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|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
6. The Cowardly Lion
|Page 2 of 3||
"I don't know, I'm sure. To think of your striking a stuffed man, like the poor Scarecrow!"
"Is he stuffed?" asked the Lion in surprise, as he watched her pick up the Scarecrow and set him upon his feet, while she patted him into shape again.
"Of course he's stuffed," replied Dorothy, who was still angry.
"That's why he went over so easily," remarked the Lion. "It astonished me to see him whirl around so. Is the other one stuffed also?"
"No," said Dorothy, "he's made of tin." And she helped the Woodman up again.
"That's why he nearly blunted my claws," said the Lion. "When they scratched against the tin it made a cold shiver run down my back. What is that little animal you are so tender of?"
"He is my dog, Toto," answered Dorothy.
"Is he made of tin, or stuffed?" asked the Lion.
"Neither. He's a--a--a meat dog," said the girl.
"Oh! He's a curious animal and seems remarkably small, now that I look at him. No one would think of biting such a little thing, except a coward like me," continued the Lion sadly.
"What makes you a coward?" asked Dorothy, looking at the great beast in wonder, for he was as big as a small horse.
"It's a mystery," replied the Lion. "I suppose I was born that way. All the other animals in the forest naturally expect me to be brave, for the Lion is everywhere thought to be the King of Beasts. I learned that if I roared very loudly every living thing was frightened and got out of my way. Whenever I've met a man I've been awfully scared; but I just roared at him, and he has always run away as fast as he could go. If the elephants and the tigers and the bears had ever tried to fight me, I should have run myself--I'm such a coward; but just as soon as they hear me roar they all try to get away from me, and of course I let them go."
"But that isn't right. The King of Beasts shouldn't be a coward," said the Scarecrow.
"I know it," returned the Lion, wiping a tear from his eye with the tip of his tail. "It is my great sorrow, and makes my life very unhappy. But whenever there is danger, my heart begins to beat fast."
"Perhaps you have heart disease," said the Tin Woodman.
"It may be," said the Lion.
"If you have," continued the Tin Woodman, "you ought to be glad, for it proves you have a heart. For my part, I have no heart; so I cannot have heart disease."
"Perhaps," said the Lion thoughtfully, "if I had no heart I should not be a coward."
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|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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