man had no heart, because it would have beat loudly and fast from horror. But, being only tin, the tin man was not at all afraid. He was simply disappointed.
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,” spoke the beast, in a voice that was like a roar. “Who are you, and why do you seek me?”
“I am a woodcutter, and made of tin. Therefore, I have no heart and can not love. I pray that you give me a heart so that I may love, just like any other man.”
“Why should I do this?” demanded the beast.
“Because I ask, and only you can grant my request,” answered the tin man.
Oz gave a low growl at this, but said, “If you truly desire a heart, you must earn it.”
“How?” asked the tin man.
“Help Dorothy kill the Wicked Witch of the West,” replied the beast. “When the Witch is dead, come to me, and I will then give you the biggest and kindest and most loving heart in all the Land of Oz.”
So the tin man returned sorrowfully to his friends and told them about the terrible beast that he saw. They all wondered about the many forms that the Great Wizard could become, and the lion said:
“If he is a beast when I go to see him, I will roar my loudest and frighten him so much that he will grant my wish. And if he is a lovely lady, I will pretend to jump on her and make her grant my wish. And if he is a big head, I will roll this head all around the room until he promises to give us what we desire. So cheer up, my friends.”
The next morning, the soldier with he green beard led the lion to the great Throne Room and let him enter.
The lion immediately passed through the door and looked around. To his surprise, there was a ball of fire on the throne. The fire was so fierce and bright that he couldn’t look at it. His first thought was that Oz had accidentally caught on fire and was burning up. But when he tried to go near, the heat was so intense that it burned his whiskers. The lion stepped back, trembling in a spot near the door.
Then a low, quiet voice came from the ball of fire. These were the words that it spoke:
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?”
And the lion answered, “I am a cowardly lion, afraid of everything. I came to you to beg that you give me courage, so that I may become the King of Beasts, as I am called.”
“Why should I give you courage?” demanded Oz.
“Because of all wizards, you are the greatest, and only you have the power to grant my request,” answered the lion.
“The ball of fire burned fiercely for some time, and the voice said, “Bring me proof that the Wicked Witch is dead, and that moment, I will give you courage. But as long as the witch lives, you must remain a coward.”
The lion was angry at this speech, but he couldn’t say anything in reply. While he stood gazing at the ball of fire, it became so furiously hot that he turned and ran from the room. He was glad to find his friends waiting for him and he told them about his terrible interview with the wizard.
“What should we do now?” asked Dorothy sadly.
“There is only one thing we can do,” said the lion, “and that is to go to the land of the Winkies, seek out the Wicked Witch, and destroy her.”
“But what if we can’t?” asked Dorothy sadly.
“Then I will never have courage,” declared the lion.
“And I will never have a brain,” added the scarecrow.
“And I will never have a heart,” said the tin man.
“And I will never see Aunt Em and Uncle Henry,” said Dorothy, beginning to cry.
“Be careful!” cried the green girl. “The tears will fall on your green silk drew and spot it.”
So Dorothy dried her eyes and said, “I suppose we must try it, but I am sure I do not want to kill anybody, even to see Aunt Em again.”
“I will go with you, but I’m too much of a coward to kill the witch,” said the lion.
“I will go, too,” declared the scarecrow, “but I won’t be much help because I am such a fool.”
“I don’t have the heart to harm even a witch,” remarked the tin man, “but if you go, I will certainly go with you.”
Therefor, it was decided to start their journey the next morning. The tin man sharpened his ax and oiled all his joints. The scarecrow stuffed himself with fresh straw and Dorothy repainted his eyes. The green girl, who was very kind to them, filled Dorothy’s basket with good things to eat, and fastened a little bell around Toto’s neck with a green ribbon.
They went to bed quite early and slept soundly until daylight. They were awakened by the cry of a green roster that lived in the back yard of the Palace and the cry of a chicken that laid a green egg.