Dorothy and her three companions had chased the Wizard of Oz in his balloon all day and now the sun was just beginning to set. A while ago, the tiny dot they could see of him had completely disappeared into the distance. Now they were all quite tired and weary.
"Aw, phooey!" grumbled the Lion irritably." He's gone! It's no use use now!"
"I hope he is alright, wherever he is," said the Tin Man.
"Well, we might just as well give up, for now at least," said the Scarecrow. "Dorothy is tired now. Aren't you, Dorothy?"
"I sure am," admitted Dorothy. "Let's make our camp here and rest."
Toto whimpered next to her, and then yawned in agreement.
So they made their camp. The Tin Man built a fire to keep them warm. They all gathered around it, and the Scarecrow sat a little ways behind the Tin Man for the sake of his safety.
They began to reflect on their long journey through the Land of Oz, and mission to save the Wizard.
"It seems like we've just been on a wild ostrich chase all this time!" the Lion grumbled.
"You mean a wild goose chase, Lion," corrected the Scarecrow, "and, yes. We do seem to just keep going around in circles."
"And triangles, and squares, and rectangles, and pentagons, and hexagons, and..."
"We get the idea, Lion!" exclaimed the Scarecrow in annoyance. He sighed with despair. "At least I think we do. It's hard to tell when one does not have a brain."
"I just wish this journey would come to its end soon!" Dorothy complained. "It seems like it's been forever since I returned to Oz from my home in Kansas."
Dorothy remembered how when she had come home from Oz for the first time, and told everyone in her house about her adventures and no one believed her. They insisted they had found her lying in her bed the whole time. While she never stopped thinking about Oz, and her three friends she had found there, she began to wonder for herself if it had all been a dream. After all, she had never found any trace of the Ruby Slippers, which had been a token symbol of her entire journey through Oz.
Then, one fateful evening as she lay asleep in her bed, she had been awakened by Toto's frantic barking. He seemed as if he had seen or heard something unusual.
"What is it, Toto? What's happened?" she asked.
She quickly got out of bed. She followed Toto to her bedroom closet. There she saw a mysterious red glow coming from the floor of it. Then, on opening the door, she gasped in surprise and delight. She saw her Ruby Slippers! They were just there, as if they had been awaiting for her to come to them.
She then knew at once that her adventures in Oz had all been real. Then she remembered her dear friends again. She thought about how she missed them and wanted to see them again. She then reasoned that if the Ruby Slippers could bring her home to Kansas from Oz, then they could just as easily bring her back to Oz.
She put the Ruby Slippers onto her feet, and clicked the heels together three times.
"There's no place like Oz!" she chanted. "There's no place like Oz!"
She began to feel the room spin and whirl around her, as if she were caught in a cyclone again.
There was a bright flash of light. Then she found she was standing in the exact same place she had been in when she had first come to Oz.
She looked up, and found her three old friends right there before her.
"It's Dorothy! She came back!" they all exclaimed in unison.
The next moment all three of them were embracing her with tremendous happiness. Dorothy laughed happily as she tried to hug all three of them at the same time.
"I'm so glad to see you all again!" she gushed.
"We've missed you so terribly much also, Dorothy!" said the Tin Man, through his tears of joy.
"We were so afraid we would never get to see you again!" exclaimed the Lion.
The Scarecrow nodded his agreements with the others. Then he added, "I think I'm the one who missed you most of all, actually."
"I've missed you, too! All of you, honestly!" exclaimed Dorothy. "How have you been? I'm sure you've all been ruling the Emerald City wisely and well, of course."
The Scarecrow's face suddenly took on a very sad look. "I was... for a little while. But not anymore. For one can never be expected to rule anything wisely without a brain... and I don't have one anymore!"
"You don't? But that is impossible!" exclaimed Dorothy in disbelief.
"It's true, I'm afraid," said the Scarecrow sadly. "The Wicked Witch of the West has robbed me of my diploma."
"And my heart, also!" added the Tin Man tearfully.
"And... not to mention... my medal of courage!" added the Lion miserably.
"But she couldn't possibly have!" Dorothy exclaimed with shock. "I melted her, didn't I?"
"Yes, you did... But she was brought back to life," said the Scarecrow. "We don't know how she was. But that was what happened."
"Oh no! How dreadful!" exclaimed Dorothy, even more shocked than before.
"But how did you come back, Dorothy?" asked the Tin Man curiously.
"I just found the Ruby Slippers in my closet. Did you send them to me?" asked Dorothy.
