Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz: The Wizard’s Spy Glass (2/20)

With the Wizard’s latest invention clapped to one eye and pointed straight at the Wizard himself, Dorothy peered through the green glass hardly knowing what to expect. Certainly not what happened, for, from the other end of the instrument, a composed voice began making announcements proudly and impressively as a radio speaker.

“You are now looking at Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmanuel Ambroise Diggs,” it informed them crisply. “Calls himself Oz after the first letters of his first two names, as his other initials spell Pinhead. Born in Omaha, Diggs ran away as a young man to join a circus where he made balloon ascensions to amuse the crowds, his balloon bearing his initials O. Z.

“One day in a storm, Oscar’s balloon was carried to our wonderful Land of Oz. At that time, the rightful King of the Country and his son had been destroyed by Mombi the Witch, who also had enchanted and hidden away Ozma, the little Granddaughter of this unfortunate monarch. And four witches had divided the country between them. When the balloon bearing the name OZ on its side sailed out of the clouds, the inhabitants instantly hailed the traveller from America as their ruler, supposing him to be another member of the famous fairy family of Oz. Unable to return to America, Oz accepted the people’s decision with good grace and ruled the realm for many years. Under his wise direction the people built this castle and the famous city of Emeralds; and the four witches, thinking Oz more powerful than they, did not question his rule or authority.

“Later, when little Dorothy from Kansas arrived in Oz, the Wizard decided to return with her to the United States, leaving the Scarecrow to rule in his place. The Scarecrow was deposed by Jinjur and her Army of Girls. Jinjur, in turn was conquered by Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who also forced Mombi to disenchant Ozma, the young and rightful girl ruler of the realm. Ozma has ruled over Oz ever since. Not long after Ozma was restored to her throne, the Wizard returned to Oz and our clever girl ruler made him Chief Magician of the realm. In this ancient and honorable capacity he has served ever since, period—stop—drop or point elsewhere!” These last words were uttered so rudely, Dorothy almost did drop the spy glass.

“My! MY GOODNESS!” gasped the little girl.

“It always says that, when it has told all it knows. You see, it is a ‘tell-all-escope.'” explained the Wizard, reaching out for his spy glass with an embarrassed cough.

“And it certainly tells ALL, all right!” roared the Scarecrow, pushing back his chair. “Congratulations, my dear Mr. Diggs!”

“Look out! Be careful! Don’t you point that thing at me! Please don’t!” The big lion simply cowered in his chair, and no wonder he felt nervous. There had been some pretty savage incidents in that old lion’s life before he met Dorothy and came to live in the Emerald City as a civilized citizen of Oz. And the thought of the tell-all-escope telling all it knew about him made the Cowardly Lion positively shudder. But the others were so busy examining the Wizard’s spy glass, they did not even notice the lion’s terrific agitation.

“You know, a thing like that would be of great value to a traveller,” remarked Nick Chopper, tapping the tell-all-escope thoughtfully with his tin fingers.

“That’s just what I figured,” grinned the Wizard, thrusting the instrument into his pocket. “And, speaking of travelling, I have something else to show you!”

Clapping on his high hat, Ozma’s Chief Magician hastened over to the door that opened on the garden, signalling for the others to come along.

Having had experience with inventors before, Dorothy and Jellia snatched up coats, Dorothy, her own, and Jellia, one of the Wizard’s. Then, followed by the rest of the party, they stepped out into the sparkling, starlit evening. The Soldier with Green Whiskers, who had stopped to eat the last pickle in the dish and stuff an extra piece of cake in his pocket, came last of all. At each step he gave a little groan, for—all by himself—the soldier had eaten enough for a whole army. But then, he was a whole army; he was every single man, private, corporal, captain, major, colonel and general in the entire fighting force of Oz.

Anxious to exhibit his latest treasure, the Wizard walked rapidly along, leading the little party across the park, through the Emerald City, out of the Gates and into the thick woodland beyond.

“Where do you suppose he is taking us?” shivered Jellia, thinking longingly of the cozy fire back in the laboratory.

“No knowing,” giggled the Scarecrow. “But a-hunting we shall go! A-hunting we shall go! Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-TAH!” Blowing an imaginary horn, the Scarecrow pretended to gallop and fell flat on his face, his legs never being what you really could call reliable.

“Sh—hh!” whispered the Wizard, looking back warningly as the Tin Woodman jerked the straw man to his feet. “What I am about to show you has been seen by no one in Oz except my faithful assistants! So please be more quiet!”

“You mean it’s a secret?” whispered Dorothy, skipping forward to catch up with the Wizard and linking her arm through his.

“Two secrets!” confided Ozma’s Chief Magician mysteriously. Pushing impatiently through the last fringe of trees, the group stepped into a moonlit clearing.

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