The Woggle-Bug Book
L. Frank Baum
The Unique Adventures of the WOGGLE-BUG
ONE day Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E., becoming separated from his
comrades who had accompanied him from the Land of Oz, and finding that
time hung heavy on his hands (he had four of them), decided to walk
down the Main street of the City and try to discover something or other
The initials "H. M." before his name meant "Highly Magnified," for this
Woggle-Bug was several thousand times bigger than any other woggle-bug
you ever saw. And the initials "T. E." after his named meant "Thoroughly
Educated"--and so he was, in the Land of Oz. But his education, being
applied to a woggle-bug intellect, was not at all remarkable in this
country, where everything is quite different than Oz. Yet the
Woggle-Bug did not suspect this, and being, like so many other thoroughly
educated persons, proud of his mental attainments, he marched along the
street with an air of importance that made one wonder what great
thoughts were occupying his massive brain.
Being about as big, in his magnified state, as a man, the Woggle-Bug
took care to clothe himself like a man; only, instead of choosing sober
colors for his garments, he delighted in the most gorgeous reds and
yellows and blues and greens; so that if you looked at him long the
brilliance of his clothing was liable to dazzle your eyes.
I suppose the Waggle-Bug did not realize at all what a queer appearance
he made. Being rather nervous, he seldom looked into a mirror; and as
the people he met avoided telling him he was unusual, he had fallen
into the habit of considering himself merely an ordinary citizen of the
big city wherein he resided.
So the Woggle-Bug strutted proudly along the street, swinging a cane in
one hand, flourishing a pink handkerchief in the other, fumbling his
watch-fob with another, and feeling his necktie was straight with
another. Having four hands to use would prove rather puzzling to you or
me, I imagine; but the Woggie-Bug was thoroughly accustomed to them.
Presently he came to a very fine store with big plate-glass windows,
and standing in the center of the biggest window was a creature so
beautiful and radiant and altogether charming that the first glance at
her nearly took his breath away. Her complexion was lovely, for it was
wax; but the thing which really caught the Woggle-Bug's fancy was the
marvelous dress she wore. Indeed, it was the latest (last year's) Paris
model, although the Woggle-Bug did not know that; and the designer must
have had a real woggly love for bright colors, for the gown was made of
red cloth covered with big checks which were so loud the fashion books
called them "Wagnerian Plaids."
Never had our friend the Woggle-Bug seen such a beautiful gown before,
and it afflicted him so strongly that he straightaway fell in love with
the entire outfit--even to the wax-complexioned lady herself! Very
politely he tipped his to her; but she stared coldly back without in
any way acknowledging the courtesy.
"Never mind," he thought; "'faint heart never won fair lady.' And I'm
determined to win this kaliedoscope of beauty or perish in the
attempt!" You will notice that our insect had a way of using big words
to express himself, which leads us to suspect that the school system in
Oz is the same they employ in Boston.
As, with swelling heart, the Woggle-Bug feasted his eyes upon the
enchanting vision, a small green tag that was attached to a button of
the waist suddenly attracted his attention. Upon the tag was marked:
"Price $7.93--GREATLY REDUCED."
"Ah!" murmured the Woggle-Bug; "my darling is in greatly reduced
circumstances, and $7.93 will make her mine! Where, oh where, shall I
find the seven ninety-three wherewith to liberate this divinity and
make her Mrs. Woggle-Bug?"
"Move on!" said a gruff policeman, who came along swinging his club.
And the Woggle-Bug obediently moved on, his brain working fast and
furious in the endeavor to think of a way to procure seven dollars and
You see, in the Land of Oz they use no money at all, so that when the
Woggle-Bug arrived in America he did not possess a single penny. And no
one had presented him with any money since.
"Yet there must be several ways to procure money in this country," he
reflected; "for otherwise everybody would be as penniless as I am. But
how, I wonder, do they manage to get it?"
Just then he came along a side street where a number of men were at
work digging a long and deep ditch in which to lay a new sewer.
"Now these men," thought the Woggle-Bug, "must get money for shoveling
all that earth, else they wouldn't do it. Here is my chance to win the
charming vision of beauty in the shop window!"
Seeking out the foreman, he asked for work, and the foreman agreed to
"How much do you pay these workmen?" asked the highly magnified one.
"Two dollars a day," answered the foreman.
"Then," said the Woggle-Bug, "you must pay me four dollars a day; for I
have four arms to their two, and can do double their work."
"If that is so, I'll pay you four dollars," agreed the man.
The Woggle-Bug was delighted.