"No. We don't know who, or what, sent them to you," admitted the Scarecrow. "But nonetheless, you've certainly come back at the time right time!"
"Saving the Emerald City was easier than saving the Wizard," Dorothy said reflectively. She took out her locket to look at the picture inside of it. "Auntie Em and Uncle Henry must be so worried about me, just as I'm so worried about them."
"Miranda must be worried about me, too," said the Tin Man, thinking of his sweetheart. "Not a day has gone by that I haven't thought of her."
He remembered the day he had found her again, just as if it had been yesterday.
He and Miranda stood with their backs to each other and then a mechanical mailman came up to them, tipped his hat, and gave them each a pink envelope.
"Why Tin Man, it's from you!" exclaimed Miranda.
"And this is from you!" he said with equal astonishment.
"Does this mean you might stay in Mechanica?" Miranda asked him hopefully.
"Oh I'd love to," he said. "But first we have a witch to vanquish, and when we do, I'll have a heart to give you."
They embraced lovingly. Up until then he was sure his heart had been stolen, but now maybe Miranda had just given it back to him.
"Remember I promised her I'd come back to Mechanica and stay with her once we had vanquished the Wicked Witch, and I intend to keep my promise," he declared.
"I also got a promise to keep," said the Lion. "Remember after I out roared the laughing hyena I promised all the animals in the forest I'd come back and be their King again once our job was done."
The birds draped a velvet cloak around him and placed a crown on his head.
"Yes, I am King of the forest!" he sang. "Not a Prince, not a Queen, not a Duke! I out roared the laughing hyena! I'm leaner, I'm meaner! I'm King of the forest!"
"The Wizard was right," said the Scarecrow. "It's what you say, not how you say it that really matters."
"You really are the bravest of them all, Lion," Dorothy said as she went up to him and hugged him and kissed him on his cheek.
"Ain't it the truth! Ain't it the truth!" he said, beaming with pride.
The animals of the forest, a tiger, a bear, and a rabbit, bowed low to him.
"Your Majesty," spoke the tiger. "We will serve you loyally for as long as you shall rule over our forest."
"That's nice," he said modestly. "But a king also has duties to fulfill, and I must be with my friends until we have knocked over the Witch of the West for good, and then I shall return to you. Until then, my subjects, accept no substitutes."
"We won't!" they promised in unison.
"I wish the old witch would just give up so we could finish her off!" he said, balling up his paws.
"Of course I'm never sure of anything," admitted the Scarecrow. "But I think the Wicked Witch might have been weakened after flying through the rain when she escaped last time. So she can't do much harm now and if we just keep going straight we're bound to catch up to the Wizard somehow someday."
"How sensible!" said Dorothy. "You're right, Scarecrow. We're no match for the Wicked Witch if we keep together and stay on the right path, and as long as I have the Ruby Slippers no harm can come to us. And the Emerald Star is shining so the Wizard is alright."
"Well, there will be plenty of time of that tomorrow," said the Lion with a wide yawn. "Now let's turn in for the night."
So they did and Dorothy laid against the Lion and fell asleep with the Scarecrow and Tin Man keeping watch.
Meanwhile at the Witch's castle the Witch was in fitful spirits as the Wicked West Wind which she had long ago conjured to keep the Wizard away from Oz had just arrived and was coughing, wheezing, and sneezing up a storm.
"Blast!" the Witch screamed with infuriation. "Blast it! The Wicked West Wind just had to chase the Wizard through those cold mountains and catch a cold, didn't it! Now what am I supposed do?"
Truckle, the leader of the Winged Monkeys, who was engrossed in devouring a large piece of chocolate pie said dismissively, "Um, I don't know. What are you supposed to do?"
He seemed to make the Witch even more furious as she promptly smacked him in the face and caused him to shove his pie all over his mouth and nose.
"Stupid monkey brain!" she screamed at him, as she often did. "I'll just have to take matters into my own hands and make sure the Wizard never reaches the Emerald City and the little Dorothy brat and her wretched friends off the yellow brick road! Where is my book of spells!?"
As Truckle wiped the chocolate and whip cream off his face he thought to himself, Why did we ever have to bring her back to life? Why?
He remembered it like it was yesterday...
All the Winged Monkeys had gathered up the Witch's clothes and had placed them onto a statue of her they had made out of rocks and sticks in the middle of the Haunted Forest.
"Remind me again why we are doing this? He asked one of his fellows.
"Because we are bored," he said.
After laying the Witch's cape onto the statue they placed her hat onto the head and then the broomstick into her left hand. Then all together they chanted the spell that would resurrect her.
