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Here was this insipid little upstart whose talismanic existence threatened her very reputation! She felt herself being dragged down in opprobrium through this pitiful thing with a blue-and-white frock and a basket! How she longed for retribution! She thought of her old black magic handbook, with its chapter on ten effective maledictions, but exasperatedly realized they were powerless in the face of the Witch of the North’s protective kiss. She yearned to pummel the girl with her fists; then, considering it beneath her dignity to resort to fisticuffs, she instead took a vindictive delight in imagining herself using her stiff, black umbrella to bludgeon the child to a bloody pulp and then crushing whatever remained beneath the steel-rimmed heel of her hard, black boot.

Now her thoughts returned to how she might acquire the Silver Shoes. Machiavellian machinations aplenty whirled through the wily Witch’s evil mind, but she rejected one flawed scenario after the other. When at last she did find a workable ruse, the thrill of a delicious discovery ran through her, momentarily eradicating her habitually dour expression.

Putting her plan into action, she fetched a long metal bar, surreptitiously placed it across the middle of the kitchen floor, then used her magical powers to raise it a few inches and to make it invisible to human eyes. Now she skulked in the kitchen closet and waited for Dorothy to walk across the room.

But Dorothy was hard at work scrubbing a large pot. “Why must you dally so?” thought the Witch impatiently, her ire steadily rising. Indeed, Dorothy labored over every pot and pan, for during her first few days at the Castle the Witch had querulously carped about substandard work—even though, to Dorothy’s eyes, the pots sparkled—and the girl had chafed at the Witch’s niggling faultfinding. Now, just so the picayune Wicked Witch could have nothing to cavil about, the child, scrupulous in her efforts to please, was forced to spend twice as long scrubbing each pot!

Finally, after the last pot was cleaned and put away, the oblivious child approached the bar, stumbled over it, and fell to the ground. In the process, one of the Silver Shoes fell off, and before Dorothy could retrieve it, the Witch, with larcenous eyes, sprang from the closet, snatched it away, and put it on her own foot! The malefactor was greatly pleased with her cunning because now she possessed half the power of the Shoes. Her diabolical delight engendered another spate of gleeful shrieks.

For Dorothy this was the final straw, and what little forbearance she still indulged was completely wiped away. Everything that had led up to this moment—seeing her friends destroyed by the Winged Monkeys, moiling in the kitchen day after day without respite, being coerced into performing grueling and stultifying menial tasks, and finally, having her cherished Shoe plundered—pushed her beyond all reason.

She felt her blood rise behind her temples in pulsing waves, and the tempest in her mind made her forget everything except her deep hatred of the vicious

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