"In two days," he told himself, as he threw off his brilliant coat and
placed his hat upon it, and rolled up his sleeves; "in two days I can
earn eight dollars--enough to purchase my greatly reduced darling and
buy her seven cents worth of caramels besides."
He seized two spades and began working so rapidly with his four arms
that the foreman said: "You must have been forewarned."
"Why?" asked the Insect.
"Because there's a saying that to be forewarned is to be four-armed,"
replied the other.
"That is nonsense," said the Woggle-Bug, digging with all his might;
"for they call you the foreman, and yet I only see one of you."
"Ha, ha!" laughed the man, and he was so proud of his new worker that
he went into the corner saloon to tell his friend the barkeeper what a
treasure he had found.
It was just after noon that the Woggle-Bug hired as a ditch-digger in
order to win his heart's desire; so at noon on the second day he quit
work, and having received eight silver dollars he put on his coat and
rushed away to the store that he might purchase his intended bride.
But, alas for the uncertainty of all our hopes! Just as the Woggle-Bug
reached the door he saw a lady coming out of the store dressed in
identical checks with which he had fallen in love!
At first he did not know what to do or say, for the young lady's
complexion was not wax--far from it. But a glance into the window
showed him the wax lady now dressed in a plain black tailor-made suit,
and at once he knew the wearer of the Wagnerian plaids was his real
love, and not the stiff creature behind the glass.
"Beg pardon!" he exclaimed, stopping the young lady; "but you're mine.
Here's the seven ninety-three, and seven cents for candy."
But she glanced at him in a haughty manner, and walked away with her
nose slightly elevated.
He followed. He could not do otherwise with those delightful checks
shining before him like beacon-lights to urge him on.
The young lady stepped into a car, which whirled away rapidly. For a
moment he was nearly paralyzed at his loss; then he started after the
car as fast as he could go, and this was very fast indeed--he being a
Somebody cried: "Stop, thief!" and a policeman ran out to arrest him.
But the Woggle-Bug used his four hands to push the officer aside, and
the astonished man went rolling into the gutter so recklessly that his
uniform bore marks of the encounter for many days.
Still keeping an eye on the car, the Woggle-Bug rushed on. He
frightened two dogs, upset a fat gentleman who was crossing the street,
leaped over an automobile that shot in front of him, and finally ran
plump into the car, which had abruptly stopped to let off a passenger.
Breathing hard from his exertions, he jumped upon the rear platform of
the car, only to see his charmer step off at the front and walk
mincingly up the steps of a house. Despite his fatigue, he flew after
her at once, crying out:
"Stop, my variegated dear--stop! Don't you know you're mine?"
But she slammed the door in his face, and he sat down upon the steps
and wiped his forehead with his pink handkerchief and fanned himself
with his hat and tried to think what he should do next.
Presently a very angry man came out of the house. He had a revolver in
one hand and a carving-knife in the other.
"What do you mean by insulting my wife?" he demanded.
"Was that your wife?" asked the Woggle-Bug, in meek astonishment.
"Of course it is my wife," answered the man.
"Oh, I didn't know," said the insect, rather humbled. "But I'll give
you seven ninety-three for her. That's all she's worth, you know; for I
saw it marked on the tag."
The man gave a roar of rage and jumped into the air with the intention
of falling on the Woggle-Bug and hurting him with the knife and pistol.
But the Woggle-Bug was suddenly in a hurry, and didn't wait to be
jumped on. Indeed, he ran so very fast that the man was content to let
him go, especially as the pistol wasn't loaded and the carving-knife
was as dull as such knives usually are.
But his wife had conceived a great dislike for the Wagnerian check
costume that had won for her the Woggle-Bug's admiration. "I'll never
wear it again!" she said to her husband, when he came in and told her
that the Woggle-Bug was gone.
"Then," he replied, "you'd better give it to Bridget; for she's been
bothering me about her wages lately, and the present will keep her
quite for a month longer."
So she called Bridget and presented her with the dress, and the
delighted servant decided to wear it that night to Mickey Schwartz's
Now the poor Woggle-Bug, finding his affection scorned, was feeling
very blue and unhappy that evening, When he walked out, dressed (among
other things) in a purple-striped shirt, with a yellow necktie and
pea-green gloves, he looked a great deal more cheerful than he really
was. He had put on another hat, for the Woggle-Bug had a superstition
that to change his hat was to change his luck, and luck seemed to have
overlooked the fact that he was in existence.
