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The Magic Pen
At the end of a shady, tree-lined lane, behind a white picket fence, stood a quaint little house built of red bricks. Bright green shutters framed the windows, the front door was made of highly polished mahogany, and in the center of the door was a shiny brass door knocker made in the shape of a plump goose. Here lived old Father Goose, a kindly man who spent most of his time writing nursery rhymes to please children large and small.
Inside the house, Father Goose was seated in a big comfortable chair reading aloud from a book with a green cover. Sitting on a footstool next to the chair was a large white goose, his head cocked at an angle so better to hear the story being read.
"The end," said Father Goose, closing the book. "Did you like the story, Bilkins?"
"I always like it when you read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to me," replied the goose. "Will you read it to me again?"
Father Goose smiled. He was a jolly little man with a bald head and rosy cheeks. He wore a skyblue coat over a sunny yellow vest, and the pockets of both were stuffed with countless pieces of paper upon which he had jotted down his many nursery rhymes.
"Maybe tomorrow," he said, rising from the comfortable chair. "Right now I'm going to fix myself a cup of tea."
As the jolly little man headed for the kitchen, the goose called after him, "I wish we could go to the Land of Oz and have adventures just like Dorothy and Toto."
"No time for adventures today, I've got nursery rhymes to write," replied Father Goose, disappearing into the kitchen. "In fact, I just finished one for the village toymaker only this morning. Would you liketo hear it?"
"Sure," mumbled Bilkins, not really paying much attention. His feathered head was filled with thoughts of the far-off Land of Oz.
From within the kitchen Father Goose recited his newest rhyme, and this is how it went:
"Tap the lid once or twice,
You'll find there are no locks.
Turn the handle ever so nice,
And out pops Jack-in-the-box.
"I think it should help the toymaker sell more Jack-in-the-boxes this holiday season."
Bilkins didn't reply; instead he was looking down at the book with the green cover. "The Land of Oz would be a great place to visit," he sighed. "But how could we ever get there from here?"
Then he remembered the Magic Pen.
On the mantle of the fireplace there was a glass case, inside of which was kept the Magic Pen. It was a long stiff feather, the color of silver, and trimmed at the tip with yellow-gold. Now the pen had a wondrous charm connected to it; for whatever was written down with this remarkable implement would instantly happen' in real liteno matter how unusual or bizarrebut only if it were written in rhyme.
Long ago a kindly fairy had presented Father Goose with the Magic Pen as a reward for all the pleasure his nursery rhymes had given to others. But because of its unique ability, the jolly little man rarely used it, preferring to keep the pen safe within the glass case where it would inspire him to create even better verses.
"Father Goose won't mind if I use his Magic Pen," Bilkins thought to himself as he waddled over to the fireplace. "Well, he won't mind too much. Besides, he'll thank me when he sees how wonderful Oz really is."
With a flap of his wings, Bilkins flew up onto the mantle.
"What are you doing out there?" Father Goose called from the kitchen.
"Nothing," Bilkins replied, as he lifted the lid off the glass case with one of his wings.
"I hope you're not getting into any mischief."
The goose couldn't answer, since he was now holding the Magic Pen tightly in his long beak. With another flap of his wings he flew over to a rolltop desk, where he sat down in front of a pad of blank notepaper. After thinking for a moment or two, he lowered his white head toward the pad, and still holding the pen securely in his beak, he began to write the following:
On a cyclone through the sky,
Travel Father Goose and I.
To the Land of Oz we'll go,
Just like Dorothy and Toto.
Who will we meet? Who will we know?
The Lion, Tin Woodman and Scarecrow.
And maybe just for a switch,
I'll get to melt the wicked witch.
No sooner had Bilkins finished writing these words, than he heard a low whirling sound. He looked up, and there in the middle of the room was a tiny cyclone. Of course a cyclone is usually formed when a hot wind and a cold wind meet on the same spot, at which point a huge funnelshaped cloud forms. However, this cyclone wasn't made by passing air currents; instead it was brought into existence with a few strokes of the Magic Pen. And though it wasn't anywhere near the size of a normal cyclone being only a few feet high it still looked just as dangerous.
"What's all this racket?" shouted Father Goose, rushing back into the room. He' stopped short when he saw the miniature twister.
"How did this get in here?" he demanded. But when he saw the Magic Pen sticking out of Bilkins' beak he knew exactly -what had happened.
Before he could say another word the cyclone circled about the room, gobbling up the little man and the goose, then it flew out an open window. Once outside, the cyclone swiftly expanded to great size, lifting its unwilling passengers higher and higher into the sky.
Reaching over, Father Goose grabbed the Magic Pen out of Bilkins' mouth. "Mercy me!" he...