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they were, and the soldier went into the Castle.

While they waited, the Tin Woodman decided that if they received a denial, he would use his ingratiating charm to inveigle the girl into letting them through the gate; so he prepared a few blandishments, just in case. The Scarecrow, in a similar vein, decided that if they were denied he would devise a clever scheme to sneak them into the Castle. But neither cajolery nor subterfuge was required, for after a few moments the soldier came back to say that Dorothy and the others were to be admitted at once.

They followed the soldier girl into a commodious room where the Good Witch Glinda sat upon a throne of rubies. She was both young and ethereally beautiful to their eyes. From her tiara-adorned, rich red hair, flowing ringlets fell over the shoulders of her pure-white dress. Her limpid blue eyes gazed kindly upon the little girl. “What can I do for you, my child?” she asked in a mellifluous, flutelike tone that carried with it its own musical accompaniment.

Chapter 28 “The Return Home”

Dorothy told Glinda her entire story, starting with the cyclone and ending with the Hammer-Heads. “My greatest wish now,” Dorothy finished, “is to get back to Kansas, for Aunt Em will surely think something dreadful has happened to me.” As Dorothy spoke that last sentence, an invisible exudation of all her toils and torturous sufferings drifted slowly upward from her body and condensed into a beautiful translucent radiance that filled the entire room.

The Good Witch leaned forward and kissed the sweet, upturned face of the prepossessing little girl. “Bless your dear heart,” she said, fully aware that they were all standing at the very denouement of Dorothy’s epic adventure. “I’m sure I can tell you of a way to get back to Kansas.”

“How?” asked Dorothy, a little drop of brightness forming in the corner of each eye.

“Your Silver Shoes will carry you home,” replied Glinda. “If you had known their power you could have gone back to your Aunt Em the very first day you came to this country. One of the most curious things about the Silver Shoes is that they can carry you to anyplace in the world in three steps, and each step will be made in the wink of an eye. All you have to do is click the heels together three times and command the shoes to carry you wherever you wish to go.”

“If that’s so,” said the child, staring down at the scintillating Shoes and wondering why the Good Witch of the North hadn’t been aware of that salient fact, “I’ll ask them to carry me back to Kansas.”

She couldn’t bear to think of leaving her friends, but that pain was palliated by the thought of returning to Aunt Em. First she turned to the Lion. Looking tenderly into his eyes, she said, “I know you’ll find a way back to that beautiful, serene forest where you’ve been proclaimed King and that

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