The hat may really have altered his fortunes, as the Insect shortly met
Ikey Swanson, who gave him a ticket to Mickey Schwartz's ball; for
Ikey's clean dickey had not come home from the laundry, and so he could
not go himself.
The Woggle-Bug, thinking to distract his mind from his dreams of love,
attended the hall, and the first thing he saw as he entered the room
was Bridget clothed in that same gorgeous gown of Wagnerian plaid that
had so fascinated his bugly heart.
The dear Bridget had added to her charms by putting seven full-blown
imitation roses and three second-hand ostrich-plumes in her red hair;
so that her entire person glowed like a sunset in June.
The Woggle-bug was enraptured; and, although the divine Bridget was
waltzing with Fritzie Casey, the Insect rushed to her side and, seizing
her with all his four arms at once, cried out in his truly educated
"Oh, my superlative conglomeration of beauty! I have found you at
Bridget uttered a shriek, and Fritzie Casey doubled two fists that
looked like tombstones, and advanced upon the intruder.
Still embracing the plaid costume with two arms, the Woggle-Bug tipped
Mr. Casey over with the other two. But Bridget made a bound and landed
with her broad heel, which supported 180 pounds, firmly upon the
Insect's toes. He gave a yelp of pain and promptly released the lady,
and a moment later he found himself flat upon the floor with a dozen of
the dancers piled upon him--all of whom were pummeling each other with
much pleasure and a firm conviction that the diversion had been planned
for their special amusement.
But the Woggle-Bug had the strength of many men, and when he flopped
the big wings that were concealed by the tails of his coat, the
gentlemen resting upon him were scattered like autumn leaves in a gust
The Insect stood up, rearranged his dress, and looked about him.
Bridget had run away and gone home, and the others were still fighting
amongst themselves with exceeding cheerfulness. So the Woggle-Bug
selected a hat which fit him (his own having been crushed out of shape)
and walked sorrowfully back to his lodgings.
"Evidently that was not a lucky hat I wore to the ball," he reflected;
"but perhaps this one I now have will bring about a change in my
Bridget needed money; and as she had worn her brilliant costume once
and allowed her friends to see how becoming it was, she carried it the
next morning to a second-hand dealer and sold it for three dollars in
Scarcely had she left the shop when a lady of Swedish extraction--a
widow with four small children in her train--entered and asked to look
at a gown. The dealer showed her the one he had just bought from
Bridget, and its gay coloring so pleased the widow that she immediately
purchased it for $3.65.
"Ay tank ets a good deal money, by sure," she said to herself; "but das
leedle children mus' have new fadder to mak mind un tak care dere
mudder like, by yimminy! An' Ay tank no man look may way in das ole
dress I been wearing."
She took the gown and the four children to her home, where she lost no
time in trying on the costume, which fitted her as perfectly as a
flour-sack does a peck of potatoes.
"Das beau--tiful!" she exclaimed, in rapture, as she tried to see
herself in a cracked mirror. "Ay go das very afternoon to valk in da
park, for das man-folks go crazy-like ven he sees may fine frocks!"
Then she took her green parasol and a hand-bag stuffed with papers (to
make it look prosperous and aristocratic) and sallied forth to the
park, followed by all her interesting flock.
The men didn't fail to look at her, as you may guess; but none looked
with yearning until the Woggle-Bug, sauntering gloomily along a path,
happened to raise his eyes and see before him his heart's delight the
very identical Wagnerian plaids which had filled him with such
"Aha, my excruciatingly lovely creation!" he cried, running up and
kneeling before the widow; "I have found you once again. Do not, I beg
of you, treat me with coldness!"
For he had learned from experience not to unduly startle his charmer at
their first moment of meeting; so he made a firm attempt to control
himself, that the wearer of the checked gown might not scorn him.
The widow had no great affection for bugs, having wrestled with the
species for many years; but this one was such a big-bug and so
handsomely dressed that she saw no harm in encouraging him--especially
as the men she had sought to captivate were proving exceedingly shy.
"So you tank Ay I ban loavely?" she asked, with a coy glance at the
"I do! With all my heart I do!" protested the Woggle-Bug, placing all
four hands, one after another, over that beating organ.
"Das mak plenty trouble by you. I don'd could be yours!" sighed the
widow, indeed regretting her admirer was not an ordinary man.
"Why not?" asked the Woggle-Bug. "I have still the seven ninety-three;
and as that was the original price, and you are now slightly worn and
second-handed, I do not see why I need despair of calling you my own."
