“There Stood Their Lovely Girl Ruler Ozma, of Oz — ”
“This Book Is Dedicated to My Granddaughter Ozma Baum.”
There could be no doubt of the fact: Princess Ozma, the lovely girl ruler of the Fairyland of Oz, was lost. She had completely disappeared. Not one of her subjects — not even her closest friends — knew what had become of her.
It was Dorothy who first discovered it. Dorothy was a little Kansas girl who had come to the Land of Oz to live and had been given a delightful suite of rooms in Ozma’s royal palace, just because Ozma loved Dorothy and wanted her to live as near her as possible, so the two girls might be much together.
Dorothy was not the only girl from the outside world who had been welcomed to Oz and lived in the royal palace. There was another named Betsy Bobbin, whose adventures had led her to seek refuge with Ozma, and still another named Trot, who had been invited, together with her faithful companion, Cap’n Bill, to make her home in this wonderful fairyland. The three girls all had rooms in the palace and were great chums; but Dorothy was the dearest friend of their gracious Ruler and only she at any hour dared to seek Ozma in her royal apartments. For Dorothy had lived in Oz much longer than the other girls and had been made a Princess of the realm.
Betsy was a year older than Dorothy and Trot was a year younger, yet the three were near enough of an age to become great playmates and to have nice times together. It was while the three were talking together one morning in Dorothy’s room that Betsy proposed they make a journey into the Munchkin Country, which was one of the four great countries of the Land of Oz ruled by Ozma.
“I’ve never been there yet,” said Betsy Bobbin, “but the Scarecrow once told me it is the prettiest country in all Oz.”
“I’d like to go, too,” added Trot.
“All right,” said Dorothy, “I’ll go and ask Ozma. Perhaps she will let us take the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon, which would be much nicer for us than having to walk all the way. This Land of Oz is a pretty big place, when you get to all the edges of it.”
So she jumped up and went along the halls of the splendid palace until she came to the royal suite, which filled all the front of the second floor. In a little waiting room sat Ozma’s maid, Jellia Jamb, who was busily sewing.
“Is Ozma up yet?” inquired Dorothy.
“I don’t know, my dear,” replied Jellia. “I haven’t heard a word from her this morning. She hasn’t even called for her bath or her breakfast, and it is far past her usual time for them.”
“That’s strange!” exclaimed the little girl.