Magic Belt

“Ozma! Where is Ozma? I must see her at once–immediately!”

The Soldier with the Green Whiskers had run all the way from the
gates of the Emerald City of Oz to the Royal Palace with his whiskers
streaming at least six feet behind him. Now that he had arrived at the
palace, he was panting and wild-eyed with excitement.

“Whatever is the matter with you, Omby Amby?” asked Jellia Jamb,
Ozma’s dainty little maid, eyeing the distraught Guardian of the Gates
with undisguised curiosity.

Omby Amby groaned. “Something terrible has happened. I must report it
to Ozma at once.”

“Can’t you give me just an inkling of what it is?” coaxed Jellia.

“No,” replied Omby Amby firmly. The Soldier, who was Ozma’s Royal Army,
was rapidly regaining his composure–and his breath–after his wild
dash through the emerald-studded streets of the city.

“Well, then come along,” replied Jellia Jamb with a sigh. “I suppose I
shall have to wait for Ozma to tell me what has upset you so terribly.”

The little maid led the way down the corridors of the Royal Palace
until she came to a large double door. Here she knocked and a moment
later Ozma’s voice answered: “Come in.”

Jellia Jamb opened the door and the Soldier with the Green Whiskers
followed her into the room. This was Ozma’s library, where the shelves
that rose from the floor to the ceiling were filled with Magic Books
of Records. The little ruler of Oz was seated at a table, deep in the
study of one of the books. She looked up questioningly as Omby Amby
stood before her. Jellia Jamb silently departed, closing the door
behind her.

“Your Highness,” began Omby Amby, “it is my painful duty to report a
most regrettable misfortune.”

“What is it, Omby Amby,” asked Ozma with a kindly smile. “What has
happened?”

“It’s the Love Magnet, your Highness,” gulped the Soldier. “It’s been
broken!”

“Broken!” exclaimed Ozma, rising from her chair. “How could that ever
have happened?”

“It was the nail,” explained Omby Amby miserably. “If your highness
will recall the Love Magnet has been hanging from a nail over the Gates
of the Emerald City for many years–in fact, ever since the Shaggy Man
came to live in the Land of Oz.”

“Yes, I know,” said Ozma.

“Well,” went on the Soldier, “the nail must have rusted and this
morning it snapped. The Love Magnet fell to the bricks of the Yellow
Road and broke into two pieces.”

Ozma’s face was grave. “You brought the pieces with you?” she asked.

“Yes, your Highness, I did,” replied Omby Amby. Delving into one of his
pockets, he handed Ozma the two pieces of the Love Magnet, a small bit
of metal, shaped like a horseshoe when it was whole.

Ozma held the broken Love Magnet in her hand, regarding it sadly. “It
is too bad,” she said, “that so wonderful a charm should be broken.”

“Do you mean it can’t be repaired, your Highness?” asked Omby Amby.

“Of that I am not sure,” replied Ozma. “Perhaps the first thing we
should do is ask the Shaggy Man to come here and explain to him how the
Love Magnet came to be broken, since it does, after all, really belong
to him.”

“I will go for him immediately,” said the Soldier, turning to the door.

“You will find him in the garden with Dorothy and Jack Pumpkinhead, who
is trying on a new head,” said Ozma, as Omby Amby made a low bow and
closed the door behind him.

By luck, Ozma reflected, the Shaggy Man was in the Emerald City. She
knew that Shaggy was fond of making long trips about the Land of Oz,
exploring the little-known corners and regions of this most famous of
all Fairylands. Now he had just returned from a visit with his brother
who was in the Gillikin Country. While she waited, Ozma recalled how
the Shaggy Man had befriended Dorothy in the Great Outside World and
had found his way to the Land of Oz in the company of little Dorothy.
With him he had brought the Love Magnet, a curious magical talisman,
which caused whoever carried it to be loved by all he met. Shaggy had
gratefully accepted Ozma’s invitation to make his home in the Land
of Oz, and since he had no further need for the Love Magnet, Ozma
had caused it to be hung over the Gates of the Emerald City so that
all who entered might be loving and loved. Before she had done this,
however, Ozma had wisely altered the powers of the Love Magnet so that
the talisman did not automatically cause the person who carried it to
be loved by all he met, but must be _displayed_ by its carrier before
the eyes of the person or persons whose love he wished to win. Thus,
control of the powers of the Magnet were given to its owner. All this
had happened so long ago that it was now duly written down in Professor
Wogglebug’s Chronicles of the Land of Oz.

Ozma’s reflections were ended by the appearance of Omby Amby and the
Shaggy Man who had no idea that anything was the matter.

“Dorothy said to tell you, your Highness, that it’s one of the best
heads Jack ever had,” the Shaggy Man announced with satisfaction, as he
entered the room. “Dorothy’s fitting it on Jack’s body now.”

“Won’t you sit down, please, Shaggy Man?” invited Ozma.

The little Ruler’s expression was so serious that the Shaggy Man asked
with concern, “What is it, Ozma? What’s wrong?”

Ozma answered silently by extending her palm on which lay the halves of
the broken Love Magnet.

The Shaggy Man’s eyes clouded. “Oh, that _is_ too bad. I was very fond
of the Love Magnet. It always made me feel happy whenever I entered or
left the Emerald City. How did it come to be broken?”

Ozma explained in a few words what had happened.

“But can’t the Love Magnet be repaired?” asked the Shaggy Man. “I
should think it would be an easy matter for you or the Wizard or Glinda
to put it together again as good as new.”

“No,” Ozma shook her head. “It isn’t as simple as that. A long time
ago I looked up the history of the Love Magnet in my Magic Record
Books and I found that, if broken, it could be made whole only by one
person–the person who created it.”

