THE MEETING ON THE CLEARING
morning all the animals of the forest came to the big clearing. There were
hundreds and hundreds of beasts. There were wolves and foxes, bears, lions and
monkeys, and many other animals. Leopard the King sat down on a big stone
which was his throne.
"Brothers," he said in his loud voice,
"yesterday two beasts of a very strange form came to our forest. They are
great magicians. They can change the forms of people and animals. They live in
the sky. They are here because they want to help us. My friends—the Bear, the
Wolf, the Grey Monkey and I saw their magic work.1 Now one of
the magicians wants to speak to you. Will you listen to him?"
"Yes, yes, let him speak!" cried all
So the Nome came out in front of the
animals. The animals looked at him in great surprise. They looked at his
lion's head, his eagle's wings and his monkey's body.
The Nome spoke for a long time. When
he finished one of the animals said: "Can you really change animals into men,
women and children?"
"Yes, he can, he can!" cried the Wolf.
Now Gugu, the King of the forest, got
up from his throne and said: "You have heard the plan of our friends, haven't
you? Now you must give your answer. Do you like the plan?"
"Yes," cried some of the animals.
"No," cried others. Some animals said
neither yes nor no.
Gugu the King looked at the animals
and said: "Think, think hard. I am waiting for your answer. If you are ready
to answer now, I shall hear you."
The animals began to talk to one
another. Some of them wanted to fight the Oz people, others did not want to
fight them. And there were some beasts who did not want even to talk about
fighting. The noise was so great that they could not hear one another.
Suddenly the noise stopped. All the animals looked in great surprise at a
strange group which they suddenly saw on the clearing.
1 saw their magic work
— видели, как они делают чудеса