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16. Jim, The Cab-Horse
Jim the Cab-horse found himself in possession of a large room with a green marble floor and carved marble wainscoting, which was so stately in its appearance that it would have awed anyone else. Jim accepted it as a mere detail, and at his command the attendants gave his coat a good rubbing, combed his mane and tail, and washed his hoofs and fetlocks. Then they told him dinner would be served directly and he replied that they could not serve it too quickly to suit his convenience. First they brought him a steaming bowl of soup, which the horse eyed in dismay.
"Take that stuff away!" he commanded. "Do you take me for a salamander?"
They obeyed at once, and next served a fine large turbot on a silver platter, with drawn gravy poured over it.
"Fish!" cried Jim, with a sniff. "Do you take me for a tom-cat? Away with it!"
The servants were a little discouraged, but soon they brought in a great tray containing two dozen nicely roasted quail on toast.
"Well, well!" said the horse, now thoroughly provoked. "Do you take me for a weasel? How stupid and ignorant you are, in the Land of Oz, and what dreadful things you feed upon! Is there nothing that is decent to eat in this palace?"
The trembling servants sent for the Royal Steward, who came in haste and said:
"What would your Highness like for dinner?"
"Highness!" repeated Jim, who was unused to such titles.
"You are at least six feet high, and that is higher than any other animal in this country," said the Steward.
"Well, my Highness would like some oats," declared the horse.
"Oats? We have no whole oats," the Steward replied, with much deference. "But there is any quantity of oatmeal, which we often cook for breakfast. Oatmeal is a breakfast dish," added the Steward, humbly.
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