Chapter 12, Wizard of Oz

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wicked witch of the west and winged monkeys

The famous Wicked Witch of the West sends armies of strange creatures to attack Dorothy and her friends. But neither wolves nor crows can get the better of them. The Winged Monkeys prove to be the most dangerous threat. This is an EXCITING chapter....

Read by Natasha. Duration 29.

12. The Search for the Wicked Witch

The soldier with the green whiskers led them through the streets of the
Emerald City until they reached the room where the Guardian of the
Gates lived. This officer unlocked their spectacles to put them back
in his great box, and then he politely opened the gate for our friends.

"Which road leads to the Wicked Witch of the West?" asked Dorothy.

"There is no road," answered the Guardian of the Gates. "No one ever
wishes to go that way."

"How, then, are we to find her?" inquired the girl.

"That will be easy," replied the man, "for when she knows you are in
the country of the Winkies she will find you, and make you all her

"Perhaps not," said the Scarecrow, "for we mean to destroy her."

"Oh, that is different," said the Guardian of the Gates. "No one has
ever destroyed her before, so I naturally thought she would make slaves
of you, as she has of the rest. But take care; for she is wicked and
fierce, and may not allow you to destroy her. Keep to the West, where
the sun sets, and you cannot fail to find her."

They thanked him and bade him good-bye, and turned toward the West,
walking over fields of soft grass dotted here and there with daisies
and buttercups. Dorothy still wore the pretty silk dress she had put
on in the palace, but now, to her surprise, she found it was no longer
green, but pure white. The ribbon around Toto's neck had also lost its
green color and was as white as Dorothy's dress.

The Emerald City was soon left far behind. As they advanced the ground
became rougher and hillier, for there were no farms nor houses in this
country of the West, and the ground was untilled.

In the afternoon the sun shone hot in their faces, for there were no
trees to offer them shade; so that before night Dorothy and Toto and
the Lion were tired, and lay down upon the grass and fell asleep, with
the Woodman and the Scarecrow keeping watch.

Now the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as
powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere. So, as she sat in
the door of her castle, she happened to look around and saw Dorothy
lying asleep, with her friends all about her. They were a long
distance off, but the Wicked Witch was angry to find them in her
country; so she blew upon a silver whistle that hung around her neck.

At once there came running to her from all directions a pack of great
wolves. They had long legs and fierce eyes and sharp teeth.

"Go to those people," said the Witch, "and tear them to pieces."

"Are you not going to make them your slaves?" asked the leader of the

"No," she answered, "one is of tin, and one of straw; one is a girl and
another a Lion. None of them is fit to work, so you may tear them into
small pieces."

"Very well," said the wolf, and he dashed away at full speed, followed
by the others.

It was lucky the Scarecrow and the Woodman were wide awake and heard
the wolves coming.

"This is my fight," said the Woodman, "so get behind me and I will meet
them as they come."

He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of
the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf's
head from its body, so that it immediately died. As soon as he could
raise his axe another wolf came up, and he also fell under the sharp
edge of the Tin Woodman's weapon. There were forty wolves, and forty
times a wolf was killed, so that at last they all lay dead in a heap
before the Woodman.

Then he put down his axe and sat beside the Scarecrow, who said, "It
was a good fight, friend."

They waited until Dorothy awoke the next morning. The little girl was
quite frightened when she saw the great pile of shaggy wolves, but the
Tin Woodman told her all. She thanked him for saving them and sat down
to breakfast, after which they started again upon their journey.

Now this same morning the Wicked Witch came to the door of her castle
and looked out with her one eye that could see far off. She saw all
her wolves lying dead, and the strangers still traveling through her
country. This made her angrier than before, and she blew her silver
whistle twice.

Straightway a great flock of wild crows came flying toward her, enough
to darken the sky.

And the Wicked Witch said to the King Crow, "Fly at once to the
strangers; peck out their eyes and tear them to pieces."

The wild crows flew in one great flock toward Dorothy and her
companions. When the little girl saw them coming she was afraid.

But the Scarecrow said, "This is my battle, so lie down beside me and
you will not be harmed."