It is very queer, when we think of it, that the Woggle-Bug could not
separate the wearer of his lovely gown from the gown itself. Indeed, he
always made love directly to the costume that had so enchanted him,
without any regard whatsoever to the person inside it; and the only way
we can explain this remarkable fact is to recollect that the Woggle-Bug
was only a woggle-bug, and nothing more could be expected of him. The
widow did not, of course, understand his speech in the least; but she
gathered the fact that the Woggle-Bug had id money, so she sighed and
hinted that she was very hungry, and that there was a good short-order
restaurant just outside the park.
The Woggle-Bug became thoughtful at this. He hated to squander his
money, which he had come to regard a sort of purchase price with which
to secure his divinity. But neither could he allow those darling checks
to go hungry; so he said:
"If you will come with me to the restaurant, I will gladly supply you
The widow accepted the invitation at once, and the Woggle-Bug walked
proudly beside her, leading all of the four children at once with his
Two such gay costumes as those worn by the widow and the Woggle-Bug are
seldom found together, and the restaurant man was so impressed by the
sight that he demanded his money in advance.
The four children, jabbering delightedly in their broken English,
clambered upon four stools, and the widow sat upon another. And the
Woggle-Bug, who was not hungry (being engaged in feasting his eyes upon
the checks), laid down a silver dollar as a guarantee of good faith.
It was wonderful to see so much pie and cake and bread-and-butter and
pickles and dough-nuts and sandwiches disappear into the mouths of the
four innocents and their comparatively innocent mother. The Woggle-Bug
had to add another quarter to the vanished dollar before the score
was finally settled; and no sooner had the tribe trooped out
restaurant than they turned into the open portals of an Ice-Cream
Parlor, where they all attacked huge stacks of pale ice-cream and
consumed several plates of lady-fingers and cream-puffs.
Again the Woggle-Bug reluctantly abandoned a dollar; but the end was
not yet. The dear children wanted candy and nuts; and then they warned
pink lemonade; and then pop-corn and chewing-gum; and always the
Woggle-Bug, after a glance at the entrancing costume, found himself
unable to resist paying for the treat.
It was nearly evening when the widow pleaded fatigue and asked to be
taken home. For none of them was able to eat another morsel, and the
Woggle-Bug wearied her with his protestations of boundless admiration.
"Will you permit me to call upon you this evening?" asked the Insect,
pleadingly, as he bade the wearer of the gown good-bye on her
"Sure like!" she replied, not caring to dismiss him harshly; and the
happy Woggle-Bug went home with a light heart, murmuring to himself:
"At last the lovely plaids are to be my own! The new hat I found at the
ball has certainly brought me luck."
I am glad our friend the Woggle-Bug had those few happy moments, for he
was destined to endure severe disappointments in the near future.
That evening he carefully brushed his coat, put on a green satin
necktie and a purple embroidered waist-coat, and walked briskly towards
the house of the widow. But, alas! as he drew near to the dwelling a
most horrible stench greeted his nostrils, a sense of great depression
came over him, and upon pausing before the house his body began to
tremble and his eyes rolled wildly in their sockets.
For the wily widow, wishing to escape her admirer, had sprinkled the
door-step and the front walk with insect Exterminator, and not even the
Woggle-Bug's love for the enchanting checked gown could induce him to
linger longer in that vicinity.
Sick and discouraged, he returned home, where his first act was to
smash the luckless hat and replace it with another. But it was some
time before he recovered from the horrors of that near approach to
extermination, and he passed a very wakeful and unhappy night, indeed.
Meantime the widow had traded with a friend of hers (who had once been
a wash-lady for General Funston) the Wagnerian costume for a crazy
quilt and a corset that was nearly as good as new and a pair of silk
stockings that were not mates. It was a good bargain for both of them,
and the wash-lady being colored--that is, she had a deep mahogany
complexion--was delighted with her gorgeous gown and put it on the very
next morning when she went to deliver the wash to the brick-layer's
Surely it must have been Fate that directed the Woggle-Bug's steps;
for, as he walked disconsolately along, an intuition caused him to
raise his eyes, and he saw just ahead of him his affinity--carrying a
"Stop!" he called our, anxiously; "stop, my fair Grenadine, I implore
The colored lady cast one glance behind her and imagined that Satan had
at last arrived to claim her. For she had never before seen the
Woggle-Bug, and was horrified by his sudden and unusual appearance.
"Go 'way, Mars' Debbil! Go 'way an' lemme 'lone!" she screeched, and
the next minute she dropped her empty basket and sped up the street
with a swiftness that only fear could have lent her flat-bottomed feet.