“And who,” asked the Shaggy Man with deep interest, “is that?”

“It has been so long ago,” admitted Ozma, “that I have forgotten who it
was. But I can look it up in a few seconds.”

Ozma moved to the far side of the library, where she selected one of
the Magic Record Books and opened it on a table. After turning the
pages until she found the one containing the Love Magnet’s history,
Ozma ran her finger down the finely printed column.

“Here it is,” she announced. “The man who made the Love Magnet, and the
only person who can repair it, is a Wizard named Conjo, who lives on a
tiny island in the middle of the Nonestic Ocean.”

Omby Amby had returned to his post at the Gates of the Emerald City and
Ozma and the Shaggy Man had retired to the Chamber of Magic. Here were
kept many of the most valuable magical instruments in all the Land of
Oz.

“There is only one thing to be done,” the Shaggy Man was saying. “I
must take the broken Love Magnet to this Conjo and ask him to repair
it.”

“I am not sure at all that Conjo will agree to repair the Love Magnet
for you,” Ozma replied with a troubled expression. “You see, we know
very little about this Conjo. He lives alone on this tiny island in the
middle of the Nonestic Ocean and practices magic. There is no record of
his actually misusing his magical powers. Nor, so far as we know, has
he caused trouble for anyone. However, we have reason to believe he is
rather selfish and thoughtless and that he might cause harm, without
really meaning to, just to satisfy his vanity. Also, it might not suit
his whim to mend the Love Magnet.”

“What is the name of the island on which Conjo lives?” asked the Shaggy
Man musingly.

“It is called the Isle of Conjo, and since it is many miles from the
Land of Oz, I have no power over the Wizard at all. In fact,” concluded
Ozma, “that is the reason we here in the Land of Oz know so little
about Conjo.”

“Nevertheless,” maintained the Shaggy Man, “I think I should go as soon
as possible to this island and do everything I can to persuade Conjo to
make the Love Magnet whole.”

“Even after you crossed the Deadly Desert, you would have several
days’ journey through the Land of Ev, and then you would only be on the
shores of the Nonestic Ocean. So, I think it would be best, since you
are determined to make the journey, for me to use the Magic Belt to
transport you directly to the Isle of Conjo.”

The Shaggy Man willingly agreed to this plan, stating that he was ready
to leave at once.

“First,” said Ozma, “let us have a look at the Isle of Conjo in the
Magic Picture.”

The girl Ruler swept aside the velvet curtain that hung over the Magic
Picture when it was not in use. The picture appeared to be a peaceful,
country farmland scene with purple hills rising in the distance. “Show
us the Isle of Conjo in the Nonestic Ocean,” said Ozma.

Immediately the picture shifted and changed. It now reflected a gently
rolling meadowland with a great castle in the distance. Approaching
the castle were a young girl and a boy, accompanied by the figure of a
little wooden clown.

Ozma gasped in surprise. “Those are human children, Shaggy Man! What
can they be doing there when my Magic Record Books state that Conjo
is the only human being on the island? We can see that the clown
accompanying them is a puppet, evidently brought to life by Conjo.”

“Perhaps they are lost,” ventured the Shaggy Man.

“But how would they get to the island? It is surrounded by miles and
miles of ocean.”

“I don’t know,” admitted the Shaggy Man, “but it is one more good
reason for me to go there as quickly as possible–those children may be
in need of help.”

“I agree with you,” said Ozma quickly. “You must find out what the
children are doing on the island and see that they are returned to
their homes. If you cannot do that, then you must bring them with you
to the Land of Oz.”

“Will you use the Magic Belt to transport us back to the Land of Oz?”
asked the Shaggy Man.

“That will be impossible,” stated Ozma, “since I must leave this
afternoon to visit Glinda the Good. We are working on some extremely
important magic charms in which the powers of the Magic Belt are
needed. I am not sure how long I will be gone–perhaps for several
weeks.

“However,” Ozma went on, as she stepped to a heavy wooden chest, opened
one of its drawers, and withdrew a small object, “I want you to take
this with you. It will enable you to return to the Land of Oz anytime
you wish.”

“What is it?” asked the Shaggy Man curiously.

“It is a Magic Compass,” explained Ozma. “You will notice that it
is not round in shape like ordinary compasses, but is formed like a
rectangle, as is the Land of Oz.”

Shaggy looked at the Magic Compass and found that instead of being
marked, North, South, East, and West as is the usual compass, it bore
the words, Gillikin, Quadling, Winkie, and Munchkin, which are the
four countries making up the Land of Oz.

“Should you wish to return to any one of the four countries,” Ozma
went on, “just set the compass needle to the one to which you wish to
journey. If you want to come directly to the Emerald City, you have
only to spin the needle of the compass, and you will be here as quickly
as the Magic Belt could bring you.”

The Shaggy Man inspected the Magic Compass more closely and found that
the pivot on which the needle rested, rose from a spot of green in the
very center of the compass. This green spot, he knew, represented the
Emerald City.

“But what about the children?” the Shaggy Man asked. “If I can find no
way to send them home, I cannot simply leave them on the island.”

“Of course not,” replied Ozma. “If you think it necessary to bring them
to Oz with you, just have them put their arms in yours; then spin the
compass needle, and all three of you will be transported to the Emerald
City.”

The Shaggy Man placed the Magic Compass carefully in his pocket and
said: “Perhaps it would be well for me to be on my way. There’s no
telling what will happen on that island and those two children may
need help.”

Ozma slipped on the Magic Belt. “Goodbye, dear friend,” she said,
smiling fondly at the Shaggy Man. “Return as quickly as you can.” Then
she made the magic signal, and the Shaggy Man was no longer in the
Chamber of Magic.

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