Questions for today –
In the book, shoes are silver, in the movie they are “ruby” slippers. Do I want to keep them silver? Something different? (I’m sure they made them ruby in the movie to show off the technicolor technology.).
At the corner of the house, where the remains of the witch had lain, the grass lay blackened and dead. Where there had been black liquid along the base of the house, the wood appeared burned and was beginning to crumble. The form of her legs were imprinted into the grass, but the legs themselves were gone. There laid her shoes, where the witch’s feet had once been, reflecting the green of the grass and the shining blue of the sky.
“Where did she go?” whispered Dorothy.
“She was so old, she was really nothing but dust. Now that her spirit is gone, there is nothing left to hold her together. She burned her mark on the land. However, she has left you her shoes.”
“Oh no!” proclaimed Dorothy. “I musn’t.”
Two munchkins, even smaller than the others, with rosy cheeks and unlined faces, ran to the shoes and picked them up, one each, bringing them to Dorothy.
“Please take them,” the first said. She stood only to Dorothy’s waist and had long red braided hair filled with red roses.
“Please! She was very proud of her shoes and never took them off!” said the other, her hair was yellow like hay and was woven with grass.
From somewhere in the crowd, another voice spoke up, this one low and gravely. “There is magic in the shoes.”
And another voice, a woman’s, “But we don’t know how they work.”
Dorothy realized that the shoes were silver, like the silverware at their dinner table. Only they shimmered with light and Dorothy could almost see her own reflection in them. They were not hard though, not solid like a fork or a spoon. Dorothy reached out to them and felt that they were soft to her touch, almost like her feather pillow. She did not feel she could say no to these children, if that was what they were. She put Toto down, and took the shoes.
“Thank you,” she said to the two little girls, then raising her eyes, she looked at all the little people hidden in and around the woman’s skirts. “Thank you all. Could any of you, please, show me how to get home? My uncle Henry and Auntie Em must be very worried about me. And I am scared for them, I am so afraid that the tornado hurt them.” As she said the words, she felt her heart get heavy and a knot so large it filled her throat. Her eyes filled with tears and she felt her jaw begin to tremble.
The little people looked at her, her sadness seemed to reflect on their faces. The two little Munchkin girls had tears reflecting in their eyes. When she looked at the good witch, her face had become quite serious.
A young man’s voice came from the crowd, “In the East, it is said that there are great mountains of fire that flow like rivers. There are beasts that crawl on all fours with the sharpest of teeth. No one who has gone there has ever returned.”
Another voice from the crowd, this one shaking and frail said, “And to the south live the Quadlings. Beyond them is a line of water that no one can pass. There is nothing beyond the water, for it goes on forever. I saw it once, when I was a child. You can not go that way.”
This time, the girl with the red hair said, “You can not go to the West, that is where the wicked Witch lives. She rules the Winkies. The land is dry there and water is very hard to find. You will die with nothing to drink. If she finds you, she will control you and make you her slave. Please do not go to the West.” The girls eyes were wide and scared.
Then the good witch spoke, “And my home is to the North at the edge of sharp cliffs and deep ravines surrounded by misty air. Beyond my castle are only the great birds, which fly on the currents. There are none that can cross the great chasms. I have ridden on their back, but the sky does not end.”
The tears finally fell from Dorothy’s eyes. Toto whined at her feet, looking up at her. “I want to go home.” She began to hiccup, trying to hold back her sobs.
Locasta reached out to touch Dorothy’s face, taking one of her tears onto the tip of her finger. She brought the tear close to her own face, examining it, turning it to the right and to the left. Gently she blew on the tear, Dorothy’s hiccups slowed and were replaced with growing wonder. The tear that the woman had blown on became wisps of steam, forming a shape in the air between them. The Munchkins were silent as they watched what took form before them. Dorothy saw herself, she stood on a yellow brick road and in the distance was a great city.
“Where is that?” Asked Dorothy.
“That is the Emerald City. You are to go there. I do not know that they will allow you to enter, but this vision tells me it is the direction you are to take. You must ask to speak to Oz, perhaps he will help you. Perhaps not.
“Is he kind?” Asked Dorothy.
“He is a wizard, I do not know if he is kind. But he is powerful.”
“Can you show me how to get there?”
“I can show you the path to take, but I can not go with you.”
“Please, I’m afraid,” said Dorothy.
