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21. How the King Changed His Mind (continued)
"No, it wouldn't do at all," declared Dorothy, positively. "There wouldn't be room in your hole in the ground for so many rabbits, 'spec'ly when you get the lily chair and your clothes there. Don't think of such a thing, your Majesty."
The King sighed. Then he stood up and announced to the company:
"We will now hold a military drill by my picked Bodyguard of Royal Pikemen."
Now the band played a march and a company of rabbit soldiers came in. They wore green and gold uniforms and marched very stiffly but in perfect time. Their spears, or pikes, had slender shafts of polished silver with golden heads, and during the drill they handled these weapons with wonderful dexterity.
"I should think you'd feel pretty safe with such a fine Bodyguard," remarked Dorothy.
"I do," said the King. "They protect me from every harm. I suppose Glinda wouldn't--"
"No," interrupted the girl; "I'm sure she wouldn't. It's the King's own Bodyguard, and when you are no longer King you can't have 'em."
The King did not reply, but he looked rather sorrowful for a time.
When the soldiers had marched out he said to the company:
"The Royal Jugglers will now appear."
Dorothy had seen many jugglers in her lifetime, but never any so interesting as these. There were six of them, dressed in black satin embroidered with queer symbols in silver--a costume which contrasted strongly with their snow-white fur.
First, they pushed in a big red ball and three of the rabbit jugglers stood upon its top and made it roll. Then two of them caught up a third and tossed him into the air, all vanishing, until only the two were left. Then one of these tossed the other upward and remained alone of all his fellows. This last juggler now touched the red ball, which fell apart, being hollow, and the five rabbits who had disappeared in the air scrambled out of the hollow ball.
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