Chapter 3:Down the Magic Bean Pole

Hugging the bean pole for dear life, the Scarecrow slid rapidly downward, Everything was dark, but at times a confused roaring sounded in his ears.

"Father, I hear something falling past!" shouted a gruff voice all at once.

"Then reach out and pull it in," growled a still deeper voice. There was a flash of light, a door opened suddenly, and a giant hand snatched the air just above the Scarecrow's head.

"It's a good thing I haven't a heart to fail me," murmured the Scarecrow, glancing up fearfully and clinging more tightly to the pole. "Though I fall, I shall not falter. But where under the earth am I falling to?" At that minute, a door opened far below, and someone called up:

"Who are you? Have out your toll and be ready to salute the Royal Ruler of the Middlings!"

The Scarecrow had learned in the course of his many and strange adventures that it was best to accede to every request that was reasonable or possible. Realizing that unless he answered at once he would fall past his strange questioners, he shouted amiably:

"I am the Scarecrow of Oz, sliding down my family tree!" The words echoed oddly in the narrow passageway, and by the time he reached the word "tree" the Scarecrow could make out two large brown men leaning from a door somewhere below. Next minute he came to a sharp stop. A board had shot out and closed off the passageway. So sudden was the stop that the Scarecrow was tossed violently upward. While he endeavored to regain his balance, the two Middlings eyed him curiously.

"So this is the kind of thing they grow on top," said one, holding a lantern close to the Scarecrow's head.

"Toll, Toll!" droned the other, holding out a horribly twisted hand.

"One moment, your Royal Middleness!" cried the Scarecrow, backing as far away from the lantern as he could, for with a straw stuffing one cannot be too careful of fire. He felt in his pocket for an emerald he had picked up in the Emerald City a few days before and handed it gingerly to the Muddy monarch.

"Why do you call me Middleness?" the King demanded angrily, taking the emerald.

"Is your kingdom not in the middle of the earth, and are you not royalty? What could be more proper than Royal Middleness?" asked the Scarecrow, flecking the dust from his hat.

Now that he had a better view, he saw that the two were entirely men of mud, and very roughly put together. Dried grass hair stood erect upon each head, and their faces were large and lumpy and had a disconcerting way of changing shape. Indeed, when the King leaned over to examine the Scarecrow, his features were so soft they seemed to run into his cheek, which hung down alarmingly, while his nose turned sideways and lengthened at least an inch!

Muddle pushed the King's nose back and began spreading his cheek into place. Instead of hands and feet, the Middlings had gnarled and twisted roots which curled up in a perfectly terrifying manner. Their teeth were gold, and their eyes shone like small electric lights. They wore stiff coats of dried mud, buttoned clumsily with lumps of coal, and the King had a tall mud crown. Altogether, the Scarecrow thought he had never seen more disagreeable looking creatures.

"What he needs," spluttered the King, fingering the jewel greedily, "is a coat of mud! Shall we pull him in, Muddle?"

"He's very poorly made, your Mudjesty. Can you work, Carescrow?" asked Muddle, thumping him rudely in the chest.

"Scarecrow, if you please!" The Scarecrow drew himself up and spoke with great difficulty. "I can work with my head!" he added proudly.

"Your head!" roared the King. "Did you hear that, Muddle? He works with his head. What's the matter with your hands?" Again the King lunged forward, and this time his face fell on the other side and had bulged enormously before Muddle could pat it into shape. They began whispering excitedly together, but the Scarecrow made no reply, for looking over their shoulder he glimpsed a dark, forbidding cavern lighted only by the flashing red eyes of thousands of Middlings. They appeared to be digging, and above the rattle of the shovels and picks came the hoarse voice of one of them singing the Middling National Air. Or so the Scarecrow gathered from the words:

"Oh, chop the brown clods as they fall with a thud! Three croaks for the Middlings, who stick in the Mud. Oh, mud, rich and wormy! Oh, mud, sweet and squirmy! Oh what is so lovely as Mud! Oh what is so lovely as Mud! Three croaks for the Middlings, who delve all the day In their beautiful Kingdom of soft mud and clay!"

The croaks that came at the end of the song were so terrifying that the Scarecrow shivered in spite of himself.

"Ugh! Hardly a place for a pleasant visit!" he gasped, flattening himself against the wall of the passage. Feeling that matters had gone far enough, he repeated in a loud voice:

"I am the Scarecrow of Oz and desire to continue my fall. I have paid my toll and unless your Royal Middleness release me --"

"Might as well drop him -- a useless creature!" whispered Muddle, and before the King had time to object, he jerked the board back. "Fall on!" he screeched maliciously, and the Scarecrow shot down into the darkness, the hoarse screams of the two Middlings echoing after him through the gloom.

No use trying to think! The poor Scarecrow bumped and banged from side to side of the passage. It was all he could do to keep hold of the bean pole, so swiftly was he falling.

