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Excerpt for A Dreamer in Oz by , available in its entirety at Smashwords





A DREAMER IN OZ




BY

AARON JENKINS






ILLUSTRATED BY

TARYN SANDERS






LIST OF CHAPTERS


I. The Runaway Raft

II. Kukiri the Monkey Boy

III. A Wicked and Greedy Witch

IV. The Masker-Raiders

V. The Master Masker

VI. The Eatabages’ Inn

VII. The Witches’ Secret

VIII. Polychrome’s Great Fall

IX. The Land of Caves

X. Polychrome Picks a Bulb Fruit

XI. Journey Through the Ugly Cave

XII. The Goblin City

XIII. The Great Goblin Fairy

XIV. The Kingdom of Dreams

XV. Bettyby Listens

XVI. Prince Bobo of Boboland

XVII. Oz Intervenes

XVIII. The Craft of Kaleendeen

XIX. The Party Convenes

XX. The Emerald City Sleeps

XXI. The Trick of the Light

XXII. The Marvelous Land of Oz

XXIII. Dreams Come True

I. The Runaway Raft


Samantha Daly, who was but ten, lived in a small cabin in the woods with her mother and father in the bright state of California. Her father was a workman and every day he had to get up before the sun rose, while Samantha was still sleeping in her little bed, and travel to a big factory where he toiled all the day into night and didn’t come home until long after the moon and stars had appeared in the sky and Samantha had gone to sleep again.

Though she didn’t see him as often as she liked, the girl loved her father quite dearly and knew that he had no choice in the matter, for that was the way the world worked, as her mother imparted to her. Her mother stayed with Sammy, as she was affectionately called by her parents, all day, and when she wasn’t tidying the house or preparing meals, would play with her and take her for walks through the backwoods to the dainty brook behind their house.

Occasionally, she would leave Sammy at the brook with her own thoughts and musings if she promised not to stray. The girl would find a good-sized stone and sit herself upon it. There, with her hands in her lap, she would look out to the gentle brook and imagine that she was an adventurer. She would sail across the creek in a large wooden ship, and though the water was but knee-high, the girl had quite a considerable imagination and would use it to make things bigger than they were in actuality. Accompanying her was a crew of forty sailors, all girls her own age, sitting in rows on either side of the ship, twenty on the port and twenty on the starboard, rowing the oars of the massive boat as Sammy gave them their orders to “Stroke! Stroke! Stroke!” for they were off, off, off! to the end of the world!

Of course, this was all a fancy, but the girl hardly regarded it as such, and spent much of her waking hours engaging in such adventures; it was to this end that her mother had come to ascribe her a dreamer. As she lived far out in the woods away from any towns or cities, the little girl had no friends to speak of but her parents. But this hardly disheartened little Sammy, as her mind was able to invent more playmates than she could have possibly asked for.

Her parents, though, worried of her having no real-life companions, and so on her tenth birthday took her to the local park so that she could associate with animate children rather than those she had fashioned in her mind.

Sammy, though, having heretofore spent most of her days in the company of only herself or her mother, found that she was not as good a socializer as most of the children her own age, and that she had very little in common with her peers. Why, they spoke of television and movies and video games, all novelties her parents could not afford for Sammy, nor had she any desire to obtain. So she spent most of the day sitting on a park bench not far off from the children who were amusing themselves over discussions of their favorite television programs, braving imaginary storms in an imaginary ship with an imaginary crew who wanted nothing to do with television and video games, for they were off to conquer an evil troll who had enslaved Sammy’s very own mother and father!

That is where Sammy’s parents found her when they returned in the mid-afternoon, fantasizing of adventures in faraway lands, removed from the other children in the park. They were fairly concerned that their daughter had decided that she preferred to invent friends more than she did make them. But the girl assured them that she was having quite a lovely birthday imagining adventures in the comfortable atmosphere of the green park and, as her parents had another activity planned for the day, they were not allowed to fret over it for long.

Instead, they led Sammy away from the playground and to a pier which stood over a long and winding gentle river. There, tethered to one of the pier’s supporting piles was a little yellow rubber raft, bobbing up and down in the water, as if nodding pleasantly at Sammy, and this thought made the girl smile. Standing on the pier was a tall man in white shorts and a puffy orange life preserver strapped around his chest.

“Oh, and what’s all this?” inquired Sammy as they stepped onto the pier.

“Why, this is your birthday present, Sammy,” her father answered affectionately.

“Is it?” the girl wondered, for she had thought that the trip to the park alone was her gift, and was more than pleased by it.

“Indeed so,” her mother confirmed. “It’s a river rafting trip, dear. You’re going to sail across this river in that raft there in the water.”

The little girl’s eyes sparkled when she heard this, for it reminded her of her own imaginings in which she sailed across the ocean. Doubtlessly, it was hearing the girl speak of such daydreams that gave her parents the inspiration for such a gift.

“Oh, how delightful!” exclaimed the girl, clapping her hands together.

To see their daughter so elated made her parents smile gaily, for they wanted nothing more than to please Sammy on her birthday and had been planning the event for several months.

At that time the man approached Sammy and, kneeling down next to her, proceeded to strap a small life preserver such as the one he was wearing to her back and across her chest. As he did so, her father explained: “The instructor here is going to take you across the river. It’s not so boisterous as others, so you shall be quite safe so long as you mind him.”

“Aren’t you coming with me?” asked the girl.

“I’m afraid not,” replied her mother. “You see, Sammy, we could only afford a trip for one, but the instructor will watch over you and keep you safe as he is quite experienced with these things, and we’ll be waiting for you when your trip ends so that you can tell us all about your adventure.”

