This is a continuation of Chapter 3 in which Dorothy meets the Munchkins and the good Witch of the North. This is an ongoing NaNoWriMo Project, which you can read about here.
Questions I have before starting…
How do the Munchkins REALLY look? I don’t want the movie portrayal, and the book feels a bit like old Dutch paintings, but smaller. Plus, there are only 2 Munchkins in the book, standing with the good witch who doesn’t look much different from them. I want more and I want them to be different than we expect from the ingrained images of the film.
What do they wear? What about the good witch of the north? The book never gives her a name and the movie combines her with Glinda, who is actually the good witch of the South. How does Dorothy feel about accidentally killing someone? Would she want to wear these shoes?
If you are just catching up, I’ve included links to the previous chapters below.
Raw Writing – Day 4
Chapter 3 continued, in which Dorothy meets the Munchkins
Dorothy noticed movement around her, from behind the trees and within the flowers. Eyes, watching her; she stepped back into the darkness of the house. As she stepped back, they began to step forward, stepping out from where they had hidden naturally among the plants.
Dorothy had rarely seen other people, living isolated with Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, but occasionally they had visitors from neighbors who lived near them. Those were always adults, tall and strong like her uncle and aunt. And once, Uncle Henry had taken her to see kittens that had just been born at a nearby farm. That was the first time she had seen other children, the family having 3 smaller than her.
The people here were smaller still, but they did not look like the children. They looked like like little adults, like Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, but shrunken so that their heads would perhaps come to her chest. Like the plants they came out of, they had flowers and sticks in their hair. It appeared as if the plants grew there.
Their clothes mimicked the color of the grass and the trees and the creek so that even when she looked directly at them, she had to focus to keep them from disappearing into their surroundings. Some of them had skin smooth and young like the petals, but others were lined like the bark of the trees and still others seemed angular and hard like the stones of the creek.
“You can come out,” she heard a voice say. It sounded soft and airy and yet was strong and clear. She saw a woman, taller than the rest but not much taller than Dorothy herself. The woman was walking from the creek, past the trees, and towards her. She wore a gown of fabric that floated as she walked as if it were alive. It shimmered like the sun shining on the stream while taking on the light of whatever she passed. Her hair was long and gossamer white, rippling over the fabric of her dress as if it were a part of the breeze. She reminded Dorothy of the butterflies at the farm.
As the woman came closer, Dorothy could see deep lines set around her eyes and mouth, yet as the woman moved, the wrinkles would shimmer in and out of sight. The woman’s skin was like the fabric, translucent and changing. As she came closer, the little people also moved closer, coming in from all angles. Dorothy stepped further into the dark protection of the house.
The woman stopped a few feet in front of the house door. Looking around at the little people, she said, “She won’t hurt you.” The little people stepped closer still, cuddling in close to the woman and close to each other. They gathered around her, tucking themselves into her flowing skirts, the glimmer of their eyes making the fabric sparkle. It looked almost as if a garden of many colors had grown directly in front of her, extending from this woman.
The woman looked directly at Dorothy, hidden behind the doorframe. “Please come out. My children would like to thank you.” Her voice floated in the air, everywhere at once.
Dorothy took a step forward, and remembering Toto, looked to see him hiding behind her legs. She scooped him up into her arms and stepped just beyond her door, into the sunlight.
“Your children?” asked Dorothy, for there were many of these little people while some appeared young, others appeared lined and ancient.
“Oh yes,” said the woman and laughed lightly. Her laughter made the little people giggle which made Dorothy want to laugh herself. “While they are not born of me, I love them each as my own and I take care of them in whatever way that I can.”
Dorothy didn’t know what to say and so said nothing.
The woman watched her for a moment and then said, “You are welcome here, sweet enchantress. These people, my children, wish to thank you for setting them free.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you mean. Where am I?” asked Dorothy.
“Why, you are in the land of the Munchkin people. They are of the land and the land is of them.”
“I don’t know what you mean that I have set them free?”
There was a murmur that went through the little people, sounding to Dorothy like the wind through the grasses in Kansas. The little people were leaning and whispering into each other’s ears.
“Quiet now,” said the woman, and the people were quiet. “Sweet Enchantress, you have killed the woman that held my children in slavery.
Dorothy felt a sting of these words and immediately began to protest. “I haven’t killed anyone!”
“But you have,” the woman said gently. “Look!”
Dorothy followed the woman’s gaze to her left, and there at the far corner, trapped between her house and the ground were the remains of two legs, a dark liquid spreading along the edges of the old wood.
Dorothy felt a knot in her belly, the knot beginning to rise into her throat. She held it down and whispered, “I didn’t mean to.”