"A good thing I'm not made of meat like little Dorothy," he wheezed breathlessly. His gloves were getting worn through from friction with the pole, and the rush of air past his ears was so confusing that he gave up all idea of thinking. Even magic brains refuse to work under such conditions. Down -- down -- down he plunged till he lost all count of time. Down -- down - down -- hours and hours! Would he never stop? Then suddenly it grew quite light, and he flashed through what appeared to be a hole in the roof of a huge silver palace, whirled down several stories and landed in a heap on the floor of a great hall. In one hand he clutched a small fan, and in the other a parasol that had snapped off the beanstalk just before he reached the palace roof.

Shaken and bent over double though he was, the Scarecrow could see that he had fallen into a company of great magnificence. He had a confused glimpse of silken clad courtiers, embroidered screens, inlaid floors, and flashing silver lanterns, when there was a thundering bang that hurled him halfway to the roof again. Falling to a sitting position and still clinging to the bean pole, he saw two giant kettle drums nearby, still vibrating from the terrible blows they had received.

The company were staring at him solemnly, and as he attempted to rise, they fell prostrate on their faces. Up flew the poor flimsy Scarecrow again, such was the draught, and this time landed on his face. He was beginning to feel terribly annoyed, but before he could open his mouth or stand up, a deep voice boomed:

"He has come!"

"He has come!" shrilled the rest of the company, thumping their heads on the stone floor. The language seemed strange to the Scarecrow, but oddly enough, he could understand it perfectly. Keeping a tight grasp on the bean pole, he gazed at the prostrate assemblage, too astonished to speak. They looked exactly like the pictures of some Chinamen he had seen in one of Dorothy's picture books back in Oz, but instead of being yellow, their skin was a curious gray, and the hair of old and young alike was silver and worn in long, stiff queues. Before he had time to observe any more, an old, old courtier hobbled forward and beckoned imperiously to a page at the door. The page immediately unfurled a huge silk umbrella and, running forward, held it over the Scarecrow's head.

"Welcome home, sublime and noble Ancestor! Welcome, honorable and exalted Sir." The old gentleman made several deep salaams.

"Welcome, immortal and illustrious Ancestor! Welcome, ancient and serene Father!" cried the others, banging their heads hard on the floor -- so hard that their queues flew into the air.

"Ancestor! Father!" mumbled the Scarecrow in a puzzled voice. Then, collecting himself somewhat, he made a deep bow, and sweeping off his hat with a truly royal gesture began: "I am indeed honored --" But he got no farther. The silken clad courtiers sprang to their feet in a frenzy of joy. A dozen seized him bodily and carried him to a great silver throne room.

"The same beautiful voice!" cried the ancient gentleman, clasping his hands in an ecstasy of feeling.

"It is he! The Emperor! The Emperor has returned! Long live the Emperor!" shouted everyone at once. The confusion grew worse and worse.

"Ancestor! Father! Emperor!" The Scarecrow could scarcely believe his ears. "For a fallen man, I am rising like yeast!" he murmured to himself. Half a dozen courtiers had run outdoors to spread the wonderful news, and soon silver gongs and bells began ringing all over the kingdom, and cries of "The Emperor! The Emperor!" added to the general excitement. Holding fast to the sides of the throne and still grasping the little fan and parasol, the Scarecrow sat blinking with embarrassment.

"If they would just stop emperoring, I could ask them who I am," thought the poor Scarecrow. As if in answer to his thoughts, the tottery old nobleman raised his long arm, and at once the hall became absolutely silent.

"Now!" sighed the Scarecrow, leaning forward. "Now I shall hear something of interest."

Chapter 1: Professor Wogglebug's Great Idea
Chapter 2: The Scarecrow's Family Tree
Chapter 3: Down the Magic Bean Pole
Chapter 4: Dorthy's Lonely Breakfast
Chapter 5: Sir Hokus of Pokes
Chapter 6: Singing Their Way Out of Pokes
Chapter 7: The Scarecrow is Hailed as Emperor
Chapter 8: The Scarecrow Studies the Silver Island
Chapter 9: "Save Us With Your Magic, Exalted One!"
Chapter 10: Princess Ozma and Betsy Bobbin Talk it Over
Chapter 11: Sir Hokus Overcometh the Giant
Chapter 12: Dorothy and Sir Hokus Come to Fix City
Chapter 13: Dancing Beds and the Roads that Unrolled
Chapter 14: Sons and Grandsons Greet the Scarecrow
Chapter 15: The Tree Princess Plot to Undue the Emperor
Chapter 16: Dorthy and Her Gaurdians Meet New Friends
Chapter 17: Doubty and Camy Vanish into Space
Chapter 18: Dorthy Finds the Scarecrow!
Chapter 19: Planning to Fly from Silver Island
Chapter 20: Dorothy Upsets the Ceremony of the Island
Chapter 21: The Escape for the Silver Island
Chapter 22: The Flight of the Parasol
Chapter 23: Safe at Last in the Land of Oz
Chapter 24: Homeward Bound to the Emerald City

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