The girl was a bit disheartened by this news. “It’s a shame you can’t come along. I shan’t know what to do should something go wrong.”

“Don’t you worry over that,” said her father, leaning down to kiss her on the forehead. “Everything will be all right. Just stay brave and true and you shall be fine.” Then he handed her a little backpack filled with a jacket and some eatables and juice boxes should she get hungry or thirsty during the adventure, for, her father explained, the trip was to last for nearly an entire hour.

The instructor then explained all of the important procedures the girl would need to know, adding that he would be doing most of the paddling, as he was more knowledgeable in the ways of handling oars. After the lesson was completed they were ready to set off, and Sammy gave her mother and father each a big hug and kiss, and with the help of the instructor climbed down into the little rubber raft. The stream that the raft drifted upon was not so violent, but every few seconds the river’s swells bounced the raft back and forth as if the rubber boat were a tennis ball and the waves tennis rackets. The girl held stiffly to the ropes laced into the sides of the raft and waited patiently for the guide to climb aboard.

A moment later, the instructor did just that. He had with him two paddles and he handed one to Sammy, explaining that if she wished to, she could paddle as well, but it was not necessary as the river’s currents were not so strong and that he would be able to do all of the paddling for the both of them. Then, after making final inspections of the raft to make certain it was safe for travel, the instructor unfastened the raft from the pier and told Sammy to wave goodbye to her parents. This she did and in an instant they were off, coasting pleasantly down the gentle river, bobbing up and down every now and then, and pretty soon the pier and her parents had disappeared altogether.

The instructor would, from time to time, use the his paddle to redirect the raft if it began to get a bit too close to the edge of the river, and as the stream was just as gentle as her father had said, he had little trouble in doing so. As the trip went on, the girl began to feel more comfortable; indeed, she began to quite enjoy it, and it was not long before her imagination had convinced her that this trip was yet another perilous quest that she must venture to bring peace to all the world.

Now, if you don’t know, the state of California is known to have a rumbling from deep down inside the earth every so often that causes much damage to the land above it. This mischievous destruction, known as an earthquake, cannot be stopped or halted in any way, and so it is best to find safety in whatever way possible until such tremorings have ceased.

It just so happened that at the time that little Sammy was riding through the rapids on her little yellow raft an earthquake began to rumble about. As you can imagine, being on a rubber raft is not so safe a place to be during such an occurrence, and Sammy, having never been on a raft before, was not sure what to do. The instructor, who had been on a raft many times, but never when an earthquake was awakened, was so frightened by the sudden shifting of earth that he stood up to try to stop the raft from moving any farther by use of one of the ores. But this only succeeded in the poor man being thrown headlong from the raft and into the water, where he managed to grasp to a rock protruding from the water’s surface and hold fast to it as the rubber boat sped away down the river.

This earthquake was a particularly nasty one, for it was so violent and it shook the ground below so vigorously that it cracked up the earth’s surface. This caused a chasm in the ground beneath the river to break open so that all the water from the stream began to escape through it, pulling Sammy and the raft down into the abyss.

Sammy still clung to the side of the raft, for she wasn’t such a good swimmer and did not want to be thrown from it. She dare not try to stop the thing as the water led it through the passage that the earthquake had broken open, for she had seen what had happened to the guide.

It was at this time that she began to think of her poor mother and father. She wanted them to be safe and she didn’t care much what happened to her as long as no harm came to them, for the girl knew she would be quite miserable without her parents.

As she thought about this and many other thoughts, the water poured through the hollow and pulled the raft down with it, the little rubber boat riding the cascade like a great waterfall. It was a long fall down this cavern, but soon the raft alighted in the water below with a gentle plop. The waves were even angrier here and so the river pulled the raft along with such force that Sammy could not stop it in the least even if she made an attempt. Instead, she held tightly to the ropes, as the instructor had told her to do, and waited anxiously for the adventure to end.

Presently it grew darker and darker until the poor little girl could hardly see anything at all. The earth was still rumbling all around her so that now and then a few pieces of granite would come loose and fall from the ceiling and sink into the water around her. Soon, however, the earth stopped shaking and not long after that the waves calmed and the stream took her along peacefully.

The girl had not been thinking of a way to stop the raft and knew that it would be nearly impossible to come back the way she had come. So, as the waves took the little yellow raft along, the girl found herself being rocked to sleep by these now gentle waves. She lay down and pulled herself in close to the right side of the raft, wrapping her arm around the rope so she would not fall out. Then she closed her eyes and, using the pack her father had given her as a pillow, drifted into dreamland.





II. Kukiri the Monkey Boy


The girl wasn’t awakened for some hours, and as the ordeal of the temblor had worn her to a frazzle, she was compelled to sleep for quite an extended length of time. It wasn’t until the raft had come to a halt that Sammy sat up and rubbed the dreaminess from her eyes. When she did rise and stretch, she saw before her a ground of crumbled rock. After examining the cavern she was now in and finding no alternative passage to take (as there was but miles of water behind her), the girl cautiously climbed out of the raft and stumbled onto the rocks.

There was ground below these crumbled pieces of gravel and this is where the water from the river had stopped flowing. The rocks must have fallen from the roof of the little cave and so the ground was quite uneven to walk upon. The girl stumbled forward and, looking about the cave, saw very little of anything and began to fear that she would have no means of escape. But she remained stout of heart, as her father had told her, and decided, as the unexpected journey beneath the earth’s surface had made her both chilly and hungry, to take from the pack her father had given her the pink jacket he had packed and a bag of chips. She took to a corner of the somber cave and, wrapping the jacket about her shoulders, sat down upon the wet and hard rocks and had her snack.

