"Come with me to my dwelling
and I'll introduce you to my
daughters," said the Chief. "We're
bringing them up according to
a book of rules that was written
by one of our leading old bachelors,
and everyone says they're a remarkable
lot of girls."
So Scraps accompanied him along
the street to a house that seemed
on the outside exceptionally
grimy and dingy. The streets
of this city were not paved nor
had any attempt been made to
beautify the houses or their
surroundings, and having noticed
this condition Scraps was astonished
when the Chief ushered her into
Here was nothing grimy or faded,
indeed. On the contrary, the
room was of dazzling brilliance
and beauty, for it was lined
throughout with an exquisite
metal that resembled translucent
frosted silver. The surface of
this metal was highly ornamented
in raised designs representing
men, animals, flowers and trees,
and from the metal itself was
radiated the soft light which
flooded the room. All the furniture
was made of the same glorious
metal, and Scraps asked what
"That's radium," answered the
Chief. "We Horners spend all
our time digging radium from
the mines under this mountain,
and we use it to decorate our
homes and make them pretty and
cosy. It is a medicine, too,
and no one can ever be sick who
lives near radium."
"Have you plenty of it?" asked
the Patchwork Girl.
we can use. All the houses
in this city are decorated
with it, just the same as mine
don't you use
it on your streets, then, and
the outside of your
houses, to make them as pretty
as they are within?" she inquired.
"Outside? Who cares for the
outside of anything?" asked the
Chief. "We Horners don't live
on the outside of our homes;
we live inside. Many people are
like those stupid Hoppers, who
love to make an outside show.
I suppose you strangers thought
their city more beautiful than
ours, because you judged from
appearances and they have handsome
marble houses and marble streets;
but if you entered one of their
stiff dwellings you would find
it bare and uncomfortable, as
all their show is on the outside.
They have an idea that what is
not seen by others is not important,
but with us the rooms we live
in are our chief delight and
care, and we pay no attention
to outside show."
"Seems to me," said Scraps,
musingly, "it would be better
to make it all pretty--inside
"Seems? Why, you're all seams,
my girl!" said the Chief; and
then he laughed heartily at his
latest joke and a chorus of small
voices echoed the chorus with "tee-hee-hee!
Scraps turned around and found
a row of girls seated in radium
chairs ranged along one wall
of the room. There were nineteen
of them, by actual count, and
they were of all sizes from a
tiny child to one almost a grown
woman. All were neatly dressed
in spotless white robes and had
brown skins, horns on their foreheads
and threecolored hair.
"These," said the Chief, "are
my sweet daughters. My dears,
I introduce to you Miss Scraps
Patchwork, a lady who is traveling
in foreign parts to increase
her store of wisdom."
The nineteen Horner girls all
arose and made a polite curtsey,
after which they resumed their
seats and rearranged their robes
"Why do they sit so still,
and all in a row?" asked Scraps.
"Because it is ladylike and
proper," replied the Chief.
"But some are
just children, poor things!
Don't they ever
run around and play and laugh,
and have a good time?"
"No, indeed," said the Chief. "That
would he improper in young ladies,
as well as in those who will
sometime become young ladies.
My daughters are being brought
up according to the rules and
regulations laid down by a leading
bachelor who has given the subject
much study and is himself a man
of taste and culture. Politeness
is his great hobby, and he claims
that if a child is allowed to
do an impolite thing one cannot
expect the grown person to do
"Is it impolite to romp and
shout and be jolly?" asked Scraps.
"Well, sometimes it is, and
sometimes it isn't," replied
the Horner, after considering
the question. "By curbing such
inclinations in my daughters
we keep on the safe side. Once
in a while I make a good joke,
as you have heard, and then I
permit my daughters to laugh
decorously; but they are never
allowed to make a joke themselves."
"That old bachelor who made
the rules ought to be skinned
alive!" declared Scraps, and
would have said more on the subject
had not the door opened to admit
a little Horner man whom the
Chief introduced as Diksey.
"What's up, Chief?" asked
Diksey, winking nineteen times
nineteen girls, who demurely
cast down their eyes because
their father was looking.
The Chief told the man that
his joke had not been understood
by the dull Hoppers, who had
become so angry that they had
declared war. So the only way
to avoid a terrible battle was
to explain the joke so they could
"All right," replied Diksey,
who seemed a good- natured man; "I'll
go at once to the fence and explain.
I don't want any war with the
Hoppers, for wars between nations
always cause hard feelings."
So the Chief and Diksey and
Scraps left the house and went
back to the marble picket fence.
The Scarecrow was still stuck
on the top of his picket but
had now ceased to struggle. On
the other side of the fence were
Dorothy and Ojo, looking between
the pickets; and there, also,
were the Champion and many other
Diksey went close to the fence
"My good Hoppers,
I wish to explain that what
I said about
you was a joke. You have but
one leg each, and we have two
legs each. Our legs are under
us, whether one or two, and we
stand on them. So, when I said
you had less understanding than
we, I did not mean that you had
less understanding, you understand,
but that you had less standundering,
so to speak. Do you understand
The Hoppers thought it over
carefully. Then one said:
"That is clear
enough; but where does the
joke come in?'"
