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|The Marvelous Land of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Journey to the Tin Woodman
|Page 1 of 3||
Tip was well soaked and dripping water from every angle of his body. But he managed to lean forward and shout in the ear of the Saw-Horse:
"Keep still, you fool! Keep still!"
The horse at once ceased struggling and floated calmly upon the surface, its wooden body being as buoyant as a raft.
"What does that word 'fool' mean?" enquired the horse.
"It is a term of reproach," answered Tip, somewhat ashamed of the expression. "I only use it when I am angry."
"Then it pleases me to be able to call you a fool, in return," said the horse. "For I did not make the river, nor put it in our way; so only a term of, reproach is fit for one who becomes angry with me for falling into the water."
"That is quite evident," replied Tip; "so I will acknowledge myself in the wrong." Then he called out to the Pumpkinhead: "are you all right, Jack?"
There was no reply. So the boy called to the King "are you all right, your majesty?"
The Scarecrow groaned.
"I'm all wrong, somehow," he said, in a weak voice. "How very wet this water is!"
Tip was bound so tightly by the cord that he could not turn his head to look at his companions; so he said to the Saw-Horse:
"Paddle with your legs toward the shore."
The horse obeyed, and although their progress was slow they finally reached the opposite river bank at a place where it was low enough to enable the creature to scramble upon dry land.
With some difficulty the boy managed to get his knife out of his pocket and cut the cords that bound the riders to one another and to the wooden horse. He heard the Scarecrow fall to the ground with a mushy sound, and then he himself quickly dismounted and looked at his friend Jack.
The wooden body, with its gorgeous clothing, still sat upright upon the horse's back; but the pumpkin head was gone, and only the sharpened stick that served for a neck was visible. As for the Scarecrow, the straw in his body had shaken down with the jolting and packed itself into his legs and the lower part of his body -- which appeared very plump and round while his upper half seemed like an empty sack. Upon his head the Scarecrow still wore the heavy crown, which had been sewed on to prevent his losing it; but the head was now so damp and limp that the weight of the gold and jewels sagged forward and crushed the painted face into a mass of wrinkles that made him look exactly like a Japanese pug dog.
Tip would have laughed -- had he not been so anxious about his man Jack. But the Scarecrow, however damaged, was all there, while the pumpkin head that was so necessary to Jack's existence was missing; so the boy seized a long pole that fortunately lay near at hand and anxiously turned again toward the river.
Far out upon the waters he sighted the golden hue of the pumpkin, which gently bobbed up and down with the motion of the waves. At that moment it was quite out of Tip's reach, but after a time it floated nearer and still nearer until the boy was able to reach it with his pole and draw it to the shore. Then he brought it to the top of the bank, carefully wiped the water from its pumpkin face with his handkerchief, and ran with it to Jack and replaced the head upon the man's neck.
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|The Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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