So they all lay upon the ground except the Scarecrow, and he stood up
and stretched out his arms. And when the crows saw him they were
frightened, as these birds always are by scarecrows, and did not dare
to come any nearer. But the King Crow said:

"It is only a stuffed man. I will peck his eyes out."

The King Crow flew at the Scarecrow, who caught it by the head and
twisted its neck until it died. And then another crow flew at him, and
the Scarecrow twisted its neck also. There were forty crows, and forty
times the Scarecrow twisted a neck, until at last all were lying dead
beside him. Then he called to his companions to rise, and again they
went upon their journey.

When the Wicked Witch looked out again and saw all her crows lying in a
heap, she got into a terrible rage, and blew three times upon her
silver whistle.

Forthwith there was heard a great buzzing in the air, and a swarm of
black bees came flying toward her.

"Go to the strangers and sting them to death!" commanded the Witch, and
the bees turned and flew rapidly until they came to where Dorothy and
her friends were walking. But the Woodman had seen them coming, and
the Scarecrow had decided what to do.

"Take out my straw and scatter it over the little girl and the dog and
the Lion," he said to the Woodman, "and the bees cannot sting them."
This the Woodman did, and as Dorothy lay close beside the Lion and held
Toto in her arms, the straw covered them entirely.

The bees came and found no one but the Woodman to sting, so they flew
at him and broke off all their stings against the tin, without hurting
the Woodman at all. And as bees cannot live when their stings are
broken that was the end of the black bees, and they lay scattered thick
about the Woodman, like little heaps of fine coal.

Then Dorothy and the Lion got up, and the girl helped the Tin Woodman
put the straw back into the Scarecrow again, until he was as good as
ever. So they started upon their journey once more.

The Wicked Witch was so angry when she saw her black bees in little
heaps like fine coal that she stamped her foot and tore her hair and
gnashed her teeth. And then she called a dozen of her slaves, who were
the Winkies, and gave them sharp spears, telling them to go to the
strangers and destroy them.

The Winkies were not a brave people, but they had to do as they were
told. So they marched away until they came near to Dorothy. Then the
Lion gave a great roar and sprang towards them, and the poor Winkies
were so frightened that they ran back as fast as they could.

When they returned to the castle the Wicked Witch beat them well with a
strap, and sent them back to their work, after which she sat down to
think what she should do next. She could not understand how all her
plans to destroy these strangers had failed; but she was a powerful
Witch, as well as a wicked one, and she soon made up her mind how to

There was, in her cupboard, a Golden Cap, with a circle of diamonds and
rubies running round it. This Golden Cap had a charm. Whoever owned
it could call three times upon the Winged Monkeys, who would obey any
order they were given. But no person could command these strange
creatures more than three times. Twice already the Wicked Witch had
used the charm of the Cap. Once was when she had made the Winkies her
slaves, and set herself to rule over their country. The Winged Monkeys
had helped her do this. The second time was when she had fought
against the Great Oz himself, and driven him out of the land of the
West. The Winged Monkeys had also helped her in doing this. Only once
more could she use this Golden Cap, for which reason she did not like
to do so until all her other powers were exhausted. But now that her
fierce wolves and her wild crows and her stinging bees were gone, and
her slaves had been scared away by the Cowardly Lion, she saw there was
only one way left to destroy Dorothy and her friends.

So the Wicked Witch took the Golden Cap from her cupboard and placed it
upon her head. Then she stood upon her left foot and said slowly:

"Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!"

Next she stood upon her right foot and said:

"Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo!"

After this she stood upon both feet and cried in a loud voice:

"Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!"

Now the charm began to work. The sky was darkened, and a low rumbling
sound was heard in the air. There was a rushing of many wings, a great
chattering and laughing, and the sun came out of the dark sky to show
the Wicked Witch surrounded by a crowd of monkeys, each with a pair of
immense and powerful wings on his shoulders.

One, much bigger than the others, seemed to be their leader. He flew
close to the Witch and said, "You have called us for the third and last
time. What do you command?"

