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The Guardian of the Gate
It was some time before the Cowardly Lion awakened, for he had lain among
the poppies a long while, breathing in their deadly fragrance; but when he did
open his eyes and roll off the truck he was very glad to find himself still
"I ran as fast as I could," he said, sitting down and yawning,
"but the flowers were too strong for me.
How did you get me out?"
Then they told him of the field mice, and how they had generously saved
him from death; and the Cowardly Lion laughed, and said:
"I have always thought myself very big and terrible; yet such little
things as flowers came near to killing me, and such small animals as mice have
saved my life. How strange it all is! But, comrades, what shall we do
"We must journey on until we find the road of yellow brick
again," said Dorothy, "and then we can keep on to the Emerald
So, the Lion being fully refreshed, and feeling quite himself again, they
all started upon the journey, greatly enjoying the walk through the soft, fresh
grass; and it was not long before they reached the road of yellow brick and
turned again toward the Emerald City where the Great Oz dwelt.
The road was smooth and well paved, now, and the country about was
beautiful, so that the travelers rejoiced in leaving the forest far behind, and
with it the many dangers they had met in its gloomy shades.
Once more they could see fences built beside the road; but these were
painted green, and when they came to a small house, in which a farmer evidently
lived, that also was painted green. They
passed by several of these houses during the afternoon, and sometimes people
came to the doors and looked at them as if they would like to ask questions; but
no one came near them nor spoke to them because of the great Lion, of which they
were very much afraid. The people
were all dressed in clothing of a lovely emerald-green color and wore peaked
hats like those of the Munchkins.
"This must be the Land of Oz," said Dorothy, "and we are
surely getting near the Emerald City."
"Yes," answered the Scarecrow.
"Everything is green here, while in the country of the Munchkins
blue was the favorite color. But the people do not seem to be as friendly as the
Munchkins, and I'm afraid we shall be unable to find a place to pass the
"I should like something to eat besides fruit," said the girl,
"and I'm sure Toto is nearly starved.
Let us stop at the next house and talk to the people."
So, when they came to a good-sized farmhouse, Dorothy walked boldly up to
the door and knocked.
A woman opened it just far enough to look out, and said, "What do
you want, child, and why is that great Lion with you?"
"We wish to pass the night with you, if you will allow us,"
answered Dorothy; "and the Lion is my friend and comrade, and would not
hurt you for the world."
"Is he tame?" asked the woman, opening the door a little wider.
"Oh, yes," said the girl, "and he is a
great coward, too. He will be more afraid of you than you are of him."
"Well," said the woman, after thinking it over and taking
another peep at the Lion, "if that is the case you may come in, and I will
give you some supper and a place to sleep."
So they all entered the house, where there were, besides the woman, two
children and a man. The man had hurt his leg, and was lying on the couch in a
corner. They seemed greatly
surprised to see so strange a company, and while the woman was busy laying the
table the man asked:
"Where are you all going?"
"To the Emerald City," said Dorothy, "to see the Great
"Oh, indeed!" exclaimed the man.
"Are you sure that Oz will see you?"
"Why not?" she replied.
"Why, it is said that he never lets anyone come into his presence. I
have been to the Emerald City many times, and it is a beautiful and wonderful
place; but I have never been permitted to see the Great Oz, nor do I know of any
living person who has seen him."
"Does he never go out?" asked the Scarecrow.
"Never. He sits day after day in the great Throne Room of his Palace,
and even those who wait upon him do not see him face to face."
"What is he like?" asked the girl.
"That is hard to tell," said the man thoughtfully.
"You see, Oz is a Great Wizard, and can take on any form he wishes. So that some say he looks like a bird; and some say he looks
like an elephant; and some say he looks like a cat.
To others he appears as a beautiful fairy, or a brownie, or in any other
form that pleases him. But who the
real Oz is, when he is in his own form, no living person can tell."
"That is very strange," said Dorothy, "but we must try, in
some way, to see him, or we shall have made our journey for nothing."
"Why do you wish to see the terrible Oz?" asked the man.
"I want him to give me some brains," said the Scarecrow
"Oh, Oz could do that easily enough," declared the man.
"He has more brains than he needs."
"And I want him to give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.
"That will not trouble him," continued the man, "for Oz
has a large collection of hearts, of all sizes and shapes."
