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|The Marvelous Land of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
A Nickel-Plated Emperor
|Page 3 of 4||
The boy's intent gaze caused the Tin Woodman to remember that he was not in the most presentable condition, so he begged his friends to excuse him while he retired to his private apartment and allowed his servants to polish him. This was accomplished in a short time, and when the emperor returned his nickel-plated body shone so magnificently that the Scarecrow heartily congratulated him on his improved appearance.
"That nickel-plate was, I confess, a happy thought," said Nick; "and it was the more necessary because I had become somewhat scratched during my adventurous experiences. You will observe this engraved star upon my left breast. It not only indicates where my excellent heart lies, but covers very neatly the patch made by the Wonderful Wizard when he placed that valued organ in my breast with his own skillful hands."
"Is your heart, then, a hand-organ?" asked the Pumpkinhead, curiously.
"By no means," responded the emperor, with dignity. "It is, I am convinced, a strictly orthodox heart, although somewhat larger and warmer than most people possess."
Then he turned to the Scarecrow and asked:
"Are your subjects happy and contented, my dear friend?"
"I cannot, say" was the reply. "for the girls of Oz have risen in revolt and driven me out of the emerald City."
"Great Goodness!" cried the Tin Woodman, "What a calamity! They surely do not complain of your wise and gracious rule?"
"No; but they say it is a poor rule that don't work both ways," answered the Scarecrow; "and these females are also of the opinion that men have ruled the land long enough. So they have captured my city, robbed the treasury of all its jewels, and are running things to suit themselves."
"Dear me! What an extraordinary idea!" cried the Emperor, who was both shocked and surprised.
"And I heard some of them say," said Tip, "that they intend to march here and capture the castle and city of the Tin Woodman."
"Ah! we must not give them time to do that," said the Emperor, quickly; "we will go at once and recapture the Emerald City and place the Scarecrow again upon his throne."
"I was sure you would help me," remarked the Scarecrow in a pleased voice. "How large an army can you assemble?"
"We do not need an army," replied the Woodman. "We four, with the aid of my gleaming axe, are enough to strike terror into the hearts of the rebels."
"We five," corrected the Pumpkinhead.
"Five?" repeated the Tin Woodman.
"Yes; the Saw-Horse is brave and fearless," answered Jack, forgetting his recent quarrel with the quadruped.
The Tin Woodman looked around him in a puzzled way, for the Saw-Horse had until now remained quietly standing in a corner, where the Emperor had not noticed him. Tip immediately called the odd-looking creature to them, and it approached so awkwardly that it nearly upset the beautiful center-table and the engraved oil-can.
"I begin to think," remarked the Tin Woodman as he looked earnestly at the Saw-Horse, "that wonders will never cease! How came this creature alive?"
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|The Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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