"Go to the strangers who are within my land and destroy them all except
the Lion," said the Wicked Witch. "Bring that beast to me, for I have
a mind to harness him like a horse, and make him work."

"Your commands shall be obeyed," said the leader. Then, with a great
deal of chattering and noise, the Winged Monkeys flew away to the place
where Dorothy and her friends were walking.

Some of the Monkeys seized the Tin Woodman and carried him through the
air until they were over a country thickly covered with sharp rocks.
Here they dropped the poor Woodman, who fell a great distance to the
rocks, where he lay so battered and dented that he could neither move
nor groan.

Others of the Monkeys caught the Scarecrow, and with their long fingers
pulled all of the straw out of his clothes and head. They made his hat
and boots and clothes into a small bundle and threw it into the top
branches of a tall tree.

The remaining Monkeys threw pieces of stout rope around the Lion and
wound many coils about his body and head and legs, until he was unable
to bite or scratch or struggle in any way. Then they lifted him up and
flew away with him to the Witch's castle, where he was placed in a
small yard with a high iron fence around it, so that he could not

But Dorothy they did not harm at all. She stood, with Toto in her
arms, watching the sad fate of her comrades and thinking it would soon
be her turn. The leader of the Winged Monkeys flew up to her, his
long, hairy arms stretched out and his ugly face grinning terribly; but
he saw the mark of the Good Witch's kiss upon her forehead and stopped
short, motioning the others not to touch her.

"We dare not harm this little girl," he said to them, "for she is
protected by the Power of Good, and that is greater than the Power of
Evil. All we can do is to carry her to the castle of the Wicked Witch
and leave her there."

So, carefully and gently, they lifted Dorothy in their arms and carried
her swiftly through the air until they came to the castle, where they
set her down upon the front doorstep. Then the leader said to the

"We have obeyed you as far as we were able. The Tin Woodman and the
Scarecrow are destroyed, and the Lion is tied up in your yard. The
little girl we dare not harm, nor the dog she carries in her arms.
Your power over our band is now ended, and you will never see us again."

Then all the Winged Monkeys, with much laughing and chattering and
noise, flew into the air and were soon out of sight.

The Wicked Witch was both surprised and worried when she saw the mark
on Dorothy's forehead, for she knew well that neither the Winged
Monkeys nor she, herself, dare hurt the girl in any way. She looked
down at Dorothy's feet, and seeing the Silver Shoes, began to tremble
with fear, for she knew what a powerful charm belonged to them. At
first the Witch was tempted to run away from Dorothy; but she happened
to look into the child's eyes and saw how simple the soul behind them
was, and that the little girl did not know of the wonderful power the
Silver Shoes gave her. So the Wicked Witch laughed to herself, and
thought, "I can still make her my slave, for she does not know how to
use her power." Then she said to Dorothy, harshly and severely:

"Come with me; and see that you mind everything I tell you, for if you
do not I will make an end of you, as I did of the Tin Woodman and the

Dorothy followed her through many of the beautiful rooms in her castle
until they came to the kitchen, where the Witch bade her clean the pots
and kettles and sweep the floor and keep the fire fed with wood.

Dorothy went to work meekly, with her mind made up to work as hard as
she could; for she was glad the Wicked Witch had decided not to kill

With Dorothy hard at work, the Witch thought she would go into the
courtyard and harness the Cowardly Lion like a horse; it would amuse
her, she was sure, to make him draw her chariot whenever she wished to
go to drive. But as she opened the gate the Lion gave a loud roar and
bounded at her so fiercely that the Witch was afraid, and ran out and
shut the gate again.

"If I cannot harness you," said the Witch to the Lion, speaking through
the bars of the gate, "I can starve you. You shall have nothing to eat
until you do as I wish."

So after that she took no food to the imprisoned Lion; but every day
she came to the gate at noon and asked, "Are you ready to be harnessed
like a horse?"

