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11. The Nome King (continued)
"And what are Nomes?" asked the girl, half frightened.
"They are rock fair-ies, and serve the Nome King," replied the machine. "But they will do us no harm. You must call for the King, be-cause with-out him you can ne-ver find the en-trance to the pal-ace."
"YOU call," said Dorothy to Ozma.
Just then the Nomes laughed again, and the sound was so weird and disheartening that the twenty-six officers commanded the private to "right-about-face!" and they all started to run as fast as they could.
The Tin Woodman at once pursued his army and cried "halt!" and when they had stopped their flight he asked: "Where are you going?"
"I--I find I've forgotten the brush for my whiskers," said a general, trembling with fear. "S-s-so we are g-going back after it!"
"That is impossible," replied the Tin Woodman. "For the giant with the hammer would kill you all if you tried to pass him."
"Oh! I'd forgotten the giant," said the general, turning pale.
"You seem to forget a good many things," remarked the Tin Woodman. "I hope you won't forget that you are brave men."
"Never!" cried the general, slapping his gold-embroidered chest.
"Never!" cried all the other officers, indignantly slapping their chests.
"For my part," said the private, meekly, "I must obey my officers; so when I am told to run, I run; and when I am told to fight, I fight."
"That is right," agreed the Tin Woodman. "And now you must all come back to Ozma, and obey HER orders. And if you try to run away again I will have her reduce all the twenty-six officers to privates, and make the private your general."
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