Dorothy laughed, for she couldn't
help it, although all the others
were solemn enough.
"I'll tell you where the joke
comes in," she said, and took
the Hoppers away to a distance,
where the Horners could not hear
them. "You know," she then explained, "those
neighbors of yours are not very
bright, poor things, and what
they think is a joke isn't a
joke at all--it's true, don't
"True that we have less understanding?" asked
true because you don't understand
such a poor
joke; if you did, you'd be no
wiser than they are."
"Ah, yes; of course," they
answered, looking very wise.
"So I'll tell you what to do," continued
Dorothy. "Laugh at their poor
joke and tell 'em it's pretty
good for a Horner. Then they
won't dare say you have less
understanding, because you understand
as much as they do."
The Hoppers looked at one another
questioningly and blinked their
eyes and tried to think what
it all meant; but they couldn't
figure it out.
"What do you think, Champion?" asked
one of them.
"I think it is dangerous to
think of this thing any more
than we can help," he replied. "Let
us do as this girl says and laugh
with the Horners, so as to make
them believe we see the joke.
Then there will be peace again
and no need to fight."
They readily agreed to this
and returned to the fence laughing
as loud and as hard as they could,
although they didn't feel like
laughing a bit. The Horners were
"That's a fine joke--for a
Horner--and we are much pleased
with it," said the Champion,
speaking between the pickets. "But
please don't do it again."
"I won't," promised Diksey. "If
I think of another such joke
I'll try to forget it."
"Good!" cried the Chief Horner. "The
war is over and peace is declared."
There was much joyful shouting
on both sides of the fence and
the gate was unlocked and thrown
wide open, so that Scraps was
able to rejoin her friends.
"What about the Scarecrow?" she
"We must get him down, somehow
or other," was the reply.
"Perhaps the Horners can find
a way," suggested Ojo. So they
all went through the gate and
Dorothy asked the Chief Horner
how they could get the Scarecrow
off the fence. The Chief didn't
know how, but Diksey said:
"Have you one?" asked
"To be sure. We use ladders
in our mines," said he. Then
he ran away to get the ladder,
and while he was gone the Horners
gathered around and welcomed
the strangers to their country,
for through them a great war
had been avoided.
In a little while Diksey came
back with a tall ladder which
he placed against the fence.
Ojo at once climbed to the top
of the ladder and Dorothy went
about halfway up and Scraps stood
at the foot of it. Toto ran around
it and barked. Then Ojo pulled
the Scarecrow away from the picket
and passed him down to Dorothy,
who in turn lowered him to the
As soon as he was on his feet
and standing on solid ground
the Scarecrow said:
I feel much better. I'm not
stuck on that
picket any more."
The Horners began to laugh,
thinking this was a joke, but
the Scarecrow shook himself and
straw a little and said to
Dorothy: "Is there much
of a hole in my back?"
The little girl examined him
"There's quite a hole," she
said. "But I've got a needle
and thread in the knapsack and
I'll sew you up again."
"Do so," he
begged earnestly, and again
the Hoppers laughed,
to the Scarecrow's great annoyance.
While Dorothy was sewing up
the hole in the straw man's back
Scraps examined the other parts
"One of his legs is ripped,
too!" she exclaimed.
"Oho!" cried little Diksey; "that's
bad. Give him the needle and
thread and let him mend his ways."
"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed
the Chief, and the other Homers
roared with laughter.
"What's funny?" inquired
the Scarecrow sternly.
"Don't you see?" asked Diksey,
who had laughed even harder than
the others. "That's a joke. It's
by odds the best joke I ever
made. You walk with your legs,
and so that's the way you walk,
and your legs are the ways. See?
So, when you mend your legs,
you mend your ways. Ho, ho, ho!
hee, hee! I'd no idea I could
make such a fine joke!"
"Just wonderful!" echoed the
Chief. "How do you manage to
do it, Diksey?"
"I don't know," said Diksey
modestly. "Perhaps it's the radium,
but I rather think it's my splendid
If you don't
quit it," the
Scarecrow told him, "there'll
be a worse war than the one you've
Ojo had been
deep in thought, and now he
asked the Chief: "Is
there a dark well in any part
of your country?"
"A dark well? None that ever
I heard of," was the answer.
"Oh, yes," said Diksey, who
overheard the boy's question. "There's
a very dark well down in my radium
"Is there any water in it?" Ojo
I've never looked to see. But
we can find out."
So, as soon as the Scarecrow
was mended, they decided to go
with Diksey to the mine. When
Dorothy had patted the straw
man into shape again he declared
he felt as good as new and equal
to further adventures.
"Still," said he, "I prefer
not to do picket duty again.
High life doesn't seem to agree
with my constitution." And then
they hurried away to escape the
laughter of the Homers, who thought
this was another joke.