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15. Billina Frightens the Nome King (continued)
"Guessing right?" snapped the King. "How could you guess right, where your betters have failed, you stupid fowl?"
Billina did not care to answer this question, and a moment later the doors flew open and Dorothy entered, leading the little Prince Evring by the hand.
The Scarecrow welcomed the girl with a close embrace, and he would have embraced Evring, too, in his delight. But the little Prince was shy, and shrank away from the painted Scarecrow because he did not yet know his many excellent qualities.
But there was little time for the friends to talk, because the Scarecrow must now enter the palace. Dorothy's success had greatly encouraged him, and they both hoped he would manage to make at least one correct guess.
However, he proved as unfortunate as the others except Dorothy, and although he took a good deal of time to select his objects, not one did the poor Scarecrow guess aright.
So he became a solid gold card-receiver, and the beautiful but terrible palace awaited its next visitor.
"It's all over," remarked the King, with a sigh of satisfaction; "and it has been a very amusing performance, except for the one good guess the Kansas girl made. I am richer by a great many pretty ornaments."
"It is my turn, now," said Billina, briskly.
"Oh, I'd forgotten you," said the King. "But you needn't go if you don't wish to. I will be generous, and let you off."
"No you won't," replied the hen. "I insist upon having my guesses, as you promised."
"Then go ahead, you absurd feathered fool!" grumbled the King, and he caused the opening that led to the palace to appear once more.
"Don't go, Billina," said Dorothy, earnestly. "It isn't easy to guess those orn'ments, and only luck saved me from being one myself. Stay with me and we'll go back to the Land of Ev together. I'm sure this little Prince will give us a home."
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