When she was finished and had a more spirited humor about her for having a full stomach, Sammy decided to wander about the cave, for she knew it would do little good to sit in one place. The girl went to her feet and slowly began to examine the walls of the cavern, brushing her hands against the rock surface. As it was quite dark, Sammy could not much make out what she was feeling, but after a length of groping about clumsily, Sammy discovered a hole that was just wide enough for her to fit through in the farthest wall. However, it was so dark that she could hardly see what lay below and so she was hesitant to venture through the hollow, for it was a straight inclination down.

Being quite a clever child, Sammy concluded that it was possible that either water or rock lay below ground, and how far below it lay was a mystery. She knew just how to uncover such a riddle, though, and bending down she lifted up a sizeable rock from the ground and flung it into the gorge. After a moment, she heard a soft plop! and new instantly that water lay below. She was saddened by this revelation, for she knew that to travel down the hole would result in far more trouble than she was already in, and it seemed that she would forever be trapped in her cavern.

It was such a sad thought that Sammy was certain tears would flood her eyes. But she held them back, and instead decided to return to the shore of the cave and pull the raft onto land so that it did not float away. Then she settled into the raft and began to muse over all her misfortunes and this time she could not hold back her tears, for it was such a sad state of affairs which fate had presented to her.

After a long while of shedding tears, the girl wiped off her cheeks and decided that the best thing to do was take action. She could not return the way she had come, for the current was moving in the opposite direction and the hole she had fallen through was much too high and much too far off in the distance for her to reach. And, as there was no other means of escape from the cave, the girl concluded that she must abandon the cavern and explore the new opening she had discovered, water below or not.

Slowly dragging the raft behind her, she approached the hole and peered down inside. She could not see at all what lay below, it was so dismal, and she feared the tunnel was farther down than she hoped. She first dropped the raft into the water below, and she heard it land softly in the water, for she was certain she would need it once she came to the end of the channel. She then ran her fingers along the bottom edges of the hole and, finding it jagged enough to get a firm grip-hold, the girl began the climb down. The hole wasn’t as far down as she had thought it might be and it was just a few struggling minutes before she reached the bottom.

She could just make out her raft, swaying gently in the pool, and she found it quite easy to drop into the water and swim, with the preserver keeping her afloat, to the rubber craft and climb aboard. Then, using the paddle the instructor had given her, she pushed the raft across the still water, all the time the ground inclining farther and farther upward.

It was some long struggling minutes before the water ended and firm ground lifted up once more. Here she climbed out of the raft and examined the area about. The ceiling was but a foot above her head and the cave here was well-lighted, for there were many cracks in the ceiling above now. This the girl was happy to see, for this had to mean that she was close to the earth above. But there were no more holes to travel through in this cave, and so her only way out was up. She made an attempt, and began to poke at the ceiling above with her paddle. But she found the roof to be quite hard and too sturdy for a small girl such as herself to break apart. Again, she took to her raft and, crossing her legs, she sat down inside it and began to think.

Though there was much more light and much more fresh air in this part of the cave, and though she felt so much closer to the earth’s surface, the girl still felt sad, for her home still seemed so very far away and it seemed nearly impossible for her to invent a scheme to reach the surface, despite her colorful imagination.

She sat there in her raft for some time, musing and wondering and distressing, and never ceased until she heard an odd noise coming from just above. It was much like the sound of scraping and clawing, and the girl at once began to fear that a beast was trying to break through the ceiling. But, as she had nowhere to escape to, the girl stayed where she was and after a few moments a little hole began to form in the roof of the cave and slowly, slowly it began to widen until it was large enough for a small person to fit through. Then a head popped out of the hole. Indeed, not any head, but a furry head, with a body attached no less, and this body, not noticing Sammy at first, dropped itself cautiously onto the cave’s floor.

This person looked like a child, a boy, except that he was covered all in brown fur and his face resembled a monkey in some ways and a human in others. He wore a white button-up shirt and purple trousers with a little sailor’s cap atop his head, and a long curving tail poked through the seat of



his pants, which waved back and forth as if it had a mind of its own. Sammy stared with wonder at the boy for a long time, for she had never seen a creature so queer before. The boy, at that time, began to examine the cave himself, and this was the first time that he laid his eyes upon Sammy.

“Oh!” cried the monkey boy, startled, for he had thought (reasonably) that he would be alone in the desolate cave. “Who are you?”

Sammy hesitated to answer, for she felt it was a dream that she had yet to awaken from. But after a moment she stood and politely curtsied, as her mother had taught her to do when introducing herself, and said: “My name is Samantha Daly, but I am known as Sammy.”

“Oh,” said the boy. He took the little cap from atop his head and chewed on the brim nervously. “Do you live here?”

“Oh no,” answered the girl. “I live up above the earth’s surface, but was trapped here during an earthquake.”

“How long have you been here then?” asked the boy after a moment of thought.

“Oh, just a short time now,” answered Sammy honestly. “The current brought me here and I’ve been pondering a way to return to the land above for some time now, as I am really not very fond of damp and dark places.” And all this was quite true.

“I see,” replied the boy. “Then I suppose it is no more your home than it is mine.”

“Not at all,” the girl shook her head, though she didn’t understand why anyone would want to make the ugly cave into a home.

