Chapter 14 – The Winged Monkeys
Remember that there was no road – not even a pathway – between the castle of the Wicked Witch and the Emerald City. When the four travelers went in search of the witch, she had seen them coming and sent the Winged Monkeys to bring them to her. Now, it was much harder for them to find their way back through the buttercup field and yellow daisy fields than it was being carried.
They knew, of course, that they must go straight east, toward the rising sun, and they started off in the right direction. But at noon, when the sun was over their heads, they didn’t know which was east and which was west. That was the reason they were lost in the great fields. They kept on walking, however, and at night, the moon came out and shined brightly. They lied down among the sweet smelling yellow flowers and slept soundly until morning – except the scarecrow and the tin man.
The next morning, the sun was behind a cloud, but they started walking, not quite sure if they were going in the right direction.
“If we walk far enough,” said Dorothy, “I am sure we will sometime come to some place.”
But daddy by day passed, and they still saw nothing except the fields. The scarecrow began to grumble a bit. “We have surely lost our way,” he said, “and unless we find it again, I will never get my brains.”
“And I won’t get my heart,” declared the tin man. “It seems like I can hardly wait until I get to Oz. You must admit this is a very long journey.”
“You see,” said the cowardly lion, with a whimper. “I don’t have the courage to keep going forever, endlessly.”
Then Dorothy lost heart. She sat down on the grass and looked at her friends. They sat down and looked at her, too. And Toto found that for the first time in his life, he was too tired to chase a butterfly that flew past his head. So he stuck out his tongue and breathed heavily and looked at Dorothy as if to ask, “What next?”
“What if we call the field mice?” she suggested. “They could probably tell us the way to the Emerald City.”
“I’m sure they could,” cried the scarecrow. “Why didn’t we think of that before?”
Dorothy blew the little whistle she had always carried around her neck since the Queen of the Mice had given it to her. In a few minutes, they heard the pattering of tiny feet, and many of the small gray mice came running up to her. Among them was the Queen herself, who asked, in her squeaky little voice:
“What can I do for my friends?”
“We are lost,” said Dorothy. “Can you tell us where the Emerald City is?”
“Certainly,” answered the Queen, “but it is a great way off, because you are going in the wrong direction.”
Then she noticed Dorothy’s Golden Cap and said, “Why don’t you use the charm of the Cap and call the Winged Monkeys to you? They will carry you to the City of Oz in less than an hour.”
“I didn’t know there was a charm,” answered Dorothy, in surprise. “What is it?”
“It is written inside the Golden Cap,” replied the Queen of the Mice. “But if you are going to call the Winged Monkeys, we must run away, because they are full of mischief and they think it is fun to tease us.”
“Won’t they hurt me?” asked the girl anxiously.
“Oh, no. They must obey the wearer of the Cap. Goodbye!” And she scampered out of sight, with all the mice hurrying after her.
Dorothy looked inside the Golden Cap and saw some words written on the lining. These, she thought, must be the charm, so she read the directions carefully and put the Cap on her head.
“Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!” she said, standing on her left foot.
“What did you say?” asked the scarecrow, who did not know what she was doing.
“Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo!” Dorothy went on, standing on her right foot.
“Hello!” replied the tin man calmly.
“Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!” said Dorothy, who was now standing on both feet. This ended the chant, and they heart a great chattering and flapping of wings, as the band of Winged Monkeys flew to them.
The king bowed low before Dorothy, and asked, “What is your command?”
“We wish to go to the Emerald City,” said the child, “but we are lost.”
“We will carry you,” replied the king. As soon as he said it, two of the monkeys caught Dorothy in their arms and few away with her. Others took the scarecrow and the tin man and the lion. And one little monkey seized Toto and flew after them, even though the dog tried to bite him.
The scarecrow and the tin man were very frightened at first, because they remembered how badly the Winged Monkeys had treated them before, but they saw that no harm was intended, and they rode through the air cheerfully. They had a fine time looking at the pretty gardens and woods far below them.
