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11. The Nome King (continued)
This terrible threat so frightened them that they at once returned to where Ozma was standing beside the Cowardly Lion.
Then Ozma cried out in a loud voice:
"I demand that the Nome King appear to us!"
There was no reply, except that the shifting Nomes upon the mountain laughed in derision.
"You must not command the Nome King," said Tiktok, "for you do not rule him, as you do your own peo-ple."
So Ozma called again, saying:
"I request the Nome King to appear to us."
Only the mocking laughter replied to her, and the shadowy Nomes continued to flit here and there upon the rocky cliff.
"Try en-treat-y," said Tiktok to Ozma. "If he will not come at your re-quest, then the Nome King may list-en to your plead-ing."
Ozma looked around her proudly.
"Do you wish your ruler to plead with this wicked Nome King?" she asked. "Shall Ozma of Oz humble herself to a creature who lives in an underground kingdom?"
"No!" they all shouted, with big voices; and the Scarecrow added:
"If he will not come, we will dig him out of his hole, like a fox, and conquer his stubbornness. But our sweet little ruler must always maintain her dignity, just as I maintain mine."
"I'm not afraid to plead with him," said Dorothy. "I'm only a little girl from Kansas, and we've got more dignity at home than we know what to do with. I'LL call the Nome King."
"Do," said the Hungry Tiger; "and if he makes hash of you I'll willingly eat you for breakfast tomorrow morning."
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