THE OLD HUMBUG
"Go on, go on with your story," said
Dorothy. "How did you become the Great Wizard?"
"I told them to build this city and my
palace," the old man went on. "The good people did all I wanted them to do.
And they did it all very well. The country was green and beautiful. I liked it
very much. I called this new city 'The Emerald City'. I told the people to
wear green eye-glasses. From that time on
1 all was
green for them."
"But isn't all around here green?"
"No, it isn't," answered the Wizard
with a laugh. "Only
the wall is green. But the good people
think that they live in the emerald city. They think that my palace is made of
emeralds, but it is made of glass. It was built many, many years ago. I was
very young when the balloon brought me here. And I am an old man now. I don't
want to be a humbug now. I want to go home. All this time the people liked me
and were happy. But I was not happy here. I was always afraid of the Witches
of the East and the West. They were very wicked and they could kill me very
easily. It was a very happy day for me when your house fell on the Wicked
Witch of the East and killed her. But there was another Wicked Witch, the
Witch of the West. I was afraid of her. So when you came, I told you to kill
the Wicked Witch of the West. I was ready to promise to do all you wanted me
to do. But, dear friends, I am very sorry. I can't do what I promised you to
do. Please, don't be angry with me!"
"I think that you are a very bad man,"
"Oh, no, my dear," said the old man,
"I am not a bad man, but I am a bad Wizard."
"But this is terrible," said the Tin
Woodman. "Who will give me a heart?"
"Who will give me some brains?" said
"Who will give me some courage?" asked
the Cowardly Lion.
"And how can I get back to Kansas?"
"My dear friends," said the little
man, "I must think about all that. During all these years I learned magic. I
shall try to give brains to the Scarecrow, courage to the Lion and a heart to
the Tin Woodman. And I shall try to send you, my brave little girl, back to
Kansas prairie. Come tomorrow morning and we shall see. Only don't tell my
people that I am a humbug."
They promised him to keep his secret
2 and went
back to their rooms. They were happy again because they were full of hopes
From that time on — С этого времени
to keep his secret — хранить его тайну