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  • CHAPTER 4. THE VEGETABLE KINGDOM

  • After the Wizard had wiped the dampness from his sword and taken it apart and put

  • the pieces into their leathern case again, the man with the star ordered some of his

  • people to carry the two halves of the Sorcerer to the public gardens.

  • Jim pricked up his ears when he heard they were going to the gardens, and wanted to

  • join the party, thinking he might find something proper to eat; so Zeb put down

  • the top of the buggy and invited the Wizard to ride with them.

  • The seat was amply wide enough for the little man and the two children, and when

  • Jim started to leave the hall the kitten jumped upon his back and sat there quite

  • contentedly.

  • So the procession moved through the streets, the bearers of the Sorcerer first,

  • the Prince next, then Jim drawing the buggy with the strangers inside of it, and last

  • the crowd of vegetable people who had no hearts and could neither smile nor frown.

  • The glass city had several fine streets, for a good many people lived there; but

  • when the procession had passed through these it came upon a broad plain covered

  • with gardens and watered by many pretty brooks that flowed through it.

  • There were paths through these gardens, and over some of the brooks were ornamental

  • glass bridges.

  • Dorothy and Zeb now got out of the buggy and walked beside the Prince, so that they

  • might see and examine the flowers and plants better.

  • "Who built these lovely bridges?" asked the little girl.

  • "No one built them," answered the man with the star.

  • "They grow."

  • "That's queer," said she. "Did the glass houses in your city grow,

  • too?" "Of course," he replied.

  • "But it took a good many years for them to grow as large and fine as they are now.

  • That is why we are so angry when a Rain of Stones comes to break our towers and crack

  • our roofs."

  • "Can't you mend them?" she enquired. "No; but they will grow together again, in

  • time, and we must wait until they do."

  • They first passed through many beautiful gardens of flowers, which grew nearest the

  • city; but Dorothy could hardly tell what kind of flowers they were, because the

  • colors were constantly changing under the shifting lights of the six suns.

  • A flower would be pink one second, white the next, then blue or yellow; and it was

  • the same way when they came to the plants, which had broad leaves and grew close to

  • the ground.

  • When they passed over a field of grass Jim immediately stretched down his head and

  • began to nibble.

  • "A nice country this is," he grumbled, "where a respectable horse has to eat pink

  • grass!" "It's violet," said the Wizard, who was in

  • the buggy.

  • "Now it's blue," complained the horse. "As a matter of fact, I'm eating rainbow

  • grass." "How does it taste?" asked the Wizard.

  • "Not bad at all," said Jim.

  • "If they give me plenty of it I'll not complain about its color."

  • By this time the party had reached a freshly plowed field, and the Prince said

  • to Dorothy:

  • "This is our planting-ground." Several Mangaboos came forward with glass

  • spades and dug a hole in the ground. Then they put the two halves of the

  • Sorcerer into it and covered him up.

  • After that other people brought water from a brook and sprinkled the earth.

  • "He will sprout very soon," said the Prince, "and grow into a large bush, from

  • which we shall in time be able to pick several very good sorcerers."

  • "Do all your people grow on bushes?" asked the boy.

  • "Certainly," was the reply.

  • "Do not all people grow upon bushes where you came from, on the outside of the

  • earth." "Not that I ever heard of."

  • "How strange!

  • But if you will come with me to one of our folk gardens I will show you the way we

  • grow in the Land of the Mangaboos."

  • It appeared that these odd people, while they were able to walk through the air with

  • ease, usually moved upon the ground in the ordinary way.

  • There were no stairs in their houses, because they did not need them, but on a

  • level surface they generally walked just as we do.

  • The little party of strangers now followed the Prince across a few more of the glass

  • bridges and along several paths until they came to a garden enclosed by a high hedge.

  • Jim had refused to leave the field of grass, where he was engaged in busily

  • eating; so the Wizard got out of the buggy and joined Zeb and Dorothy, and the kitten

  • followed demurely at their heels.

  • Inside the hedge they came upon row after row of large and handsome plants with broad

  • leaves gracefully curving until their points nearly reached the ground.

  • In the center of each plant grew a daintily dressed Mangaboo, for the clothing of all

  • these creatures grew upon them and was attached to their bodies.

  • The growing Mangaboos were of all sizes, from the blossom that had just turned into

  • a wee baby to the full-grown and almost ripe man or woman.

  • On some of the bushes might be seen a bud, a blossom, a baby, a half-grown person and

  • a ripe one; but even those ready to pluck were motionless and silent, as if devoid of

  • life.

  • This sight explained to Dorothy why she had seen no children among the Mangaboos, a

  • thing she had until now been unable to account for.

  • "Our people do not acquire their real life until they leave their bushes," said the

  • Prince.

  • "You will notice they are all attached to the plants by the soles of their feet, and

  • when they are quite ripe they are easily separated from the stems and at once attain

  • the powers of motion and speech.