"And I want him to give me courage," said the Cowardly Lion.
"Oz keeps a great pot of courage in his Throne Room," said the
man, "which he has covered with a golden plate, to keep it from running
over. He will be glad to give you
"And I want him to send me back to Kansas," said Dorothy.
"Where is Kansas?" asked the man, with surprise.
"I don't know," replied Dorothy sorrowfully, "but it is my
home, and I'm sure it's somewhere."
"Very likely. Well, Oz
can do anything; so I suppose he will find Kansas for you.
But first you must get to see him, and that will be a hard task; for the
Great Wizard does not like to see anyone, and he usually has his own way.
But what do YOU want?" he continued, speaking to Toto.
Toto only wagged his tail; for, strange to say, he could not speak.
The woman now called to them that supper was ready, so they gathered
around the table and Dorothy ate some delicious porridge and a dish of scrambled
eggs and a plate of nice white bread, and enjoyed her meal.
The Lion ate some of the porridge, but did not care for it, saying it was
made from oats and oats were food for horses, not for lions.
The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman ate nothing at all. Toto ate a little of everything, and was glad to get a good
The woman now gave Dorothy a bed to sleep in, and Toto lay down beside
her, while the Lion guarded the door of her room so she might not be disturbed.
The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman stood up in a corner and kept quiet all
night, although of course they could not sleep.
The next morning, as soon as the sun was up, they started on their way,
and soon saw a beautiful green glow in the sky just before them.
"That must be the Emerald City," said Dorothy.
As they walked on, the green glow became brighter and brighter, and it
seemed that at last they were nearing the end of their travels. Yet it was
afternoon before they came to the great wall that surrounded the City.
It was high and thick and of a bright green color.
In front of them, and at the end of the road of yellow brick, was a big
gate, all studded with emeralds that glittered so in the sun that even the
painted eyes of the Scarecrow were dazzled by their brilliancy.
There was a bell beside the gate, and Dorothy pushed the button and heard
a silvery tinkle sound within. Then
the big gate swung slowly open, and they all passed through and found themselves
in a high arched room, the walls of which glistened with countless emeralds.
Before them stood a little man about the same size as the Munchkins.
He was clothed all in green, from his head to his feet, and even his skin
was of a greenish tint. At his side
was a large green box.
When he saw Dorothy and her companions the man asked, "What do you
wish in the Emerald City?"
"We came here to see the Great Oz," said Dorothy.
The man was so surprised at this answer that he sat down to think it
"It has been many years since anyone asked me to see Oz," he
said, shaking his head in perplexity. "He
is powerful and terrible, and if you come on an idle or foolish errand to bother
the wise reflections of the Great Wizard, he might be angry and destroy you all
in an instant."
"But it is not a foolish errand, nor an idle one," replied the
Scarecrow; "it is important. And
we have been told that Oz is a good Wizard."
"So he is," said the green man, "and he rules the Emerald
City wisely and well. But to those who are not honest, or who approach him from
curiosity, he is most terrible, and few have ever dared ask to see his face.
I am the Guardian of the Gates, and since you demand to see the Great Oz
I must take you to his Palace. But first you must put on the spectacles."
"Why?" asked Dorothy.
"Because if you did not wear spectacles the brightness and glory of
the Emerald City would blind you. Even
those who live in the City must wear spectacles night and day.
They are all locked on, for Oz so ordered it when the City was first
built, and I have the only key that will unlock them."
He opened the big box, and Dorothy saw that it was filled with spectacles
of every size and shape. All of
them had green glasses in them. The
Guardian of the Gates found a pair that would just fit Dorothy and put them over
her eyes. There were two golden
bands fastened to them that passed around the back of her head, where they were
locked together by a little key that was at the end of a chain the Guardian of
the Gates wore around his neck. When they were on, Dorothy could not take them
off had she wished, but of course she did not wish to be blinded by the glare of
the Emerald City, so she said nothing.
Then the green man fitted spectacles for the Scarecrow and the Tin
Woodman and the Lion, and even on little Toto; and all were locked fast with the
Then the Guardian of the Gates put on his own glasses and told them he
was ready to show them to the Palace. Taking
a big golden key from a peg on the wall, he opened another gate, and they all
followed him through the portal into the streets of the Emerald City.
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