Nevertheless, the Woggle-Bug might have overtaken her had he not
stepped into the clothes-basket and fallen headlong, becoming so
tangled up in the thing that he rolled over and over several times
before he could free himself. Then, when he had picked up his hat,
which was utterly ruined, and found his cane, which had flown across
the street, his mahogany charmer in the Wagnerian Plaids had
disappeared from view.
With a sigh at his latest misfortune he returned home for another hat,
and the agitated wash-lady, imagining that the devil had doubtless been
lured by her beautiful gown, made haste to sell it to a Chinaman who
lived next door.
Its bright colors pleased the Chink, who ripped it up and made it over
into a Chinese robe, with flowing draperies falling to his heels. He
dressed himself in his new costume and, being proud of possessing such
finery, sat down on a bench outside his door so that everyone passing
by could see how magnificent he looked.
It was here the wandering Woggle-Bug espied him; and, recognizing at
once the pattern and colors of his infatuating idol, he ran up and sat
beside the Chinaman, saying in agitated but educated tones:
"Oh my prismatic personification of gigantic gorgeousness!--again I
have found you!"
"Sure tling," said the Chink with composure.
"Be mine! Only be mine!" continued the enraptured Woggle-Bug.
The Chinaman did not quite understand.
"Two dlolla a day," he answered, cautiously.
"Oh, joy," exclaimed the insect in delight; "I can then own you for a
day and a half--for I have three dollars left. May I feel your
exquisite texture, my dearest Fabric?"
"No flabic. No feelee. You too flesh. I man Chinaman!" returned the
"Never mind that! 'Tis your beautiful garment I love. Every check in
that entrancing dress is a joy and a delight to my heart!"
While the Woggle-Bug thus raved, the Chinaman's wife (who was Mattie De
Forest before she married him) heard the conversation, and decided this
love affair had gone far enough. So she suddenly appeared with a
broomstick, and with it began pounding the Woggle-Bug as fiercely as
possible--and Mattie was no weakling, I assure you.
The first blow knocked the Insect's hat so far over his eyes that he
was blinded; but, resolving not to be again cheated out of his darling,
he grasped firmly hold of the Wagnerian plaids with all four hands, and
tore a goodly portion of it from the frightened Celestial's body.
Next moment he was dashing down the street, with the precious cloth
tucked securely underneath an arm, and Mattie, being in slight
dishabile, did not think best to follow him.
The triumphant joy of the Woggle-Bug can well be imagined. No more need
he chase the fleeting vision of his love--no more submit to countless
disappointments in his efforts to approach the object of his affection.
The gorgeous plaids were now his own (or a large part of them, anyway),
and upon reaching the quiet room wherein he lodged he gloated long and
happily over its vivid coloring and violent contrasts of its glowing
hues. To the eyes of the Woggle-Bug nothing could be more beautiful,
and he positively regretted the necessity of ever turning his gaze from
this bewitching treasure.
That he might never in the future be separated from the checks, he
folded them, with many loving caresses, into compact form, and wrapped
them in a sheet of stout paper tied with cotton cord that had a
love-knot at the end. Wherever he went, thereafter, he carried the
parcel underneath his left upper arm, pressed as closely to his heart
as possible. And this sense of possession was so delightful that our
Woggle-Bug was happy as the day is long.
In the evening his fortunes changed with cruel abruptness.
He walked out to take the air, and noticing a crowd people standing in
an open space and surrounding a huge brown object, our Woggle-Bug
stopped to learn what the excitement was about.
Pushing his way through the crowd, and hugging his precious parcel, he
soon reached the inner circle of spectators and found they had
assembled to watch a balloon ascension. The Professor who was to go up
with the balloon had not yet arrived; but the balloon itself was fully
inflated and tugging hard at the rope that held it, as if anxious to
escape the blended breaths of the people that crowded around. Just
below the balloon was a small basket, attached to the netting of the
gas-bag, and the Woggle-Bug was bending over the edge of this, to see
what it contained, when a warning cry from the crowd caused him to
pause and glance over his shoulder.
Great horrors and crumpled creeps! Springing toward him, with a scowl
on his face and a long knife with a zig-zag blade in his uplifted hand,
was that very Chinaman from whose body he had torn the Wagnerian
The plundered Celestial was evidently vindictive, and intended to push
the wicked knife into the Woggle-Bug's body.
