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  • Introduction

  • Folklore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages,

  • for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic,

  • marvelous and manifestly unreal.

  • The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish

  • hearts than all other human creations.

  • Yet the old time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now be classed as

  • "historical" in the children's library; for the time has come for a series of newer

  • "wonder tales" in which the stereotyped

  • genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-

  • curdling incidents devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale.

  • Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only

  • entertainment in its wonder tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable

  • incident.

  • Having this thought in mind, the story of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was written

  • solely to please children of today.

  • It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are

  • retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.

  • L. Frank Baum

  • Chicago, April, 1900.

  • >

  • CHAPTER 1. The Cyclone

  • Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was

  • a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife.

  • Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many

  • miles.

  • There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room; and this room

  • contained a rusty looking cookstove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or

  • four chairs, and the beds.

  • Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in

  • another corner.

  • There was no garret at all, and no cellar-- except a small hole dug in the ground,

  • called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case one of those great

  • whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path.

  • It was reached by a trap door in the middle of the floor, from which a ladder led down

  • into the small, dark hole.

  • When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but

  • the great gray prairie on every side.

  • Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the

  • edge of the sky in all directions.

  • The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running

  • through it.

  • Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades

  • until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere.

  • Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains

  • washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.

  • When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife.

  • The sun and wind had changed her, too.

  • They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray; they had taken

  • the red from her cheeks and lips, and they were gray also.

  • She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled now.

  • When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the

  • child's laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever

  • Dorothy's merry voice reached her ears; and

  • she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to

  • laugh at. Uncle Henry never laughed.

  • He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was.

  • He was gray also, from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern and

  • solemn, and rarely spoke.

  • It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other

  • surroundings.

  • Toto was not gray; he was a little black dog, with long silky hair and small black

  • eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose.

  • Toto played all day long, and Dorothy played with him, and loved him dearly.

  • Today, however, they were not playing.

  • Uncle Henry sat upon the doorstep and looked anxiously at the sky, which was even

  • grayer than usual. Dorothy stood in the door with Toto in her

  • arms, and looked at the sky too.

  • Aunt Em was washing the dishes. From the far north they heard a low wail of

  • the wind, and Uncle Henry and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves

  • before the coming storm.

  • There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the south, and as they turned their

  • eyes that way they saw ripples in the grass coming from that direction also.

  • Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.

  • "There's a cyclone coming, Em," he called to his wife.

  • "I'll go look after the stock." Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows

  • and horses were kept.

  • Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door.

  • One glance told her of the danger close at hand.

  • "Quick, Dorothy!" she screamed.

  • "Run for the cellar!" Toto jumped out of Dorothy's arms and hid

  • under the bed, and the girl started to get him.

  • Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap door in the floor and climbed down the

  • ladder into the small, dark hole. Dorothy caught Toto at last and started to

  • follow her aunt.

  • When she was halfway across the room there came a great shriek from the wind, and the

  • house shook so hard that she lost her footing and sat down suddenly upon the

  • floor.

  • Then a strange thing happened. The house whirled around two or three times

  • and rose slowly through the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a

  • balloon.

  • The north and south winds met where the house stood, and made it the exact center

  • of the cyclone.

  • In the middle of a cyclone the air is generally still, but the great pressure of

  • the wind on every side of the house raised it up higher and higher, until it was at

  • the very top of the cyclone; and there it

  • remained and was carried miles and miles away as easily as you could carry a

  • feather.

  • It was very dark, and the wind howled horribly around her, but Dorothy found she

  • was riding quite easily.

  • After the first few whirls around, and one other time when the house tipped badly, she

  • felt as if she were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.

  • Toto did not like it.

  • He ran about the room, now here, now there, barking loudly; but Dorothy sat quite still

  • on the floor and waited to see what would happen.

  • Once Toto got too near the open trap door, and fell in; and at first the little girl

  • thought she had lost him.

  • But soon she saw one of his ears sticking up through the hole, for the strong

  • pressure of the air was keeping him up so that he could not fall.

  • She crept to the hole, caught Toto by the ear, and dragged him into the room again,

  • afterward closing the trap door so that no more accidents could happen.

  • Hour after hour passed away, and slowly Dorothy got over her fright; but she felt

  • quite lonely, and the wind shrieked so loudly all about her that she nearly became

  • deaf.

  • At first she had wondered if she would be dashed to pieces when the house fell again;

  • but as the hours passed and nothing terrible happened, she stopped worrying and

  • resolved to wait calmly and see what the future would bring.

  • At last she crawled over the swaying floor to her bed, and lay down upon it; and Toto

  • followed and lay down beside her.

  • In spite of the swaying of the house and the wailing of the wind, Dorothy soon

  • closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.

  • >

  • CHAPTER 2. The Council with the Munchkins

  • She was awakened by a shock, so sudden and severe that if Dorothy had not been lying

  • on the soft bed she might have been hurt.

  • As it was, the jar made her catch her breath and wonder what had happened; and

  • Toto put his cold little nose into her face and whined dismally.

  • Dorothy sat up and noticed that the house was not moving; nor was it dark, for the

  • bright sunshine came in at the window, flooding the little room.

  • She sprang from her bed and with Toto at her heels ran and opened the door.

  • The little girl gave a cry of amazement and looked about her, her eyes growing bigger

  • and bigger at the wonderful sights she saw.

  • The cyclone had set the house down very gently--for a cyclone--in the midst of a

  • country of marvelous beauty.

  • There were lovely patches of greensward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and

  • luscious fruits.

  • Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant

  • plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes.

  • A little way off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks,

  • and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the

  • dry, gray prairies.

  • While she stood looking eagerly at the strange and beautiful sights, she noticed

  • coming toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen.

  • They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were

  • they very small.

  • In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her

  • age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older.

  • Three were men and one a woman, and all were oddly dressed.

  • They wore round hats that rose to a small point a foot above their heads, with little

  • bells around the brims that tinkled sweetly as they moved.

  • The hats of the men were blue; the little woman's hat was white, and she wore a white

  • gown that hung in pleats from her shoulders.

  • Over it were sprinkled little stars that glistened in the sun like diamonds.

  • The men were dressed in blue, of the same shade as their hats, and wore well-polished

  • boots with a deep roll of blue at the tops.

  • The men, Dorothy thought, were about as old as Uncle Henry, for two of them had beards.

  • But the little woman was doubtless much older.

  • Her face was covered with wrinkles, her hair was nearly white, and she walked

  • rather stiffly.

  • When these people drew near the house where Dorothy was standing in the doorway, they

  • paused and whispered among themselves, as if afraid to come farther.

  • But the little old woman walked up to Dorothy, made a low bow and said, in a

  • sweet voice: "You are welcome, most noble Sorceress, to

  • the land of the Munchkins.

  • We are so grateful to you for having killed the Wicked Witch of the