And the Lion would answer, "No. If you come in this yard, I will bite

The reason the Lion did not have to do as the Witch wished was that
every night, while the woman was asleep, Dorothy carried him food from
the cupboard. After he had eaten he would lie down on his bed of
straw, and Dorothy would lie beside him and put her head on his soft,
shaggy mane, while they talked of their troubles and tried to plan some
way to escape. But they could find no way to get out of the castle,
for it was constantly guarded by the yellow Winkies, who were the
slaves of the Wicked Witch and too afraid of her not to do as she told

The girl had to work hard during the day, and often the Witch
threatened to beat her with the same old umbrella she always carried in
her hand. But, in truth, she did not dare to strike Dorothy, because
of the mark upon her forehead. The child did not know this, and was
full of fear for herself and Toto. Once the Witch struck Toto a blow
with her umbrella and the brave little dog flew at her and bit her leg
in return. The Witch did not bleed where she was bitten, for she was
so wicked that the blood in her had dried up many years before.

Dorothy's life became very sad as she grew to understand that it would
be harder than ever to get back to Kansas and Aunt Em again. Sometimes
she would cry bitterly for hours, with Toto sitting at her feet and
looking into her face, whining dismally to show how sorry he was for
his little mistress. Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas
or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him; but he knew the
little girl was unhappy, and that made him unhappy too.

Now the Wicked Witch had a great longing to have for her own the Silver
Shoes which the girl always wore. Her bees and her crows and her
wolves were lying in heaps and drying up, and she had used up all the
power of the Golden Cap; but if she could only get hold of the Silver
Shoes, they would give her more power than all the other things she had
lost. She watched Dorothy carefully, to see if she ever took off her
shoes, thinking she might steal them. But the child was so proud of
her pretty shoes that she never took them off except at night and when
she took her bath. The Witch was too much afraid of the dark to dare
go in Dorothy's room at night to take the shoes, and her dread of water
was greater than her fear of the dark, so she never came near when
Dorothy was bathing. Indeed, the old Witch never touched water, nor
ever let water touch her in any way.

But the wicked creature was very cunning, and she finally thought of a
trick that would give her what she wanted. She placed a bar of iron in
the middle of the kitchen floor, and then by her magic arts made the
iron invisible to human eyes. So that when Dorothy walked across the
floor she stumbled over the bar, not being able to see it, and fell at
full length. She was not much hurt, but in her fall one of the Silver
Shoes came off; and before she could reach it, the Witch had snatched
it away and put it on her own skinny foot.

The wicked woman was greatly pleased with the success of her trick, for
as long as she had one of the shoes she owned half the power of their
charm, and Dorothy could not use it against her, even had she known how
to do so.

The little girl, seeing she had lost one of her pretty shoes, grew
angry, and said to the Witch, "Give me back my shoe!"

"I will not," retorted the Witch, "for it is now my shoe, and not

"You are a wicked creature!" cried Dorothy. "You have no right to take
my shoe from me."

"I shall keep it, just the same," said the Witch, laughing at her, "and
someday I shall get the other one from you, too."

This made Dorothy so very angry that she picked up the bucket of water
that stood near and dashed it over the Witch, wetting her from head to

Instantly the wicked woman gave a loud cry of fear, and then, as
Dorothy looked at her in wonder, the Witch began to shrink and fall

"See what you have done!" she screamed. "In a minute I shall melt

"I'm very sorry, indeed," said Dorothy, who was truly frightened to see
the Witch actually melting away like brown sugar before her very eyes.

"Didn't you know water would be the end of me?" asked the Witch, in a
wailing, despairing voice.

"Of course not," answered Dorothy. "How should I?"

"Well, in a few minutes I shall be all melted, and you will have the
castle to yourself. I have been wicked in my day, but I never thought
a little girl like you would ever be able to melt me and end my wicked
deeds. Look out--here I go!"

With these words the Witch fell down in a brown, melted, shapeless mass
and began to spread over the clean boards of the kitchen floor. Seeing
that she had really melted away to nothing, Dorothy drew another bucket
of water and threw it over the mess. She then swept it all out the
door. After picking out the silver shoe, which was all that was left
of the old woman, she cleaned and dried it with a cloth, and put it on
her foot again. Then, being at last free to do as she chose, she ran
out to the courtyard to tell the Lion that the Wicked Witch of the West
had come to an end, and that they were no longer prisoners in a strange