Our hero was a brave bug, as can easily be proved; but he did not wait
for the knife to arrive at the broad of his back. Instead, he gave a
yell (to show he was not afraid) and leaped nimbly into the basket of
the balloon. The descending knife, missing its intended victim, fell
upon the rope and severed it, and instantly the great balloon from the
crowd and soared majestically toward the heavens.
The Woggle-Bug had escaped the Chinaman, but he didn't know whether to
be glad or not.
For the balloon was earning him into the clouds, and he had no idea how
to manage it, or to make it descend to earth again. When he peered over
the edge of the basket he could hear the faint murmur of the crowd, and
dimly see the enraged Professor (who had come too late) pounding the
Chinaman, while the Chinaman tried to dissect the Professor with his
Then all was blotted out; clouds rolled about him; night fell. The man
in the moon laughed at him; the stars winked at each other as if
delighted at the Woggle-Bug's plight, and a witch riding by on her
broomstick yelled at him to keep on the right side of the road, and not
run her down.
But the Woggle-Bug, squatted in the bottom of the basket and hugging
his precious parcel to his bosom, paid no attention to anything but his
He had often ridden in the Gump; but never had he been so high as this,
and the distance to the ground made him nervous.
When morning came he saw a strange country far beneath him, and longed
to tread the earth again.
Now all woggle-bugs are born with wings, and our highly-magnified one
had a beautiful, broad pair of floppers concealed beneath ample
coat-tails. But long ago he had learned that his wings were not strong
enough to lift his big body from the ground, so he had never tried to
fly with them.
Here, however, was an occasion when he might put these wings to good
use, for if he spread them in the air and then leaped over the side of
the basket they would act in the same way a parachute does, and bear
him gently to the ground.
No sooner did this thought occur to him than he put it into practice.
Disentangling his wings from his coat-tails, he spread them as wide as
possible and then jumped from the car of the balloon.
Down, down the Woggle-Bug sank; but so slowly that there was no danger
in the flight. He began to see the earth again, lying beneath him like
a sun-kissed panorama of mud and frog-ponds and rocks and brushwood.
There were few trees, yet it was our insect's fate to drop directly
above what trees there were, so that presently he came ker-plunk into a
mass of tangled branches--and stuck there, with his legs dangling
helplessly between two limbs and his wings caught in the foliage at
Below was a group of Arab children, who at first started to run away.
But, seeing that the queer creature which had dropped from the skies
was caught fast in the tree, they stopped and began to throw stones and
clubs at it. One of the missiles struck the tree-limb at the right of
the Woggle-Bug and jarred him loose. The next instant he fluttered to
the ground, where his first act was to fold up his wings and tuck them
underneath his coat-tails again, and his next action was to assure
himself that the beloved plaids were still safe.
Then he looked for the Arab children; but they had scuttled away
towards a group of tents, and now several men with dark skins and gay
clothing came from the tents and ran towards the Woggle-Bug.
"Good morning," said our hero, removing his hat with a flourish and
"Meb-la-che-bah!" shouted the biggest Arab, and at once two others
wound coils of rope around the Woggle-Bug and tied the ends in hard
His hat was knocked off and trampled into the mud by the Shiek (who was
the big Arab), and the precious parcel was seized and ruthlessly
"Very good!" said the Shiek, eyeing the plaids with pleasure. "My
slaves shall make me a new waistcoat of this cloth."
"No! oh, no!" cried the agonized Insect; "it is taken from a person who
has had small-pox and yellow-fever and toothache and mumps--all at the
same time. Do not, I bet you, risk your valuable life by wearing that
"Bah!" said the Shiek, scornfully; "I have had all those diseases and
many more. I am immune. But now," he continued, "allow me to bid you
good-bye. I am sorry to be obliged to kill you, but such is our
This was bad news for the Woggle-Bug; but he did not despair.
"Are you not afraid to kill me?" he asked, as if surprised.
"Why should I be afraid?" demanded the Shiek.
"Because it is well-known that to kill a woggle-bug brings bad luck to
The Shiek hesitated, for he was very superstitious.
"Are you a woggle-bug?" he asked.
"I am," replied the Insect, proudly. "And I may as well tell you that
the last person who killed one of my race had three unlucky days. The
first his suspenders broke (the Arab shuddered), the second day he
smashed a looking-glass (the Arab moaned), and the third day he was
chewed up by a crocodile."
Now the greatest aversion Arabs have is to be chewed by a crocodile,
because these people usually roam over the sands of the desert, where
to meet an amphibian is simply horrible; so at the Woggle-Bug's speech
they set up a howl of fear, and the Shiek shouted:
"Unbind him! Let not a hair of his head be injured!"