“If you wish, Sammy,” the boy continued, “you may use the tunnel I used as an entrance for an exit. It shall take you sraight up to the earth above. And if you don’t mind, I shall like to claim this cave as my new home.”

Sammy was quite pleased to hear this. “Oh, it is quite all right!” she exclaimed. “But tell me,” she said shortly, “why would you want to live in such a horrid place? The earth is much more comfortable, for it has the air and the sun and the trees and the sky, and this place is quite lonely. I wouldn’t want to spend any more time down here than I would have to, after all.”

The boy’s eyes shifted back and forth, as if he were searching for something or someone, then he answered quietly: “I’m running away.”

“But why?” inquired Sammy with much interest, and though she was shy, she found the boy so queer that she felt as if she was daydreaming, and it gave her the confidence to be forthcoming.

“I must,” said the boy, “or that old witch would have destroyed me.”

“Witch?” asked the girl. “I had no idea such things were real.”

“They are quite real,” returned the boy. “It was the witch Kaleendeen who transformed me into the furry creature you see before you.”

“You look much like a monkey,” said the girl, examining the boy from head to tail.

“Indeed I am,” said he. “A monkey boy, or so the witch proclaimed. She said I was as foolish and mischievous as a monkey and so she transformed me so that my appearance would resemble my personality. She had a good cackle of it, too, the rotten creature.

“She had meant to imprison me as she had my father, who is the king of our land, but while she was snickering over her wicked deed, I escaped, and it was then, as I was fleeing my land, that I heard her shout after me that should I ever return she would use her magical arts to put an end to my life. So, knowing that to return would be my end, I began to dig a whole in the beach, for I had heard stories of unexplored caves hidden below the sand, and as my hands were now paws and had claws attached, I found it quite easy to dig, and so stole into this cave to escape that nasty witch.”

Sammy found the story to be quite unusual, for it sounded more like something she would imagine. “Did she really imprison your entire land?”

“Yes, indeed,” the monkey boy confirmed. “She imprisoned my father in our jail house and commanded my people not to abandon our town, for she meant to rule over them as their new queen, and promised that if any of them attempted to escape that she would have them all turned to slugs. She wanted to conquer my father’s land, for its caves are rich in jewels and precious stones and it was these that she was to present to the Great Goblin Fairy, who recently came to earth from the sky and claims herself ruler of all witches. She has promised to make Kaleendeen a full witch should she bring her back an assortment of beautiful and valuable rocks and prove herself to be a mighty creature.

“My father sent out our army to overcome her, but as my people know little of magic, the witch conquered them easily. I tried to put an end to her wicked deeds by shattering her crystal in which she stores all of the magic she has accumulated in her life, but she discovered this and transformed me into a monkey boy for my defiance. Now my father and his kingdom are lost forever!”

Upon finishing his grave story the boy monkey began to sputter and weep. The little girl draped her arm over the boy’s furry shoulders and, in a soothing tone, said: “There, there now. I’m sorry for your people, for to be trapped by a wicked witch is quite a terrible thing, I can imagine. Which land is it you said you come from?”

“Waxille,” the boy answered with a gulp. “It was quite a lovely kingdom, too, until that dreadful witch came along and vanquished it.”

“I’ve never heard of such a land as Waxille,” said Sammy curiously. “Tell me, in which country does the land reside?”

“Boboland,” answered the boy.

“I have never heard of such a country,” Sammy mused. “I must have floated a good distance away from California, for I don’t believe that I’ve ever noticed any place such as ‘Boboland’ on any map I’ve ever read. Tell me, is this country near the United States of America?”

The boy monkey considered this for a moment. “I’m not certain. I have never heard of such a country.”

“I thought everyone had heard of America,” Sammy said with wonder. “It’s quite an important country, after all.”

“It mustn’t be as important as you suppose, then. Perhaps your people hold themselves in higher esteem than they are deserved.”

“I’m not certain,” answered Sammy. “We are quite proud. Still, I’m sure we are more well-known than any Boboland.”

The boy monkey huffed defensively. “I should say, you’re one to talk ill of nations you know nothing of. Are all your people like this?”

“Oh, I meant nothing by it ...” here she paused. “How rude of me! I beg your pardon, but I never inquired your name.”

“It is Kukiri,” supplied the boy.

“Well, Kukiri, I suppose it is quite rude of me to speak ill of things I know little about. Did you say that this Waxille land is just above our heads?”

“It is,” confirmed Kukiri. “But it is now quite a dreadful place, for the ugly witch Kaleendeen has claimed it as her own kingdom and has thieved it of all its lovely jewels and gems, which are the hallmark of my land. It may be best if you stay down here with me, Sammy, for it is much safer down here than it is up there.”

“Oh, but I can’t stay here,” Sammy objected. “Why, I’d miss my home too much. And I’d surely starve to death, for I haven’t enough snacks to last me for all my life.”

“Why, you needn’t worry of death,” Kukiri replied. “Nobody dies in Boboland at all, you know. Do you die in your own land?”

“I haven’t yet,” said Sammy, “but it’s quite an inevitability. Tell me, how is it possible that you can live forever in your land of Waxille?”

“It is quite a common thing,” answered Kukiri with a waggish grin. “If people die in your country, then it must be quite plain and ordinary. Boboland, you see, is a fairy country. Hasn’t your land ever been enchanted?”

“No, never,” admitted Sammy. “I didn’t know such things as fairies and witches were real until I came here.”

