Introduction

           DorothylivedinthemidstofthegreatKansasprairies, withUncleHenry,whowasafarmer, andAuntEm,whowasthefarmer’swife. Theirhousewassmall,forthelumbertobuildithadtobecarriedbywagonmanymiles. Therewerefourwalls,afloorandaroof,whichmadeoneroom; andthisroomcontainedarustylookingcookstove,acupboardforthedishes,atable,threeorfourchairs,andthebeds. UncleHenryandAuntEmhadabigbedinonecorner, andDorothyalittlebedinanothercorner. Therewasnogarretatall,andnocellar exceptasmallholedugintheground,calledacyclonecellar, wherethefamilycouldgoincaseoneofthosegreatwhirlwindsarose, mightyenoughtocrushanybuildinginitspath. Itwasreachedbyatrapdoorinthemiddleofthefloor, fromwhichaladderleddownintothesmall,darkhole. 

           WhenDorothystoodinthedoorwayandlookedaround,shecouldseenothingbutthegreatgrayprairieoneveryside. Notatreenorahousebrokethebroadsweepofflatcountrythatreachedtotheedgeoftheskyinalldirections. Thesunhadbakedtheplowedlandintoagraymass,withlittlecracksrunningthroughit. Eventhegrasswasnotgreen,forthesunhadburnedthetopsofthelongbladesuntiltheywerethesamegraycolortobeseeneverywhere. Oncethehousehadbeenpainted, butthesunblisteredthepaintandtherainswasheditaway, andnowthehousewasasdullandgrayaseverythingelse. 

           WhenAuntEmcametheretoliveshewasayoung,prettywife. Thesunandwindhadchangedher,too. Theyhadtakenthesparklefromhereyesandleftthemasobergray;theyhadtakentheredfromhercheeksandlips, andtheyweregrayalso. 

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