  • So while they grow they cannot be said to really live, and they must be picked before

  • they can become good citizens." "How long do you live, after you are

  • picked?" asked Dorothy.

  • "That depends upon the care we take of ourselves," he replied.

  • "If we keep cool and moist, and meet with no accidents, we often live for five years.

  • I've been picked over six years, but our family is known to be especially long

  • lived." "Do you eat?" asked the boy.

  • "Eat! No, indeed.

  • We are quite solid inside our bodies, and have no need to eat, any more than does a

  • potato." "But the potatoes sometimes sprout," said

  • Zeb.

  • "And sometimes we do," answered the Prince; "but that is considered a great misfortune,

  • for then we must be planted at once." "Where did you grow?" asked the Wizard.

  • "I will show you," was the reply.

  • "Step this way, please." He led them within another but smaller

  • circle of hedge, where grew one large and beautiful bush.

  • "This," said he, "is the Royal Bush of the Mangaboos.

  • All of our Princes and Rulers have grown upon this one bush from time immemorial."

  • They stood before it in silent admiration.

  • On the central stalk stood poised the figure of a girl so exquisitely formed and

  • colored and so lovely in the expression of her delicate features that Dorothy thought

  • she had never seen so sweet and adorable a creature in all her life.

  • The maiden's gown was soft as satin and fell about her in ample folds, while dainty

  • lace-like traceries trimmed the bodice and sleeves.

  • Her flesh was fine and smooth as polished ivory, and her poise expressed both dignity

  • and grace. "Who is this?" asked the Wizard, curiously.

  • The Prince had been staring hard at the girl on the bush.

  • Now he answered, with a touch of uneasiness in his cold tones:

  • "She is the Ruler destined to be my successor, for she is a Royal Princess.

  • When she becomes fully ripe I must abandon the sovereignty of the Mangaboos to her."

  • "Isn't she ripe now?" asked Dorothy.

  • He hesitated. "Not quite," said he, finally.

  • "It will be several days before she needs to be picked, or at least that is my

  • judgment.

  • I am in no hurry to resign my office and be planted, you may be sure."

  • "Probably not," declared the Wizard, nodding.

  • "This is one of the most unpleasant things about our vegetable lives," continued the

  • Prince, with a sigh, "that while we are in our full prime we must give way to another,

  • and be covered up in the ground to sprout

  • and grow and give birth to other people." "I'm sure the Princess is ready to be

  • picked," asserted Dorothy, gazing hard at the beautiful girl on the bush.

  • "She's as perfect as she can be."

  • "Never mind," answered the Prince, hastily, "she will be all right for a few days

  • longer, and it is best for me to rule until I can dispose of you strangers, who have

  • come to our land uninvited and must be attended to at once."

  • "What are you going to do with us?" asked Zeb.

  • "That is a matter I have not quite decided upon," was the reply.

  • "I think I shall keep this Wizard until a new Sorcerer is ready to pick, for he seems

  • quite skillful and may be of use to us.

  • But the rest of you must be destroyed in some way, and you cannot be planted,

  • because I do not wish horses and cats and meat people growing all over our country."

  • "You needn't worry," said Dorothy.

  • "We wouldn't grow under ground, I'm sure." "But why destroy my friends?" asked the

  • little Wizard. "Why not let them live?"

  • "They do not belong here," returned the Prince.

  • "They have no right to be inside the earth at all."

  • "We didn't ask to come down here; we fell," said Dorothy.

  • "That is no excuse," declared the Prince, coldly.

  • The children looked at each other in perplexity, and the Wizard sighed.

  • Eureka rubbed her paw on her face and said in her soft, purring voice:

  • "He won't need to destroy me, for if I don't get something to eat pretty soon I

  • shall starve to death, and so save him the trouble."

  • "If he planted you, he might grow some cat- tails," suggested the Wizard.

  • "Oh, Eureka! perhaps we can find you some milk-weeds to eat," said the boy.

  • "Phoo!" snarled the kitten; "I wouldn't touch the nasty things!"

  • "You don't need milk, Eureka," remarked Dorothy; "you are big enough now to eat any

  • kind of food."

  • "If I can get it," added Eureka. "I'm hungry myself," said Zeb.

  • "But I noticed some strawberries growing in one of the gardens, and some melons in

  • another place.

  • These people don't eat such things, so perhaps on our way back they will let us

  • get them." "Never mind your hunger," interrupted the

  • Prince.

  • "I shall order you destroyed in a few minutes, so you will have no need to ruin

  • our pretty melon vines and berry bushes. Follow me, please, to meet your doom."

CHAPTER 4. THE VEGETABLE KINGDOM

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B1 中級 美國腔

第04章--多蘿西和奧茲國的魔法師--L.弗蘭克-鮑姆著--蔬菜王國 (Chapter 04 - Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum - The Vegetable Kingdom)

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