John Dough and the Cherub eBook: Page1

L. Frank Baum (2014)




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  UNIFORM WITH JOHN DOUGH AND THE CHERUB

  THE LAND OF OZ BY L. FRANK BAUM

  _Elaborately illustrated--in colors_ _and black-and-white by_ _JOHN R. NEILL_

  John Dough and the Cherub _by_ L. Frank Baum

  AUTHOR OF THE WIZARD OF OZ THE LAND OF OZ THE WOGGLE-BUG BOOK FATHER GOOSE QUEEN ZIXI OF IX THE ENCHANTED ISLAND OF YEW, ETC.

 

  ILLUSTRATED BY John R. Neill

  CHICAGO THE REILLY & BRITTON COMPANY PUBLISHERS

 

  COPYRIGHT, 1906, BY L. FRANK BAUM

  All Rights Reserved

 

  To my young friend John Randolph Reilly this book is affectionately dedicated

  L.F.B

 

 

  LIST OF CHAPTERS

  THE GREAT ELIXIR 9

  THE TWO FLASKS 11

  THE GINGERBREAD MAN 27

  JOHN DOUGH BEGINS HIS ADVENTURES 41

  CHICK, THE CHERUB 59

  THE FREAKS OF PHREEX 104

  THE LADY EXECUTIONER 121

  THE PALACE OF ROMANCE 140

  THE SILVER PIG 159

  PITTYPAT AND THE MIFKETS 166

  THE ISLAND PRINCESS 185

  PARA BRUIN, THE RUBBER BEAR 206

  BLACK OOBOO 220

  UNDER LAND AND WATER 238

  THE FAIRY BEAVERS 252

  THE FLIGHT OF THE FLAMINGOES 273

  SPORT OF PIRATE ISLAND 284

  HILAND AND LOLAND 294

  KING DOUGH AND HIS COURT 308

  BOY OR GIRL?]

  The Great Elixir

  Over the door appeared a weather-worn sign that read: "JULES GROGRANDE,BAKER." In one of the windows, painted upon a sheet of cardboard, wasanother sign: "Home-made Bread by the Best Modern Machinery." There wasa third sign in the window beyond the doorway, and this was marked upona bit of wrapping-paper, and said: "Fresh Gingerbread Every Day."

  When you opened the door, the top of it struck a brass bell suspendedfrom the ceiling and made it tinkle merrily. Hearing the sound, MadameLeontine Grogrande would come from her little room back of the shop andstand behind the counter and ask you what you would like to purchase.

  Madame Leontine--or Madame Tina, as the children called her--was quiteshort and quite fat; and she had a round, pleasant face that was goodto look upon. She moved somewhat slowly, for the rheumatism troubledher more or less; but no one minded if Madame was a bit slow in tyingup her parcels. For surely no cakes or buns in all the town were sodelicious or fresh as those she sold, and she had a way of giving thebiggest cakes to the smallest girls and boys who came into her shop,that proved she was fond of children and had a generous heart.

  People loved to come to the Grogrande Bakery. When one opened thedoor an exquisite fragrance of newly baked bread and cakes greetedthe nostrils; and, if you were not hungry when you entered, you weresure to become so when you examined and smelled the delicious piesand doughnuts and gingerbread and buns with which the shelves andshow-cases were stocked. There were trays of French candies, too; andbecause all the goods were fresh and wholesome the bakery was wellpatronized and did a thriving business.

  The reason no one saw Monsieur Jules in the shop was because his timewas always occupied in the bakery in the rear--a long, low room filledwith ovens and tables covered with pots and pans and dishes (which theskillful baker used for mixing and stirring) and long shelves bearingsugars and spices and baking-powders and sweet-smelling extracts thatmade his wares taste so sweet and agreeable.

  AN ARAB DASHED INTO THE ROOM.]

  The bake-room was three times as big as the shop; but Monsieur Julesneeded all the space in the preparation of the great variety of goodsrequired by his patrons, and he prided himself on the fact that hisedibles were fresh-made each day. In order to have the bread and rollsready at breakfast time he was obliged to get up at three o'clock everymorning, and so he went to bed about sundown.

