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L. Frank Baum: Ozma of Oz
3. Letters in the Sand
Walking a little way back from the water's edge, toward the grove of trees, Dorothy came to a flat stretch of white sand that seemed to have queer signs marked upon its surface, just as one would write upon sand with a stick.
"What does it say?" she asked the yellow hen, who trotted along beside her in a rather dignified fashion.
"How should I know?" returned the hen. "I cannot read."
"Oh! Can't you?"
"Certainly not; I've never been to school, you know."
"Well, I have," admitted Dorothy; "but the letters are big and far apart, and it's hard to spell out the words."
But she looked at each letter carefully, and finally discovered that these words were written in the sand:
"BEWARE THE WHEELERS!"
"That's rather strange," declared the hen, when Dorothy had read aloud the words. "What do you suppose the Wheelers are?"
"Folks that wheel, I guess. They must have wheelbarrows, or baby-cabs or hand-carts," said Dorothy.
"Perhaps they're automobiles," suggested the yellow hen. "There is no need to beware of baby-cabs and wheelbarrows; but automobiles are dangerous things. Several of my friends have been run over by them."
"It can't be auto'biles," replied the girl, "for this is a new, wild country, without even trolley-cars or tel'phones. The people here haven't been discovered yet, I'm sure; that is, if there ARE any people. So I don't b'lieve there CAN be any auto'biles, Billina."
"Perhaps not," admitted the yellow hen. "Where are you going now?"
"Over to those trees, to see if I can find some fruit or nuts," answered Dorothy.
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