They now followed Diksey to
the farther end of the great
cave, beyond the Horner city,
where there were several round,
dark holes leading into the ground
in a slanting direction. Diksey
went to one of these holes and
"Here is the
mine in which lies the dark
well you are seeking.
Follow me and step care fully
and I'll lead you to the place."
He went in first and after
him came Ojo, and then Dorothy,
with the Scarecrow behind her.
The Patchwork Girl entered last
of all, for Toto kept close beside
his little mistress.
A few steps
beyond the mouth of the opening
it was pitch dark. "You
won't lose your way, though," said
the Homer, "for there's only
one way to go. The mine's mine
and I know every step of the
way. How's that for a joke, eh?
The mine's mine." Then he chuckled
gleefully as they followed him
silently down the steep slant.
The hole was just big enough
to permit them to walk upright,
although the Scarecrow, being
much the taller of the party,
often had to bend his head to
keep from hitting the top.
The floor of the tunnel was
difficult to walk upon because
it had been worn smooth as glass,
and pretty soon Scraps, who was
some distance behind the others,
slipped and fell head foremost.
At once she began to slide downward,
so swiftly that when she came
to the Scarecrow she knocked
him off his feet and sent him
tumbling against Dorothy, who
tripped up Ojo. The boy fell
against the Horner, so that all
went tumbling down the slide
in a regular mix-up, unable to
see where they were going because
of the darkness.
Fortunately, when they reached
the bottom the Scarecrow and
Scraps were in front, and the
others bumped against them, so
that no one was hurt. They found
themselves in a vast cave which
was dimly lighted by the tiny
grains of radium that lay scattered
among the loose rocks.
"Now," said Diksey, when they
had all re gained their feet, "I
will show you where the dark
well is. This is a big place,
but if we hold fast to each other
we won't get lost."
They took hold of hands and
the Homer led them into a dark
corner, where he halted.
"Be careful," said he warningly. "The
well is at your feet."
"All right," replied Ojo, and
kneeling down he felt in the
well with his hand and found
that it contained a quantity
of water. "Where's the gold flask,
Dorothy?" he asked, and the little
girl handed him the flask, which
she had brought with her.
Ojo knelt again and by feeling
carefully in the dark managed
to fill the flask with the unseen
water that was in the well. Then
he screwed the top of the flask
firmly in place and put the precious
water in his pocket.
"All right!" he said again,
in a glad voice; "now we can
They returned to the mouth
of the tunnel and began to creep
cautiously up the incline. This
time they made Scraps stay behind,
for fear she would slip again;
but they all managed to get up
in safety and the Munchkin boy
was very happy when he stood
in the Horner city and realized
that the water from the dark
well, which he and his friends
had traveled so far to secure,
was safe in his jacket pocket.