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|The Tin Woodman of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Invisible Country
|Page 6 of 7||
"You're not to eat my head, you know," returned the Scarecrow hastily. "My head isn't stuffed with straw and I cannot part with it. When one loses his head he loses his brains."
"Very well, then; you may keep your head," said the beast.
The Scarecrow's companions thanked him warmly for his loyal sacrifice to their mutual good, and then he laid down and permitted them to pull the straw from his body. As fast as they did this, the Hip-po-gy-raf ate up the straw, and when all was consumed Polychrome made a neat bundle of the clothes and boots and gloves and hat and said she would carry them, while Woot tucked the Scarecrow's head under his arm and promised to guard its safety.
"Now, then," said the Tin Woodman, "keep your promise, Beast, and lift us over the ditch."
"M-m-m-mum, but that was a fine dinner!" said the Hip-po, smacking his thick lips in satisfaction, "and I'm as good as my word. Sit on my head, one at a time, and I'll land you safely on the other side."
He approached close to the edge of the ditch and squatted down. Polychrome climbed over his big body and sat herself lightly upon the flat head, holding the bundle of the Scarecrow's raiment in her hand. Slowly the elastic neck stretched out until it reached the far side of the ditch, when the beast lowered his head and permitted the beautiful fairy to leap to the ground.
Woot made the queer journey next, and then the Tin Soldier and the Tin Woodman went over, and all were well pleased to have overcome this serious barrier to their progress.
"Now, Soldier, cut the hay," said the Scarecrow's head, which was still held by Woot the Wanderer.
"I'd like to, but I can't stoop over, with my bent leg, without falling," replied Captain Fyter.
"What can we do about that leg, anyhow?" asked Woot, appealing to Polychrome.
She danced around in a circle several times without replying, and the boy feared she had not heard him; but the Rainbow's Daughter was merely thinking upon the problem, and presently she paused beside the Tin Soldier and said:
"I've been taught a little fairy magic, but I've never before been asked to mend tin legs with it, so I'm not sure I can help you. It all depends on the good will of my unseen fairy guardians, so I'll try, and if I fail, you will be no worse off than you are now."
She danced around the circle again, and then laid both hands upon the twisted tin leg and sang in her sweet voice:
"Fairy Powers, come to my aid!
This bent leg of tin is made;
Make it straight and strong and true,
And I'll render thanks to you."
"Ah!" murmured Captain Fyter in a glad voice, as she withdrew her hands and danced away, and they saw he was standing straight as ever, because his leg was as shapely and strong as it had been before his accident.
The Tin Woodman had watched Polychrome with much interest, and he now said:
"Please take the dent out of my side, Poly, for I am more crippled than was the Soldier."
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|The Tin Woodman of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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