Kukiri released a short chortle. “I don’t see why you hold your country in such high regard, then. It must be as plain and simple as this awful cave. If it is not a fairy country, it must not amount to much, and must endure much hostility and malevolence, for there is no magic to make your land as lovely as my own.”

“I don’t see how this land is so lovely,” Sammy said with indignation, pressing her hands on her hips. “What with all the witches and goblins conquering your land, I’d much prefer America to any magical kingdom where evil creatures such as witches reside.”

“All lands are inhabited by some form of evil,” said Kukiri solemnly, “for the world is quite balanced, or so my father tells me, and for all good things there are always some bad. It just so happens that in fairylands most people are content, for we can live as we choose without oppression. But it is those wicked creatures who ruin it for all and which have forced me to live in an ugly cavern for all time!”

“It’s a shame,” said Sammy. “I do wish I could help, but I’m afraid that I am too delicate to do battle with a dreadful witch.”

“I should think so!” replied Kukiri. “You are but a mortal girl, and a witch would make quick work of you, especially one as nasty as old Kaleendeen. That is why you should remain here with me, Sammy, for here you will be safe and that witch shall never find us.”

“But I must get home,” Sammy answered sorrowfully. “My parents will worry over me if I should never return and I shall be quite unhappy if I never see them again. I just must get back to California. Do you think, Kukiri, that if I left this cave, that the evil witch would transform me into a monkey as well?”

“Perhaps not a monkey,” decided the boy. “She may transform you into any number of things of her desire, and then confine you in our prison with my father. It would be for the best if you remain here and live with me. The cave shan’t be such a bad place if we fix it up some.”

“I just can’t stay here, Kukiri,” returned the girl positively. “Living in an ugly and lonely cave forever isn’t much of a life, anyhow, and I’d prefer to be imprisoned than to be coerced by some vile witch to live in a dark and ugly cave for all time against my will.”

With that, she returned to her raft and, discarding the life jacket she wore, proceeded to let the air out of it. She then folded it up into her pack and, as her jacket was now removed and on her back, there was just enough room for the craft all folded up, and she wedged it inside, rearranging her eatables and drinkables, and then zipped the pack up once more and returned it to her shoulder.

“Wish me luck, Kukiri,” here she blew a kiss at him and then approached the hole that the boy monkey had just dug.

As she gaped up at the hole, wondering what would be the best way to get herself in it and through the tunnel, the boy monkey suddenly sprinted at her, on both his arms and legs, and leaped before her. The girl was startled at first and released a sharp cry of surprise, for she hadn’t seen the boy monkey advance upon her, he was so quick and light-footed in his enchanted form.

“Are you really going to up to Waxille?” he inquired tentatively.

“I must,” the girl confirmed earnestly.

“Then I shall go with you,” said the boy monkey valiantly. “I am a perfect coward for abandoning my people and my father the way I did, and this dreary cave shall be no substitution for my beautiful fairyland of Waxille. If we are to be imprisoned, then so be it, but I shall not have it of my own design.”

“Good!” Sammy clapped her hands cheerily, for she really didn’t want to travel to the strange land alone. “I’d be happy to help your people, if perhaps you can assist me in returning to my home in California.”

“I have never heard of the place, but I will be sure to assist you in any way that I can, for I shall be much obliged for your service should we manage to relieve my people without the witch enchanting us,” said Kukiri with a bow.

“Very well,” agreed Sammy. “Shall you go first?”

Without a reply, the boy monkey sprang up with a great leap, for his enchanted body was quite agile, and disappeared into the hole. Then, he lowered his tail from the hole and said: “Grab onto my tail. Don’t worry, it will not hurt much.”

The girl obeyed, taking the boy’s tail as if it were a rope and holding tight. Then Kukiri scurried up the tunnel he had dug, the girl hanging onto his tail just behind, and climbed up to the earth’s surface.





III. A Wicked and Greedy Witch


It didn’t take long for the nimble monkey boy to carry Sammy up through the tunnel and above ground. Here the pair found themselves on an expansive beach, its shores quite fresh and beautiful looking. All around there was the smell of fresh sea air and for the first time in some time Sammy felt like she was at home. Kukiri set himself upon the beach to rest, for the climb had tired him a good deal, having to carry the extra weight of the little girl behind him.

After he had caught his breath, Kukiri stood and surveyed the land around. “I don’t see that old witch anywhere.”

“We should be thankful for that,” said Sammy. It gave the little girl chills just to think of encountering an honest-to-goodness witch.

“Perhaps she returned to the Goblin Fairy’s Kingdom,” Kukiri said hopefully. “If so, we should hurry, for she is sure to return. We must try to free my father from the town’s prison forthwith.”

There was no argument from Sammy, and so the two went forward, the boy monkey leading the way across the sandy beach.

It wasn’t long before the beach gave way to a cobblestone floor and the adventurers found themselves in the land of Waxille. It was a queer place, for there was not an inch of grass or vegetation about. There were only long stretching trees, reaching into the sky with long spreading branches and large hanging leaves. All the houses were made of stone, some brown, some gray, some black. The more expensive homes had lovely jewels ornamented upon the doorways and windowsills as decoration to help to enliven the drab colors of the bedrock village. The roads were paved with flat smooth rock and there were lampposts dotting these roads, each one topped with a large jewel of various colors that only need be lighted to cast its lovely glow. Sammy thought that it must be quite a spectacle to see at night, with all the assorted radiance reflecting upon the town, and she supposed that the place was much prettier then than it was in the day.

“Let’s hurry,” suggested Kukiri, who then bounded off toward the center of the town. “Follow me!” he called behind him.