  On a certain forenoon the door of the shop opened so abruptly that thelittle brass bell made a furious jingling.

  An Arab dashed into the room, stopped short, looked around with abewildered air, and then rushed away again and banged the door afterhim.

  Madame looked surprised, but said nothing. She recognized the Arab tobe a certain Ali Dubh, living in the neighborhood, who was accustomedto purchase a loaf from her every morning. Perhaps he had forgotten hismoney, Madame thought.

  When the afternoon was half over he entered again, running as if fiendswere at his heels. In the center of the room he paused, slapped hisforehead despairingly with both palms, and said in a wailing voice:

  "They're after me!"

  Next moment he dashed away at full speed, even forgetting to closethe door; so Madame came from behind the counter and did it herself.She delayed a moment to gaze at the figure of Ali Dubh racing up thestreet. Then he turned the corner of an alley and disappeared from view.

  Things did not startle Madame easily; but the Arab's queer behavioraroused in her a mild curiosity, and while she stood looking throughthe glass of the door, and wondering what had excited the man, shesaw two strange forms glide past her shop with a stealthy motion andproceed in the same direction Ali Dubh had taken.

  They were also Arabs, without a doubt; for although their forms weremuffled in long cloaks, the turbans they wore and the glint of theirdark, beady eyes proclaimed them children of the desert.

  When they came to the alley where Ali Dubh had disappeared, the twostrangers were joined by a third, who crept up to them with the sly,cat-like tread Madame had noted, and seemed to confer with them.Afterward one turned to the east, a second continued up the street, andthe third stole into the alley.

  "Yes," thought Madame, "they are after Ali Dubh, sure enough. But ifthey move so slowly they are not likely to catch the poor fellow atall."

  Now, Madame knew very little of her queer customer; for although hemade a daily visit to the bakery for a loaf and a few cakes, he was ofa gloomy disposition, and never stopped for a chat or a bit of gossip.It was his custom to silently make his simple purchases and then stealsoftly away.

&nbs
p; Therefore his excited actions upon this eventful day were reallyremarkable, and the good lady was puzzled how to explain them.

  She sat late in the shop that evening, burning a dingy oil lamp thatswung in the center of the room. For her rheumatism was more painfulthan usual, and she dreaded to go to bed and waken Monsieur Jules withher moanings. The good man was slumbering peacefully upstairs--shecould hear his lusty snores even where she sat--and it was a shame todisturb him when he must rise so early.

  So she sat in her little room at the end of the counter, trying to knitby the light of a flickering candle, and rocking back and forth in herchair with a monotonous motion.

  Suddenly the little bell tinkled and a gust of air entered the shop,sending the mingled odors of baked stuff whirling and scurrying aboutthe room in a most fragrant manner. Then the door closed, and Madamelaid down her knitting and turned to greet the new-comer.

  To her astonishment, it proved to be Ali Dubh. His brown cheeks wereflushed, and his glittering black eyes roamed swiftly over the shopbefore they turned full upon the Madame's calm face.

  "Good!" he exclaimed, "you are alone."

  "It is too late for trade. I am going to bed presently," said Madame.

  "I am in great trouble, and you must help me," returned the Arab,hastily. "Lock your door and come with me into your little room, sothat no one can see us through the street windows."

  Madame hesitated. The request was unusual, and she knew nothing of theArab's history. But she reflected that if the man attempted robbery orother mischief she could summon Monsieur Jules with a cry. Also, herinterest had been aroused by Ali Dubh's queer behavior during the day.

  While she thought the matter over the Arab himself locked the streetdoor and hurried into the little room, where Madame composedly joinedhim a moment later.

  "How can I help you?" she asked, picking up her knitting again.

  "Listen!" said the Arab. "I must tell you all. You must know thetruth!" He put his hand in a pocket of his loose robe and drew out asmall flask. It was no bigger than two fingers and was made of puregold, upon which strange characters had been richly engraved.