“I will give you a kiss of protection,” said the witch. “While you will often be scared, for the journey will be long and treacherous, the kiss will mark you as one of my children. Other’s will not harm you when they see my kiss upon your brow.”
Locasta came forward, her kiss felt like a gentle breeze across Dorothy’s forehead. The kiss left a shimmer of light.
“When you are ready, my children will walk you to a road paved in yellow bricks of gold. The road will guide your way. When you arrive at the gates of the city, you must tell them that Locasta, good witch of the north, has demanded that they allow you entry. They will see my mark upon your forehead and know that you are telling the truth. If they allow you entry, and Oz agrees to see you, you must not act afraid. Tell him that you killed the witch of the east. Tell him that you wish to go home.”
“What if refuses to help me?”
Locasta looked at her for a moment, and again Dorothy saw her age shadowed beneath the smooth translucent glamor. “Then you will have a choice to make. You can stay in the Emerald City, for it is very beautiful. You can make the long journey along the yellow brick road and come and live in your home with the Munchkins. I believe you will come to love them in time, and I believe that they already love you. Or, you may come and stay with me in the North.”
“But what about Uncle Henry and Aunt Em?”
“Follow the path to the Emerald City, Dorothy. Ask Oz for help.” Locasta began to back away, her children moving with her. They disappeared into the surrounding flowers and trees, as if they had never been. Locasta’s dress shimmered as she moved towards the creek, and Dorothy found it difficult to see her as she moved through the trees, until finally Dorothy could not see her at all. Could not see any of them. She looked at the silver shoes in her hand and went back into her home to prepare for her journey.
Dorothy set the silver shoes onto the table, sinking into a chair next to them. She stared at them for a moment and then heard her tummy growl. How many hours, or days, had it been since they had last eaten? She went to the cupboard and found a bit of stale bread. There was a small glass of honey left over from the end of last summer, when Uncle Henry had collected it. She spread the honey on the dry bread, but realizing how hard it had become, soon licked it off and gave the last bit to Toto. He lay on the floor, gnawing it as best as he could.
A knock came on the door, and when she went to answer, found a bowl of beautiful fruit and a fresh loaf of bread, still hot. Next to the bread sat a crock of butter and a large piece of cheese.
“Thank you,” she called to the little people. In response, she heard what sounded like a song on the breeze.
Dorothy took an empty pail, Toto at her side, and walked to the river, collecting water to drink. It was far clearer than anything she had ever seen from the well on the farm. She watched little fish dart about under the surface with stones that shimmered like precious crystals.
She and Toto returned to the house and feasted until their stomachs were quite full. Dorothy looked around the only home she had ever known. She was afraid to leave. She was afraid to stay. And so she packed the food that was left into a dinner pail and wrapped it with a gingham cloth. She went to the creek and washed her face and hands in the cold fresh water. When she returned, she brushed and braided her hair. She had one other dress, washed thin, but pretty and clean, hanging on the hook above her bed. She changed into the clean dress, a dress of blue and white gingham that Auntie Em had made for her. Over the top, she put on a little white apron with pockets and a matching bonnet over her hair.
Then she looked down at her feet. Bare and dirty, covered in calluses. They were the feet of a farm girl who only wore shoes when the weather was cold. She was embarrassed to wash them in the clear creek. There was a bit of water left in the pail, so she took her old dirty dress and began to scrub away the grim. When her feet were clean, she sat back at the table and stared at the shoes.
“Do you think they will fit me, Toto?”
Toto gave a single bark.
She picked the right shoes, twisting and turning it. It reflected the darkness of the room. Then she placed it on her feet and was surprised that it did, indeed, fit. She put on the other shoe. It was if someone had made them just for her. Standing in them, they were soft and comfortable but also felt sturdy. She picked up the pail of food and started for the door.
Taking a deep breath, she said, “Well, Toto, it seems that our journey is to begin. You are the best partner I could ask for.”
Toto ran to the door and barked, his tail wagging excitedly.
Dorothy took a key from the cupboard and slipped it into the apron pocket.
When she opened the door, the two little Munchkin girls were standing on the stoop. They waited for her as she turned, locking the door, and placing the key back into her pocket. The red haired girl took the pail from Dorothy, and then took Dorothy’s hand in her own. The blonde haired girl took her other hand and they led her away, down a path, through the flowers and trees, over a little bridge at the creek, and into a field of tall yellow grasses.