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|The Tin Woodman of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
|Page 1 of 3||
The Land of the Munchkins is full of surprises, as our travelers had already learned, and although Mount Munch was constantly growing larger as they advanced toward it, they knew it was still a long way off and were not certain, by any means, that they had escaped all danger or encountered their last adventure.
The plain was broad, and as far as the eye could see, there seemed to be a level stretch of country between them and the mountain, but toward evening they came upon a hollow, in which stood a tiny blue Munchkin dwelling with a garden around it and fields of grain filling in all the rest of the hollow.
They did not discover this place until they came close to the edge of it, and they were astonished at the sight that greeted them because they had imagined that this part of the plain had no inhabitants.
"It's a very small house," Woot declared. "I wonder who lives there?"
"The way to find out is to knock on the door and ask," replied the Tin Woodman. "Perhaps it is the home of Nimmie Amee."
"Is she a dwarf?" asked the boy.
"No, indeed; Nimmie Amee is a full sized woman."
"Then I'm sure she couldn't live in that little house," said Woot.
"Let's go down," suggested the Scarecrow. "I'm almost sure I can see a straw-stack in the back yard."
They descended the hollow, which was rather steep at the sides, and soon came to the house, which was indeed rather small. Woot knocked upon a door that was not much higher than his waist, but got no reply. He knocked again, but not a sound was heard.
"Smoke is coming out of the chimney," announced Polychrome, who was dancing lightly through the garden, where cabbages and beets and turnips and the like were growing finely
"Then someone surely lives here," said Woot, and knocked again.
Now a window at the side of the house opened and a queer head appeared. It was white and hairy and had a long snout and little round eyes. The ears were hidden by a blue sunbonnet tied under the chin.
"Oh; it's a pig!" exclaimed Woot.
"Pardon me; I am Mrs. Squealina Swyne, wife of Professor Grunter Swyne, and this is our home," said the one in the window. "What do you want?"
"What sort of a Professor is your husband?" inquired the Tin Woodman curiously.
"He is Professor of Cabbage Culture and Corn Perfection. He is very famous in his own family, and would be the wonder of the world if he went abroad," said Mrs. Swyne in a voice that was half proud and half irritable. "I must also inform you intruders that the Professor is a dangerous individual, for he files his teeth every morning until they are sharp as needles. If you are butchers, you'd better run away and avoid trouble."
"We are not butchers," the Tin Woodman assured her.
"Then what are you doing with that axe? And why has the other tin man a sword?"
"They are the only weapons we have to defend our friends from their enemies," explained the Emperor of the Winkies, and Woot added:
"Do not be afraid of us, Mrs. Swyne, for we are harmless travelers. The tin men and the Scarecrow never eat anything and Polychrome feasts only on dewdrops. As for me, I'm rather hungry, but there is plenty of food in your garden to satisfy me."
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|The Tin Woodman of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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