A Time For Truth
Professor Wogglebug was happy to change from his drab, black judicial robes back into his colorful suit and top hat. He removed the hat and placed it in the crook of his arm as he entered the Royal Library for the second time that day. He smiled at Ozma as he gave her a deep bow and was delighted to see that the fruit bowl was still there.
Ozma nodded as he took his seat. "I just spoke to Dorothy, She's going to confine Eureka to her rooms in the palace."
The Wogglebug nodded with approval, "That is a fitting punishment. Cats are instinctual hunters, they do love to roam about."
"So you are satisfied with the results of the trial?"
"I couldn't be more delighted! Not only did I obtain a conviction establishing my superior legal skills but the defendant was also found innocent thus obliviating the need for an execution. You were most fortunate!"
Ozma smiled, "Yes, I got my little piglet back."
"That too but that's not what I meant." He began carefully peeling an orange. " Eureka's life was spared. Now you might not like that obnoxious little cat and I certainly don't like that obnoxious little cat but Dorothy loves that obnoxious little cat." He popped an orange slice into his mouth. "Her execution would have driven a wedge between you and Dorothy. It might have been subtle, nearly invisible but it would have always been there."
Ozma looked up at the painting of Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. "I didn't think of that, I was just so angry at the time."
"You were making decisions based entirely on emotion. Not only this but your expedition to the Nome Kingdom. An expedition that you didn't invite me on." He added with a hurt tone.
"You didn't want to go."
Professor Wogglebug drummed his fingers on the table, "I never said that I didn't want to go, I didn't want you to go. I didn't want anyone to go. The whole expedition was poorly planned. You were very lucky it didn't end in a total disaster."
"It all ended well," Ozma said smugly. "We rescued the Royal Family of Ev. Or don't you care about them?"
"Of course I care about them! I'm the one who taught you the history of Ev! I was worried sick about their fate. But you set off without any plan and only a vague idea of what a Nome was or even of the location to the entrance of the Nome Kingdom. You knew nothing about the Nome King. You had too few troops for an invasion and too many for a diplomatic mission. If you hadn't have met Dorothy and if she didn't have a chicken with her, you and thirty two of your subjects would have disapeared into the depths of the earth and not even Glinda could have gotten you out." The Wogglebug remained silent for a moment. "But since you were going anyway I wanted to go with you."
"Why would you want to go on an expedition that you felt was doomed?"
"The same reason all your other friends and subjects went, because we love you. But you were making important decisions based entirely on fevered emotions. Putting other people's lives in jepardy. All you have to do is lift a finger and we would all jump into the Deadly Desert for you. That means that you must be very careful before you lift a finger." He plucked a nice red apple from the bowl. "You were just very lucky. If Dorothy had brought Toto or Eureka along instead of Billina we wouldn't be having this conversation. A ruler can only depend on luck so far."
"So you would have just left the Queen of Ev and her ten children to their fate?"
Professor Wogglebug shook his head. "No, but you should be guided more by your intellect and keep your emotions under control. Collect intellegence on the Nome Kingdom first. Find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. There are millions of Nomes. Perhaps we could have found one and asked him questions. Found out what kind of person the Nome King was, what he likes, what his weakness are. By using brains and education you could be a much better ruler."
Ozma nodded, "So you don't approve of how I've been running things so far?"
"Ozma, I've known you since you were a boy." He glanced at Ozma and smiled as she rolled her eyes in exasperation. "On the whole you've been an excellent ruler." He stopped munching on the fruit and turned toward her with a solomn expression. "But I do fear for the future."
Ozma was puzzled. "In what way?"
"I am a scholar of history as well as all the other sciences. There are two axioms that have been proved time and time again. 'Power tends to corrupt, absoloute power corrupts absoloutly.' And 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.'"
Ozma frowned. "You think I'm turning into a tyrant? Really?"
"You are immortal, you will rule Oz for an indefinate amount of time. What will you be like a hundred years from now? Most tyrannies began with the best of intentions. The ruler knows what's best. Wants to do good for the people. The opposition will only undo all the good that's been accomplished. They must be put down. You have already taken the first baby steps in this direction. It's not too late to back up."
Ozma pursed her lips. "I don't necessarily agree with you but what would you suggest?"
"What I suggest might be frightening at first. What you should do is give up some of your power."
"How could I do that?"
"Oz does not presently have a strong central government. It is made up of dozens of small kingdoms. Make a handful of laws for the whole country but only a handful. Allow each little king or queen to make their own laws and rule as they see fit. Do not interfere as long as they don't harm their own people or molest their neighbors. They might do things that you don't approve of. A good ruler always tolerates people and things that they don't approve of. If the people in one area don't like their rulers they can always move to another area. It's called voting with your feet."
"Hmm," Ozma stroked her chin. "I'll consider your advice. And I hope that if I ever go too far you will always be there to pull me back. I trust you to give me blunt, honest advice. I've also been thinking about what you said this morning. About combining magic and technology. The Wizard plans to remain in Oz and I plan on teaching him real magic. He is a very clever engineer and would be the perfect candidate for combining the two. You should work closely with him on the project. Perhaps someday you will go Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz."
"Perish the thought!" The Wogglebug exclaimed..