At once the knots in the ropes were untied, and the Woggle-Bug was
free. All the Arabs united to show him deference and every respectful
attention, and since his own hat had been destroyed they wound about
his head a picturesque turban of an exquisite soiled white color,
having stripes of red and yellow in it.
Then the Woggle-Bug was escorted to the tents, where he suddenly
remembered his precious plaids, and asked that the cloth he restored to
Thereupon the Shiek got up and made a long speech, in which he
described his grief at being obliged to refuse the request.
At the end of that time one of the women came op to them with a lovely
waistcoat which she had manufactured out of the Wagnerian plaids; and
when the Shiek saw it he immediately ordered all the tom-toms and
kettle-drums in the camp destroyed, as they were no longer necessary.
Then he put on the gorgeous vestment, and turned a deaf ear to the
Woggle-Bug's agonized wails.
But there were some scraps of cloth left, and to show that he was
liberal and good-natured, the Shiek ordered these manufactured into a
handsome necktie, which he presented Woggle-Bug in another long speech.
Our hero, realizing a larger part of his darling was lost to him,
decided to be content with the smaller share; so he put on the necktie,
and felt really proud of its brilliance and aggressive elegance.
Then, bidding the Arabs farewell, he strode across the desert until he
reached the borders of a more fertile and favored country.
Indeed, he found before him a cool and enticing jungle, which at first
seemed deserted. But while he stared about him a sound fell upon his
ear, and he saw approaching a young lady Chimpanzee. She was evidently
a personage of some importance, for her hair was neatly banged just
over her eyes, and she wore a clean white pinafore with bows of pink
ribbon at the shoulders.
"Good morning, Mr. Beetle," said she, with merry laughter.
"Do not, I beg of you, call me a beetle," exclaimed our hero, rather
peevishly; "for I am actually a Woggle-Bug, and Highly-Magnified at
"What's in a name?" laughed the gay damsel. "Come, let me introduce you
to our jungle, where strangers of good breeding are always welcome."
"As for breeding," said the Woggle-Bug, "my father, although of
ordinary size, was a famous Bug-Wizard in his day, and claimed descent
from the original protoplasm which constituted the nucleus of the
present planetary satellite upon which we exist."
"That's all right," returned Miss Chim. "Tell that to our king, and
he'll decorate you with the medal of the Omnipotent Order of Onerous
Orthographers, Are you ready to meander?"
The Woggle-Bug did not like the flippant tone in which maiden spoke;
but he at once followed her.
Presently they came to a tall hedge surrounding the Inner Jungle, and
without this hedge stood a patrol of brown bears who wore red
soldier-caps and carried gold-plated muskets in their hands.
"We call this the bearier," said Miss Chim, pointing to the soldiers,
"because they oblige all strangers to paws."
"I should think it was a bearicade," remarked the Woggle-Bug.
But when they approached the gateway the officer in charge saluted
respectfully to Miss Chim, and permitted her to escort the Woggle-Bug
into the sacred precincts of the Inner Jungle.
Here his eyes were soon opened to their widest capacity in genuine
The Jungle was as clean and as well-regulated as any city of men the
Insect had ever visited. Just within the gate a sleek antelope was
running a pop-corn stand, and a little further on a screech-owl stood
upon a stump playing a violin, while across her breast was a sign
reading: "I am blind--at present."
As they walked up the street they came to a big grey monkey turning a
hand-organ, and attached to a cord was a little nigger-boy whom the
monkey sent into the crowd of animals, standing by to gather up the
pennies, pulling him back every now and then by means of the cord.
"There's a curious animal for you," said Miss Chim, pointing to the
boy. "Those horrid things they call men, whether black or white, seem
to me the lowest of all created beasts."
"I have seen them in a highly civilized state," replied the Woggle-Bug,
"and they're really further advanced than you might suppose."
But Miss Chim gave a scornful laugh, and pulled him away to where a
hippopotamus sat under the shade of a big tree, mopping his brow with a
red handkerchief--for the weather was somewhat sultry. Before the hip
was a table covered with a blue cloth, and upon the cloth was
embroidered the words: "Professor Hipmus, Fortune Teller."
"Want your fortune told?" asked Miss Chim.
"I don't mind," replied the Woggle-Bug.
"I'll read your hand," said the Professor, with a yawn that startled
the insect. "To my notion palmistry is the best means of finding out
what nobody knows or cares to know."
He took the upper-right hand of the Woggle-Bug, and after adjusting his
spectacles bent over it with an air of great wisdom.