"Hillow! Hollow! Heel-ow! From beneath the earth's domain, down below the goblins realm, beneath the dragon's breath of fire, rise up by the nature of all evil and immoral, shrieking ghosts, billowing ghouls, roaming specters, bring up our Wickedest Witch to us!"
The statue began glowing and the limbs began to move and take form and then with a sudden blasting of light the Wicked Witch of the West appeared before them in all her evil glory.
"I'm baaaaaacckk!" she shrieked, cackling with glee. "Dorothy Gale will be at my mercy and the Ruby Slippers will be mine, all mine!"
He was just about to take a big bite of his double-decker salami sandwich when she called out to him, "Truckle, gather up all the Winkies!"
She then whacked him hard with her broomstick just like she used to do.
Truckle rubbed his backside remembering that day and thought perhaps what they had done was not such a good idea after all.
The next morning the Wizard found himself floating through the sky with an unusual easiness as the wind was very calm with the Wicked West Wind nowhere in sight. This gave him time to think about his previous adventures.
"I should have known Miss Zepplin was the Wicked Witch of the West in disguise," he said reflectively to himself. "Though I wish I could have stayed in Balloonia, it does get tiresome being up here alone all the time. Why didn't I stay on the ground when I had the chance all those times? Oh, that's right, because Glinda put a spell on my balloon so the Wicked Witch couldn't see me in her crystal ball as long as I am in it. But still, I wish... I wish... I wish... Oh my!"
All of a sudden he found his balloon was falling downward from the sky, and quite fast. Either he hadn't escaped pincushion peak as well as he had thought, or the hot air in his balloon had simply run out.
"My... Oh my!... Oh my!... Oh my!... Oh my! I've got to be more careful of what I wish for!" he exclaimed as his balloon continued to plummet to the ground below.
"May day! May day!" he exclaimed as he fell down through thin trees and his balloon was ripped up in the process.
Finally he came down to a soft landing, but his relief was gone quickly as he suddenly felt himself sinking within his basket. He looked over and saw to his dismay he was in a pit full of quicksand.
"My... Oh my! I never wished for anything like this! Help! Help!" he cried out.
"Here! Grab hold of the end of my walking stick!" called out a voice from above him.
He at once grabbed hold of the end of a wooden cane that appeared in front of him and as he did so he climbed to the edge of the basket and kept grabbing onto the cane until he was pulled free of the quicksand.
When he was able to let go of the cane he found its owner standing before him who was a very strange looking person wearing a stylish set of clothes and a tall silk hat set between antennae.
"Oh thank you ever so much!" said the Wizard gratefully. Then as he looked at his rescuer he asked hesitantly, "Um... I don't want to sound cheeky, but may I ask what you are?"
The stranger smiled broadly as he tipped his hat and replied, "I am a wogglebug. Mr. H.M. Wogglebug T.E., at your service!"
"Hmm.. May I ask what H.M. stands for?"
"H.M. means Highly Magnified," he replied/
"Well, I must say you are several thousand times larger than any other wogglebug I've ever seen," replied the Wizard. "May I ask also what the T.E. at the end of your name stands for?"
"Those letters express my degree, they mean that I am thoroughly educated," he replied with a condescending smile.
"Well, I say! You must be very proud!" said the Wizard in amazement.
"I am," replied Mr. Wogglebug.
"Well, now I must introduce myself, I am-"
"Oscar Zoroaster Diggs, the Wizard of Oz, originally from Omaha, Nebraska," said Mr. Wogglebug calmly.
The Wizard was completely shocked. No one knew his name, or where he was from. "How did you know?"
"Like I said, I am thoroughly educated," replied Mr. Wogglebug smiling. "Which was why I was sent to you. Now I cannot tell you exactly where I'm from or how I got here, and even if I could you most likely wouldn't believe me."
The Wizard had watched the remainder of his balloon basket sink beneath the quicksand. "Well, I suppose now I must travel on foot with you, my friend. Now we must try to find-"
"Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and Lion," Mr. Wogglebug said, once again finishing his sentence for him.
"You seem to know everything!" said the Wizard, astonished.
"Oh no, I don't know everything," Mr. Wogglebug said quickly. "No one knows everything. I do know about you and your friends and that we are now in the Southern country of the Land of the Gilikins. I don't know exactly where your friends are, but I can lead you to them and as you've seen I am a smart one to have when you're in a sticky spot," here he chuckled lightly. "Now come with me to see a good friend of mine who will provide you with something of great importance to you."