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14. Dorothy Tries to be Brave
Meantime the Chief Steward had returned to the throne room, where he said to the King:
"You are a fool to waste so much time upon these people."
"What!" cried his Majesty, in so enraged a voice that it awoke Billina, who was asleep under his throne. "How dare you call me a fool?"
"Because I like to speak the truth," said the Steward. "Why didn't you enchant them all at once, instead of allowing them to go one by one into the palace and guess which ornaments are the Queen of Ev and her children?"
"Why, you stupid rascal, it is more fun this way," returned the King, "and it serves to keep me amused for a long time."
"But suppose some of them happen to guess aright," persisted the Steward; "then you would lose your old ornaments and these new ones, too."
"There is no chance of their guessing aright," replied the monarch, with a laugh. "How could they know that the Queen of Ev and her family are all ornaments of a royal purple color?"
"But there are no other purple ornaments in the palace," said the Steward.
"There are many other colors, however, and the purple ones are scattered throughout the rooms, and are of many different shapes and sizes. Take my word for it, Steward, they will never think of choosing the purple ornaments."
Billina, squatting under the throne, had listened carefully to all this talk, and now chuckled softly to herself as she heard the King disclose his secret.
"Still, you are acting foolishly by running the chance," continued the Steward, roughly; "and it is still more foolish of you to transform all those people from Oz into green ornaments."
"I did that because they came from the Emerald City," replied the King; "and I had no green ornaments in my collection until now. I think they will look quite pretty, mixed with the others. Don't you?"
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