This Sammy did, and she dashed after him. She had nearly lost him, he was so swift and the land was so strange to her, but she caught sight of him as he was turning a corner onto a new street and was able to reach him where he had stopped just before the grand rock palace that stood directly in the center of the city. The boy monkey gazed up at it longingly, for it had been his home up until that very day when the witch had invaded his land and enslaved his father.

“My father’s castle,” said Kukiri presently, motioning toward the building. “I suppose that old witch Kaleendeen intends to make it her own home now. To think that she should become our own ruler!” The boy shuddered at the thought. “We just must stop her, Sammy. Look how she’s stripped every palace wall of its beautiful jewels! It looks as if it is nothing more than an ugly mountain.”

Indeed it was true. The castle was as plain as any rock building, the jewels and gems that had once been adorning the exterior walls now removed, in their place only niches carved into the stone surface made especially for their placement. It was quite drab all around, and tears swelled in Kukiri’s eyes upon the sight, for to see his once grandiose home defaced in such a manner was something he had never fancied.

Sammy attempted to console her new friend and reminded him that they must hurry if they wanted to save his father. That thought instantly made Kukiri compose himself, and without so much as a sniffle, he bounded off again, and Sammy again resumed her chase of the boy monkey.

It just so happened, though, that Kaleendeen, the awful witch who had conquered Kukiri’s land, hadn’t yet left to present the jewels she had collected from Waxille to the Great Goblin Fairy. Presently, she was sitting in the former Waxille king’s throne, drumming her long, oily fingers upon the arm of the royal chair, pondering to herself of what she should do next. For the Great Goblin Fairy had also told her that jewels and gems would not be enough to persuade the ruler of all witches to make her a full witch, and it was this above all other things that Kaleendeen greatly desired.

No, the powerful and wicked Fairy also demanded that Kaleendeen prove herself worthy of such an honor, and the old witch felt that to simply conquer a little rock land in the country of Boboland would not be enough to secure such a privilege. It was at that time, while she sat upon her new throne, reflecting upon this demand, that three gray doves came flapping into the closest window in the tower and sat themselves upon the arm of her throne.

“What is it?” barked the witch. She had convinced the doves to serve her and keep watch over the country for anything that seemed suspicious, and they were obliged to obey, for they knew that the old witch was powerful enough to put an end to them should they refuse her.

“Two persons,” announced the middle dove, cocking its head up to view the witch. “They have traveled from the beach and have just passed the castle.”

“They dare disobey me?” roared the witch, rising to her feet and shaking her fists in the air. “The beach! Who lives on the beach?”

“I’m not certain,” said the left dove. “But they are both children, one a girl, and the other looks much like a furry monkey.”

The witch smiled wickedly upon that announcement. “Oh, the monkey boy!” she cackled to herself. “Has he returned? It shan’t take much to do away with him and the lass who’s accompanying him, I should imagine. Bring them to me!”

The doves did not obey instantly, and it was the right dove that explained: “The boy monkey looks quite vicious. I don’t believe that we could bring him down at all, your Royal Witchedness.”

Kaleendeen rolled her eyes at this statement, but did not deny the truthfulness of it. “Very well,” said she, waving a hand at the birds. “Be off with you. Continue your survey of my country. I shall see to the boy monkey and the girl myself.”

The doves bowed obediently and fluttered out the window. The witch, taking up her own crystal which held all of her evil powers, and a bag of magic powder, which she used for transformations, then cast a spell to transport herself to the location of our adventurers and she disappeared in half an instant.

Kukiri, at that time, had just turned onto the rocky street in which the town’s jail was located, and Sammy was skipping just behind when suddenly they were surrounded by a wisp of smoke, twirling about their forms, until it all collected into one mass and suddenly became the wicked witch Kaleendeen.

Kukiri released a frightful gasp upon sight of the creature, and nearly tore away for the beach. He would have done so, had he not remembered that Sammy would be left behind, and being a mere mortal, would be doomed, for the witch would easily destroy a meek little girl without any hesitation whatever. So he stayed, knees trembling as they were, and tried to be brave for the sake of his new friend.

The witch grinned wretchedly at the two, stroking her precious magic jewel in her hands over and over again. Her skin was of an orange complexion, not pretty in any way, and nearly the color of dried mud. She had a long, turned-up nose that pointed at the sky and a long, pointing chin. She had atop her head the King of Waxille’s crown, and though it was quite a lovely quartzite crown, the very fact that the witch wore it made it ugly.

“You,” she pointed her bony finger at the boy monkey. “I thought you were told to never return. You disobey me?”

Kukiri could not find the words to speak, and the boy monkey seemed to slump and shrink away, hoping that the witch would forget that he stood before her.

“For that,” cackled the witch, “I shall make you into an ugly spider and squash you under my heel! That should be a fine retribution for your defiance.”

The witch reached into her pouch of magic powder to grab a handful, and as she did so, Sammy stepped forward and cried: “Now, you can’t do that!”

“Oh, and who are you to stop me?” demanded the witch.

“I’m Samantha Daly,” announced the girl. “People I’m friendly with may call me Sammy, but I believe you should call me Miss Daly, seeing as how I’m not too fond of you myself.”

“Why, you’ve got a mouth!” chided the witch. “You would be wise to be amiable to those more wicked and more powerful than yourself. Insolent whelps are liable to receive a just punishment, and a just punishment from a witch is quite a wicked punishment indeed!”

“As for that,” said Sammy, “you are quite a wicked creature and you have captured my friend’s land unjustly and, thus, must return it to him at once and set all of his people free again.”

