The Marvelous Land of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
The Marvelous Powder of Life
After considering the matter carefully, Tip decided that the best place
to locate Jack would be at the bend in the road, a little way from the
house. So he started to carry his man there, but found him heavy and
rather awkward to handle. After dragging the creature a short distance
Tip stood him on his feet, and by first bending the joints of one leg,
and then those of the other, at the same time pushing from behind, the
boy managed to induce Jack to walk to the bend in the road. It was not
accomplished without a few tumbles, and Tip really worked harder than he
ever had in the fields or forest; but a love of mischief urged him on,
and it pleased him to test the cleverness of his workmanship.
"Jack's all right, and works fine!" he said to himself, panting with the
unusual exertion. But just then he discovered the man's left arm had
fallen off in the journey so he went back to find it, and afterward, by
whittling a new and stouter pin for the shoulder-joint, he repaired the
injury so successfully that the arm was stronger than before. Tip also
noticed that Jack's pumpkin head had twisted around until it faced his
back; but this was easily remedied. When, at last, the man was set up
facing the turn in the path where old Mombi was to appear, he looked
natural enough to be a fair imitation of a Gillikin farmer, -- and
unnatural enough to startle anyone that came on him unawares.
As it was yet too early in the day to expect the old woman to return
home, Tip went down into the valley below the farm-house and began to
gather nuts from the trees that grew there.
However, old Mombi returned earlier than usual. She had met a crooked
wizard who resided in a lonely cave in the mountains, and had traded
several important secrets of magic with him. Having in this way secured
three new recipes, four magical powders and a selection of herbs of
wonderful power and potency, she hobbled home as fast as she could, in
order to test her new sorceries.
So intent was Mombi on the treasures she had gained that when she turned
the bend in the road and caught a glimpse of the man, she merely nodded
"Good evening, sir."
But, a moment after, noting that the person did not move or reply, she
cast a shrewd glance into his face and discovered his pumpkin head
elaborately carved by Tip's jack-knife.
"Heh!" ejaculated Mombi, giving a sort of grunt; "that rascally boy has
been playing tricks again! Very good! ve -- ry good! I'll beat him
black- and-blue for trying to scare me in this fashion!"
Angrily she raised her stick to smash in the grinning pumpkin head of
the dummy; but a sudden thought made her pause, the uplifted stick left
motionless in the air.
"Why, here is a good chance to try my new powder!" said she, eagerly.
"And then I can tell whether that crooked wizard has fairly traded
secrets, or whether he has fooled me as wickedly as I fooled him."
So she set down her basket and began fumbling in it for one of the
precious powders she had obtained.
While Mombi was thus occupied Tip strolled back, with his pockets full
of nuts, and discovered the old woman standing beside his man and
apparently not the least bit frightened by it.