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17. The Scarecrow Wins the Fight (continued)
"Do you surrender?" demanded the King.
Billina whispered something in the Scarecrow's ear that made him smile and put his hands in his jacket pockets.
"No!" returned Ozma, boldly answering the King. Then she said to her army:
"Forward, my brave soldiers, and fight for your Ruler and yourselves, unto death!"
"Pardon me, Most Royal Ozma," replied one of her generals; "but I find that I and my brother officers all suffer from heart disease, and the slightest excitement might kill us. If we fight we may get excited. Would it not be well for us to avoid this grave danger?"
"Soldiers should not have heart disease," said Ozma.
"Private soldiers are not, I believe, afflicted that way," declared another general, twirling his moustache thoughtfully. "If your Royal Highness desires, we will order our private to attack yonder warriors."
"Do so," replied Ozma.
"For-ward--march!" cried all the generals, with one voice. "For-ward--march!" yelled the colonels. "For-ward--march!" shouted the majors. "For-ward--march!" commanded the captains.
And at that the private leveled his spear and dashed furiously upon the foe.
The captain of the Nomes was so surprised by this sudden onslaught that he forgot to command his warriors to fight, so that the ten men in the first row, who stood in front of the private's spear, fell over like so many toy soldiers. The spear could not go through their steel armor, however, so the warriors scrambled to their feet again, and by that time the private had knocked over another row of them.
Then the captain brought down his battle-axe with such a strong blow that the private's spear was shattered and knocked from his grasp, and he was helpless to fight any longer.
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