The woman laughed and Dorothy looked up sharply meeting her gaze. Dorothy had never seen eyes like hers, the colors seemed to shift and swirl. Dorothy felt like they were looking not only at her but inside of her.
“Perhaps not, but she is dead all the same. Do you not see her lovely shoes?”
Dorothy could see the shoes, but she was disgusted, and more deeply, she was ashamed. “I’m sorry,” she said, trying to control the shake within her voice. She wished to crawl back under the covers of the bed, but instead, she stood holding Toto, staring at the woman and her children.
“Why are you sorry?” asked the woman. “There is nothing to apologize for. She was wicked and kept my children under her spell. While she controlled them, there was nothing I could do. You have given them their lives again. They thank you. I thank you.”
“Who was she?” asked Dorothy.
“The wicked witch of the East. She ruled this land and all the creatures in it. But now that she is dead, they are set free. Are you here to rule this land?” asked the woman.
“No! Of course not! I’m only a child,” responded Dorothy, shocked.
“It is yours by right if you wish it.”
“I don’t wish it. If these are your children, perhaps you should rule them?”
“I do not rule the Munchkins, only look after them. My land is in the North. When you killed the wicked Witch of the East, they sent word and I came immediately.”
“I didn’t kill her!” Dorothy proclaimed, but then looked to her left and saw the feet and dropped her head. “I am very sorry to kill anyone, but I am glad your people are free. Why didn’t you set them free?”
“Oh, I am not as powerful as the evil witch of the East was. You must be a very powerful enchantress to have been able to kill her.”
“I didn’t mean to kill her!” responded Dorothy. There was silence between them for a moment. “I am not powerful, I am only a little girl.”
“Well, then you are even more powerful than I first believed, for you are a child enchantress.”
Dorothy felt confused, having never heard this word before. “What is an enchantress?” she asked.
“An enchantress is a lovely name for a witch.”
Dorothy felt afraid and took a step back. “My Auntie Em said that all witches come from the devil.”
“What is this devil you speak of?” asked the woman, truly curious. But in that, Dorothy didn’t know how to respond.
“Well,” and Dorothy thought for a moment. “My Auntie Em says that he brings wicked into the earth.”
“Perhaps we don’t have him here then,” said the woman, “for this is not Earth.”
“Aren’t all witches evil?”
“Are you evil?” responded the woman.
“No! I mean, I don’t think so. But I am not a witch.”
“Perhaps not, but I think you have far more power than you realize. Do you think that I am evil?”
Dorothy looked at the shining eyes of the people, the people of plants and trees, and nature itself. She looked at the woman, shimmering in and out of light, her voice like the air itself, her hair floating, alive in the breeze.
“No,” said Dorothy. “You seem good, and your people seem to love you.”
“Well, I am a witch. I am Locasta, the good witch of the North.”
Again, Dorothy felt afraid. “My Aunt Em told me that all witches are dead.”
“Who is this Aunt Em?”
“She’s like you, she’s the woman who takes care of me.” Dorthy felt her eyes begin to burn and fought to hold back her tears.
“You must tell your Aunt Em that not all witches are dead and that not all witches are evil. Here in Oz, we have four witches. Well, three now.” And again the woman laughed. “Myself, the good witch of the North. In the South is another good witch, Glinda, who perhaps you will someday meet. To the East was an evil witch, but as you have killed her, there is but one evil witch left. She is the wicked witch of the West. Her name is Mombi. You will also perhaps meet her, but for your heart, I hope it is never so.”
“Is she very evil then?” asked Dorothy.
“She is cruel and full of hurt and wishes only for power. She loves nothing and nothing loves her. And now there is you, and it seems to me that you are an enchantress.”
“I’m not an enchantress, just a child.”
“We shall see, child. Do you have a name?”
“ My name is Dorothy.”
“Well Dorothy, I think that Oz should like to meet you and decide for himself.”
“Who is Oz?”
“He is a great Wizard.” The Munchkins again began to speak among themselves. “Hush children,” demanded the woman and they were quiet. Her voice lowered, “He is all great and all-powerful. He is more powerful than all of the witches combined, the greatest of them all. He lives in the Emerald City, the richest of our lands.”
As she said this, Dorothy noticed one of the smallest Munchkins begin to tug on the woman’s dress.
“What is it child?” she said and bent down for the little one to whisper in her ear. The little one looked to the corner of the house where the wicked witch lay dead. The woman turned to look at herself and then began to laugh. The laugh was not light and gentle this time, but full of life. “Ah! Yes! I see.”
The woman stood and looked at Dorothy. “Look at what you have done!”
“I haven’t done anything!”
Dorothy didn’t want to feel the horror that those crushed and broken legs brought, but she turned her head and was surprised at what she saw.
Now that I am moving into the fantasy part of Oz, I’m needing less research, but a few things still come up.