"You have been in love," announced the Professor; "but you got it in
"True!" murmured the astonished Insect, putting up his left lower hand
to feel of the beloved necktie.
"You think you have won," continued the Hip; "but there are others who
have 1, 2. You have many heart throbs before you, during your future
life. Afterward I see no heart throbs whatever. Forty cents, please."
"Isn't he just wonderful?" asked Miss Chim, with enthusiasm. "He's the
greatest fortune teller in the jungle."
"On account of his size, I suppose," returned the Woggle-Bug, as they
Soon they came to the Royal Palace, which was a beautiful bower formed
of vines upon which grew many brilliant-hued forest flowers. The
entrance was guarded by a Zebra, who barred admission until Miss Chim
whispered the password in his ear. Then he permitted them to enter, and
the Chimpanzee immediately ushered the Woggle-Bug into the presence of
This monarch lay coiled upon a purple silk cushion, half asleep and yet
wakeful enough to be smoking a big cigar. Beside him crouched two
prairie-dogs who were combing his hair very carefully, while a red
squirrel perched near his head and fanned him with her bushy tail.
"Dear me, what have we here?" exclaimed the King of the Jungle, in a
querulous tone, "Is it an over-grown pinch-bug, or is it a
"I have the honor to be a Woggle-Bug, your Majesty!" replied our hero,
"Sav, cut out that Majesty," snapped the King, with a scowl. "If you
can find anything majestic about me, I'd like to know what it is."
"Don't treat him with any respect," whispered Miss Chim to the Insect,
"or you'll get him riled. Sneer at him, and slap his face if you get a
The Woggle-Bug took the hint.
"Really," he told the King. "I have never seen a more despicable
creature than you. The admirable perspicacity inherent in your tribe
seems to have deteriorated in you to a hyperbolated insousancy." Then
he reached out his arms and slapped the king four times, twice on one
side of his face and twice on the other.
"Thanks, my dear June-Bug," said the monarch; "I now recognize you to
be a person of some importance."
"Sire, I am a Woggle-Bug, highly magnified and thoroughly educated. It
is no exaggeration to say I am the greatest Woggle-Bug on earth."
"I fully believe it, so pray do not play any more foursomes on my jaw.
I am sufficiently humiliated at this moment to recognize you as a
Sullivanthauros, should you claim to be a member of that extinct race."
Then two little weasels--a boy weasel and a girl weasel--came into the
bower and threw their school-books at the squirrel so cleverly that one
hit the King upon the nose and smashed his cigar and the other caught
him fairly in the pit of his stomach.
At first the monarch howled a bit; then he wiped the tears from his
face and said:
"Ah, what delightful children I have! What do you wish, my darlings?"
"I want a cent for chewing gum," said the Girl Weasel.
"Get it from the Guinea-Pig; you have my assent. And what does my dear
"Pop," went the Weasel, "our billy-goat has swallowed the hare you gave
me to play with."
"Dear me," sighed the King, "how often I find a hair in the butter!
Whenever I reign people carry umbrellas; and my son, although quite
polished, indulges only in monkey-shines! Uneasy lies the head that
wears a crown! but if one is scalped, the loss of the crown renders the
head still more uneasy."
"Couldn't they find a better king than you?" enquired the Woggle-Bug,
curiously, as the children left the bower.
"Yes; but no worse," answered the Weasel; "and here in the jungle
honors are conferred only upon the unworthy. For if a truly great
animal is honored he gets a swelled head, and that renders him
unbearable. They now regard the King of the Jungle with contempt, and
that makes all my subjects self-respecting."
"There is wisdom in that," declared the Woggle-Bug, approvingly; "a
single glance at you makes me content with being so excellent a bug."
"True," murmured the King, yawning. "But you tire me, good stranger.
Miss Chim, will you kindly get the gasoline can? It's high time to
eradicate this insect."
"With pleasure," said Miss Chim, moving away with a smile.
But the Woggle-Bug did not linger to be eradicated. With one wild bound
he cleared the door of the palace and sprinted up the entrance of the
Jungle. The bear soldiers saw him running away, and took careful aim
and fired. But the gold-plated muskets would not shoot straight, and
now the Woggle-Bug was far distant, and still running with all his
Nor did he pause until he had emerged from the forest and crossed the
plains, and reached at last the city from whence he had escaped in the
balloon. And, once again in his old lodgings, he looked at himself in
the mirror and said:
"After all, this necktie is my love--and my love is now mine
forevermore! Why should I not be happy and content?"