After climbing down from the
china wall the travelers found
themselves in a disagreeable
country, full of bogs and marshes
and covered with tall, rank grass.
It was difficult to walk without
falling into muddy holes, for
the grass was so thick that it
hid them from sight. However,
by carefully picking their way,
they got safely along until they
reached solid ground. But here
the country seemed wilder than
ever, and after a long and tiresome
walk through the underbrush they
entered another forest, where
the trees were bigger and older
than any they had ever seen.
"This forest is perfectly delightful," declared
the Lion, looking around him
with joy. "Never have I seen
a more beautiful place."
"It seems gloomy," said
"Not a bit of it," answered
the Lion. "I should like to live
here all my life. See how soft
the dried leaves are under your
feet and how rich and green the
moss is that clings to these
old trees. Surely no wild beast
could wish a pleasanter home."
"Perhaps there are wild beasts
in the forest now," said Dorothy.
"I suppose there are," returned
the Lion, "but I do not see any
of them about."
They walked through the forest
until it became too dark to go
any farther. Dorothy and Toto
and the Lion lay down to sleep,
while the Woodman and the Scarecrow
kept watch over them as usual.
When morning came, they started
again. Before they had gone far
they heard a low rumble, as of
the growling of many wild animals.
Toto whimpered a little, but
none of the others was frightened,
and they kept along the well-trodden
path until they came to an opening
in the wood, in which were gathered
hundreds of beasts of every variety.
There were tigers and elephants
and bears and wolves and foxes
and all the others in the natural
history, and for a moment Dorothy
was afraid. But the Lion explained
that the animals were holding
a meeting, and he judged by their
snarling and growling that they
were in great trouble.
As he spoke several of the
beasts caught sight of him, and
at once the great assemblage
hushed as if by magic. The biggest
of the tigers came up to the
Lion and bowed, saying:
King of Beasts! You have come
in good time to
fight our enemy and bring peace
to all the animals of the forest
"What is your trouble?" asked
the Lion quietly.
"We are all threatened," answered
the tiger, "by a fierce enemy
which has lately come into this
forest. It is a most tremendous
monster, like a great spider,
with a body as big as an elephant
and legs as long as a tree trunk.
It has eight of these long legs,
and as the monster crawls through
the forest he seizes an animal
with a leg and drags it to his
mouth, where he eats it as a
spider does a fly. Not one of
us is safe while this fierce
creature is alive, and we had
called a meeting to decide how
to take care of ourselves when
you came among us."
The Lion thought for a moment.
"Are there any other lions
in this forest?" he asked.
were some, but the monster
has eaten them all. And,
besides, they were none of them
nearly so large and brave as
"If I put an end to your enemy,
will you bow down to me and obey
me as King of the Forest?" inquired
"We will do that gladly," returned
the tiger; and all the other
beasts roared with a mighty roar: "We
"Where is this great spider
of yours now?" asked the Lion.
"Yonder, among the oak trees," said
the tiger, pointing with his
"Take good care of these friends
of mine," said the Lion, "and
I will go at once to fight the
He bade his comrades good-bye
and marched proudly away to do
battle with the enemy.
The great spider was lying
asleep when the Lion found him,
and it looked so ugly that its
foe turned up his nose in disgust.
Its legs were quite as long as
the tiger had said, and its body
covered with coarse black hair.
It had a great mouth, with a
row of sharp teeth a foot long;
but its head was joined to the
pudgy body by a neck as slender
as a wasp's waist. This gave
the Lion a hint of the best way
to attack the creature, and as
he knew it was easier to fight
it asleep than awake, he gave
a great spring and landed directly
upon the monster's back. Then,
with one blow of his heavy paw,
all armed with sharp claws, he
knocked the spider's head from
its body. Jumping down, he watched
it until the long legs stopped
wiggling, when he knew it was
The Lion went back to the opening
where the beasts of the forest
were waiting for him and said
"You need fear
your enemy no longer."
Then the beasts bowed down
to the Lion as their King, and
he promised to come back and
rule over them as soon as Dorothy
was safely on her way to Kansas.