The witch suddenly crowed with laughter when she heard these words, and the little girl and her companion had to cover their ears, for when the witch raised her voice so high it pierced their eardrums like a shrill whistle.

“You’re quite a surly young imp,” said the witch in a hissing voice. “Perhaps I shall transform you into a goat as I believe it fits you quite well.”

“But I don’t want to be a goat,” Sammy stomped her foot with annoyance.

“Then it is a fine punishment,” decided the witch, removing a clump of dust from her pack. “For if it was something you would like to be, it wouldn’t be much of a punishment at all. Now hold still so I may enchant you.”

“You cannot,” cried Kukiri, stepping before Sammy as if to shield her from the witch. “She is but a mortal girl and you have no right to transform her.”

“I have every right!” returned Kaleendeen coldly. “I am the ruler of this land and it is my rule which must be obeyed. Away with you, you scampish rascal.”

Kukiri stood boldly, but with a flick of the witch’s thin wrist the boy was hurled to the ground. Without further delay, the witch held out the palm of her hand in which she had gathered a small pile of the magic powder of transformation and blew at it. The dusty magic swam into the air and began to surround the girl all around. But it just so happened by coincidence that a strong gust picked up then and, as the witch was looking through a little book of magic which she had stolen from an elderly wizard hundreds of years ago, the powder was blown away from Sammy’s person and dusted the witch instead. So preoccupied was she with flipping through the pages of her magic book, searching for the appropriate incantation, that the old witch did not notice this occurrence.

Finally she found the correct spell and, placing her finger under the text, read it aloud:


“A bird which flies, a fish which floats!

Transform this lass into a living goat!”


But, low and behold, just as Sammy was certain she was to become an ugly goat, she found that her features did not alter at all. Instead, it was the evil witch who found herself suddenly transformed. Thick and ugly brown fur grew out of her skin and her nose turned round and black, and two long winding horns grew out from the top of her head.

“Baah!” cried the witch in a shrill reverberating voice. “What treachery is this? How is it that I am a goat and you are not?”

Sammy stared blankly back at the funny looking creature, she herself not knowing quite what had happened.

“Surely you are no simple mortal as I had first assumed!” groaned Kaleendeen frantically. “Why, you must be a witch yourself, or some sort of magic-maker at the least! No mortal could have prevented such an incantation and then inflict the enchantment upon my person in turn!”

The witch’s sheepish face grew menacing, but there was some fear in her eyes, for she had no idea what creature stood before her presently, and the unknown is quite a frightful thing. But she remained as wicked as before and calmly growled at the girl: “I’ll return, you can be sure, and be done with you after I am made a full witch! Then we will see what sort of fay you are!”

With that, the witch raised her arms into the air and mumbled a little rhyme, and was suddenly gone in a puff of smoke.

Sammy was so taken aback by the entire situation that she could not move for a long while. But then she remembered her new friend and hurried to help him to his feet, for he had taken quite a tumble when the witch had slung him aside. The boy monkey arose clumsily with the girl’s assistance and, shaking his head, asked: “Is it true, Sammy? Are you a true fairy?”

“No,” said Sammy instantly. “Not that I know of, anyhow.”

Kukiri was saddened to hear this. “But,” he piped, “how did you prevent old Kaleendeen’s enchantment? I am but a boy who lives in a fairyland, but I am no mortal either, and I could not have prevented such an enchantment in the least. You must have magic of some sort in you.”

“I don’t believe so, Kukiri,” returned the girl honestly. “I think,” she mused, “that the wind just happened to come by and blow the powder away from me. If the witch had been paying any attention she may have realized that herself.”

“Then I’m surely glad she wasn’t,” replied Kukiri. “It is fortunate for you. You would not like being enchanted. It is not a pleasant experience, much the way one may feel when wearing someone else’s clothes, but greatly magnified.”

“I can imagine,” nodded Sammy sympathetically. “I wish I were a fairy, Kukiri, then I could disenchant you and put an end to that wicked old witch.”

“That would surely resolve our dilemma. But any assistance you can give is more than I should hope for. But let’s hasten, while the witch is gone. We must free my father. Perhaps he will have some thoughts on how we can stop that dreadful witch. This way!”

Kukiri bounded forward again and Sammy followed him just behind and it wasn’t long until they came upon the little rock prison. It had one door and one sole window with bars carved out of granite in it, and when Sammy peered through the slats she saw a little round man, sitting on a hard rock cot, clothed in a beautiful brown robe laced with a golden fringe, looking awfully glum.

“Is that your father?” she asked Kukiri.

The boy monkey glanced into the window and nodded. “Indeed it is. That is my father, King Menias. Oh, he looks so undignified without his crown!”

The boy monkey bounded to the prison’s door, but found that no matter how hard he pushed against it that it would not come open.

“It is locked,” Kukiri reported, then darted to the window and, sticking his nose between the bars, called inside: “Father! Father! Can you see me? Are you all right?”

“Who said that?” inquired the former king, looking up to the window. “You sound like my son, Kukiri, but all I see is a vulgar monkey. Have you eaten my son, you savage beast?”

“No, father! I am your son!” exclaimed Kukiri. “That evil witch transformed me into this ugly creature you see before you!”

“I am sorry for you, my son,” said the king solemnly. “That old witch has caused us nothing but trouble. I wish there was something to be done about it, but none of our people have the ability to rival her conjuries. It is a shame, but I fear that our land is lost! You’d best run off and find some new country to take you in. I am sorry that you must live as a monkey, but that is better than to live under the rule of wretched witch and live as a monkey, I suppose.”