Dorothy found herself riding easily between two of the biggest monkeys. One of them was the king himself. They had made a chair with their arms and were careful not to hurt her.
“Why do you have to obey the magic of the Golden Cap?” she asked.
“That is a long story,” answered the kind, with a laugh, “but as we have a long journey, I will pass the time by telling you about it, if you wish.”
“I would be glad to hear it,” she replied.
“Once,” began the leader, “we were free, living happily in the great forest, flying from tree to tree, eating nuts and fruit, and doing whatever we pleased without calling anybody master. Perhaps some of us were too full of mischief at times, flying down to pull the tails of animals that had no wings, chasing birds, and throwing nuts at people who walked in the forest. But we were careless and happy and full of fun, and enjoyed every minute of the day. This was many years ago, long before Oz came out of the cloud to rule over this land.
“Away at the North, a beautiful princess lived, who was also a powerful sorceress. All her magic was used to help the people. She was never known to hurt anyone who was good. Her name was Gayelette, and she lived in a beautiful palace built from great blocks of ruby. Everyone loved her, but to her sorrow, she couldn’t find anyone to love in return. All of the men were much too stupid and ugly to be with a princess that was so beautiful and wise.
“At last, however, she found a boy who was handsome and manly and wise beyond his years. Gayelette decided that when he grew up, she would make him her husband, so she took him to her ruby palace and used all her magic powers to make him as strong and good and lovely as any woman could wish. When he became a man, Quelala, he was called, was said to be the best and wisest man in all the land. His manly beauty was so great that Gayelette loved him dearly, and she rushed to prepare the wedding.
“My grandfather was the king of the Winged Monkeys at that time. They lived in the forest near Gayelette’s palace, and the old fellow loved a joke better than a good dinner. One day, just before the wedding, my grandfather was flying out with his band when he saw Quelala walking beside the river. He was dressed in an expensive costume of pink silk and purple velvet. My grandfather thought to play a joke on him. He told his band what to do. The monkeys flew down and seized Quelala. They carried him in their arms until they were over the middle of the river, and then they dropped him into the water.
“‘Swim out, my fine fellow,’ cried my grandfather, ‘and see if the water has spotted your clothes.’ Quelala was wise, so he knew how to swim, and he wasn’t upset about the joke. He laughed, and swam back to the bank. But when Gayelette came running out to him, she found his silks and velvet all ruined by the river.
“The princess was angry, and she knew, of course, who did it. She had all the Winged Monkeys brought before her. At first, she said that their wings should be tied and they should be dropped into the river, just like Quelala was. But my grandfather begged, because he knew the monkeys would drown in the river if their wings were tied. Quelala also said a kind word for them. So Gaylette finally spared them, with a condition: The Winged Monkeys must obey the owner of the Golden Cap three times. This cap had been made for a wedding present to Quelala, and it was very expensive. Of course, my grandfather and all the other monkeys agreed to the condition, and that is how we became the three-time slave to the owner of the Golden Gap, whoever he may be.”
“And what happened after that?” asked Dorothy, who had been greatly interested in the story.
“Quelala, being the first owner of the Golden Cap,” replied the monkey, “was the first to command us. Because his bride hated us, he called us all to him in the forest. He ordered us to always stay where she would never see us. We were glad to do this, because we were all afraid of her.
“This was all we ever had to do, until the Golden Cap fell into the hands of the Wicked Witch of the West, who made us enslave the Winkies, and drive Oz out of the Land of the West. Now the Golden Cap is yours, and three times, you have the right to command us.”
As the king finished his story, Dorothy looked down and saw the green, shining walls of the Emerald City in front of them. She was impressed by the speed of the monkeys, and was glad the journey was over. The strange creatures set the travelers down carefully in front of the gate of the city, and the king bowed low to Dorothy. Then swiftly, they all flew away.
“That was a good ride,” said the little girl.
“Yes, and a quick solution to our troubles,” replied the lion. “How lucky it was that you took that wonderful Cap!”