  "This," said the Arab, in a low, impressive voice, "is the GreatElixir!"

  "What does that mean?" asked Madame, glancing at the flask doubtfully.

  "The Great Elixir? Ah, it is the Essence of Vitality, the Water ofLife--the Greatest Thing in all the World!"

  "I don't understand," said Madame.

  "Not understand? Why, a drop of the priceless liquid which thisGolden Flask contains, if placed upon your tongue, would send newlife coursing through your veins. It would give you power, strength,vitality greater than youth itself! You could do anything--accomplishwonders--perform miracles--if you but tasted this precious liquid!"

  "How odd!" exclaimed Madame, beginning to feel bewildered. And then sheasked: "Where did you get it?"

  "Ah! that is the story. That is what you must know," answered AliDubh. "It is centuries old, the Great Elixir. There is no more of itin all the world. The contents of this flask came into the keeping ofthe Ancestor of the Chief of my Tribe--whom we call a Shiek--and hasbeen handed down from father to son as an heirloom more priceless thandiamonds. The Chief of my Tribe, its last owner, carried the flaskalways hidden in his breast. But one day, when he and I were huntingtogether, a mad camel trampled the Shiek to his death, and with hislast breath he gave the Great Elixir into my keeping. The Shiek had noson, and the flask was really mine. But many other Arab Shieks longedfor the treasure and sought to gain it. So I escaped and wandered overthe world. I came here, thinking I was safe from pursuit. But they havefollowed me!"

  "All the way from Arabia?" asked Madame.

  "Yes. To-day I saw them. They know my lodgings. They are secretlyhidden near, and before morning I know they plot to kill me and securethe Great Elixir. But for a time I have escaped them. I came hereunseen. You must help me. You must take charge of the Great Elixir andkeep it safely for me."

  "Nonsense!" cried Madame, becoming aroused at last.

  "Do not say that, I beg of you," exclaimed the eager Arab. "You arehonest--I know you are! And they will never suspect you of having theGolden Flask."

  "Perhaps not," said Madame, "and then, again, they may. My business isto tend the shop, and I am not going to get myself killed by a lot ofdesperate foreigners just to oblige _you_, Monsieur Ali Dubh! Take yourGreat Elixir to some one else. I don't want it."

  For a minute the Arab seemed in despair. Then his face suddenlybrightened.

  "You suffer from rheumatism, do you not?" he asked.

  "Yes, it's pretty bad to-night," she replied.

  "Then I will cure it! I will cure your pains forever if you will keepmy precious Elixir in secret until I come to reclaim it."

  Madame hesitated, for just then she had a very bad twinge indeed.

  "You think you can cure my pains?" she asked.

  "I know it!" declared the Arab. He put his hand in a pocket and drewout another flask--a mate to the one containing the Great Elixir; onlythis was made of solid silver instead of gold.

  "This flask," said Ali Dubh, "contains a positive cure for rheumatism.It will not fail. It never has failed. Take it and use it to makeyourself well. Five drops in a bowl of water are enough. Bathe well thelimbs that ache, and all pain will be gone forever. Accept it, graciousMadame, and keep for me the other flask in safe hiding until my enemieshave gone away."

  Madame was a practical woman, and it seemed an easy thing to do asthe Arab desired. If she could get relief from those dreadful painsit would be well worth while to undertake a little trouble andresponsibility by caring for Ali Dubh's other and more precious flask.

  "Very well," said she. "I agree."

  The Arab's face flushed with joy.

  "Good," he cried; "I am saved! Guard well my precious flask--the oneof gold. Show it to no one--not even to your good husband. Rememberthat diamonds and rubies could not buy the Great Elixir--the marvelousEssence of Vitality. As for the silver flask, I give it to you freely.Its contents will cure all your ailments. And now, good night, and mayAllah bless you!"

  Swiftly he stole from the room, unlocked the street door and vanishedinto the darkness. And Madame sat looking thoughtfully at the flasks.