“I shan’t go without you father,” said the boy monkey instantly.

“It is no use,” returned King Menias. “The witch has enchanted the lock, as she has on all the houses in our kingdom. We may only leave our homes when the witch chooses us to, and I suppose that will only be to act as her servants. To think, from royalty to peon! What a dreadful turnabout!”

“But isn’t there anything that’s to be done, father?” begged Kukiri. “I mustn’t abandon my country, you know, lest someone call me unpatriotic.”

“I’m afraid not, son,” returned his father. “You see, the only way to free us would be to conquer the witch herself and have her destroyed. That would put an end to all of her wicked enchantments. But it would require magical abilities to do so, of which none in our land has; otherwise, we would never have been occupied like this.”

“The witch believes that I have magical powers,” said Sammy, standing on her tip-toes to see into the window; “though in reality I am just a mortal girl.”

“A mortal girl? Why, it’s a pleasure to meet you, my dear,” said the king genuinely, and here he stood and bowed politely. “We don’t get mortals in our domain often, and if I weren’t confined as I am now I would treat you to a grand luncheon, for it is said that all mortals who come from the outside world are great luck and bring prosperity to the land in which they arrive.”

“As for that, all I’d really want is to return home, but I thank you for your graciousness, anyhow,” said Sammy politely.

“Any time,” answered the king. “You know,” said he thoughtfully, “if you are a mortal then perhaps you can help us, after all. The first mortal that ever came to our region slew two wicked witches and brought much rejoicing to the land of Oz, which is north-east of our country of Boboland. For many years those horrid creatures brought misery to the land, and not even the great Wizard of Oz could put an end to their mischief, nor Glinda the Good or the Good Witch of the North. But it was a mortal who saved the Land of Oz and perhaps you can do the same for our land of Waxille!”

“I don’t see how,” sighed Sammy. “I’ve no magic of my own, and I’d be a goat presently hadn’t a gust of wind perchance arisen when that evil witch tried to enchant me. I certainly couldn’t destroy anything, especially not such a powerful witch!”

“Perhaps I was being too brash,” apologized King Menias. “But you may be able to help us anyhow. You see, I’ve heard it told that there is but one way to destroy a wicked witch, but it is a closely guarded secret that few know. But, so it is rumored, the windmill watcher in Cadancal, which is in South Boboland, knows this secret, for he once served for an evil witch before she was expelled from his country.”

“Then we must go to Cadancal,” determined Kukiri, “and have the windmill watcher tell us the witches’ secret so that we may dispose of Kaleendeen properly and rescue my people! Perhaps if we hurry, we can discover the secret and put an end to the witch before she arrives at the Great Goblin Fairy’s kingdom. One shouldn’t venture into that wicked creature’s domains unless they must.”

“The Great Goblin Fairy?” cried the king and he leaped into the air with a start. “Does that mean that she wishes to become a full witch?”

“It does,” said Kukiri positively. “She said so herself.”

“What a horrible thing that would be!” exclaimed the king. “If she were to become a full witch, there would be no natural way to put an end to her. Once she is made a full witch, the only way to destroy such a creature would be with magic, or so I’ve heard told. Then we would be doomed for all time, for we possess no magic to speak of.”

“Then we must hasten,” said Kukiri decidedly. “We must discover the secret and dispose of the witch before she visits the Great Goblin Fairy, or my land will be lost forever. Sammy, will you come with me? I’d hate to journey alone.”

“Of course,” returned the girl. “There’s not much to do in this land anyway, what with the witch having imprisoned everyone, and I’d simply lose myself if I journeyed alone in this strange country.”

“Good!” exclaimed the boy monkey. “I will protect you every step of the way, for in my enchanted form I can be quite ferocious when I want, and have sharp claws and teeth. I shan’t let you be harmed at all. And as soon as the witch is destroyed and our land is liberated, I and my people shall do everything in our power to help you return to your country, for we will be indebted to you for all time.”

“Indeed,” confirmed the king. “Any help at all we may lend, we shall!”

“Thank you,” said Sammy. “Shall we go?”

“At once,” nodded the boy monkey. “Follow me, Sammy, and we’ll be in Cadancal in no time!”

This the girl did, and the king watched from his window as the queer couple dashed away down a cobblestone road, toward what adventures he wasn’t certain.





IV. The Masker-Raiders


Late afternoon fell to early evening as the pair progressed through the country of Boboland, having some while ago left Waxille behind. The ground was much more uneven in the wilderness outside Waxille and there were no paved roads at all. Because there had been many other occasions of wretched beings attempting to thieve the land’s precious jewels, the boy monkey told Sammy, it had been ordained that no one unless invited should enter Waxille, and so the city had been cut off from the rest of the country of Boboland some many years ago. But, added he, since Sammy was from a non-fairyland and could not know of such a decree, there was no reason to hold her accountable, considering her intentions were not wicked in the least.

After they had traveled for nearly three hours on foot, Sammy stopped to eat some more of the snacks that were in her pack and drink the juice drinks she had been given. She offered some to the boy monkey who took a bit, but not much, for the girl needed it more than he, as she was accustomed to eating three times a day, while the boy monkey could go for some days without becoming so hungry, and would never grow ill or die without food in his stomach.

After they had rested under a tall, sloping tree for some time, the party made off again toward Candancal which was near the shore in the southern region of Boboland and, explained Kukiri, would take them nearly half a day to reach.


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