The faces looked upon the astonished band with mocking smiles.
To those excellent good fellows and comedians David C. Montgomery andFrank A. Stone whose clever personations of the Tin Woodman and theScarecrow have delighted thousands of children throughout the land, thisbook is gratefully dedicated by THE AUTHOR
In the Country of the Gillikins, which is at the North of the Land of Oz,lived a youth called Tip. There was more to his name than that, for oldMombi often declared that his whole name was Tippetarius; but no one wasexpected to say such a long word when “Tip” would do just aswell.
This boy remembered nothing of his parents, for he had been brought whenquite young to be reared by the old woman known as Mombi, whosereputation, I am sorry to say, was none of the best. For the Gillikinpeople had reason to suspect her of indulging in magical arts, andtherefore hesitated to associate with her.
Mombi was not exactly a Witch, because the Good Witch who ruled that partof the Land of Oz had forbidden any otherWitch to exist in her dominions. So Tip’s guardian, however much she mightaspire to working magic, realized it was unlawful to be more than aSorceress, or at most a Wizardess.
Tip was made to carry wood from the forest, that the old woman might boilher pot. He also worked in the corn-fields, hoeing and husking; and he fedthe pigs and milked the four-horned cow that was Mombi’s especial pride.
But you must not suppose he worked all the time, for he felt that would bebad for him. When sent to the forest Tip often climbed trees for birds’eggs or amused himself chasing the fleet white rabbits or fishing in thebrooks with bent pins. Then he would hastily gather his armful of wood andcarry it home. And when he was supposed to be working in the corn-fields,and the tall stalks hid him from Mombi’s view, Tip would often dig in thegopher holes, or if the mood seized him — lieupon his back between the rows of corn and take a nap. So, by taking carenot to exhaust his strength, he grew as strong and rugged as a boy may be.
Mombi’s curious magic often frightened her neighbors, and they treated hershyly, yet respectfully, because of her weird powers. But Tip franklyhated her, and took no pains to hide his feelings. Indeed, he sometimesshowed less respect for the old woman than he should have done,considering she was his guardian.
There were pumpkins in Mombi’s corn-fields, lying golden red among therows of green stalks; and these had been planted and carefully tended thatthe four-horned cow might eat of them in the winter time. But one day,after the corn had all been cut and stacked, and Tip was carrying thepumpkins to the stable, he took a notion to make a “Jack Lantern”and try to give the old woman a fright with it.
So he selected a fine, big pumpkin — one with a lustrous, orange-redcolor — and began carving it. With the point of his knife he made tworound eyes, a three-cornered nose, and amouth shaped like a new moon. The face, when completed, could not havebeen considered strictly beautiful; but it wore a smile so big and broad,and was so Jolly in expression, that even Tip laughed as he lookedadmiringly at his work.
The child had no playmates, so he did not know that boys often dig out theinside of a “pumpkin-jack,” and in the space thus made put alighted candle to render the face more startling; but he conceived an ideaof his own that promised to be quite as effective. He decided tomanufacture the form of a man, who would wear this pumpkin head, and tostand it in a place where old Mombi would meet it face to face.