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| Home | Reading Room The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

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How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow

When Dorothy was left alone she began to feel hungry. So she

went to the cupboard and cut herself some bread, which she spread

with butter. She gave some to Toto, and taking a pail from the

shelf she carried it down to the little brook and filled it with

clear, sparkling water. Toto ran over to the trees and began to

bark at the birds sitting there. Dorothy went to get him, and saw

such delicious fruit hanging from the branches that she gathered

some of it, finding it just what she wanted to help out her breakfast.

Then she went back to the house, and having helped herself and

Toto to a good drink of the cool, clear water, she set about

making ready for the journey to the City of Emeralds.

Dorothy had only one other dress, but that happened to be

clean and was hanging on a peg beside her bed. It was gingham,

with checks of white and blue; and although the blue was somewhat

faded with many washings, it was still a pretty frock. The girl

washed herself carefully, dressed herself in the clean gingham,

and tied her pink sunbonnet on her head. She took a little basket

and filled it with bread from the cupboard, laying a white cloth

over the top. Then she looked down at her feet and noticed how

old and worn her shoes were.

"They surely will never do for a long journey, Toto," she said.

And Toto looked up into her face with his little black eyes and wagged

his tail to show he knew what she meant.

At that moment Dorothy saw lying on the table the silver shoes

that had belonged to the Witch of the East.

"I wonder if they will fit me," she said to Toto. "They would be

just the thing to take a long walk in, for they could not wear out."

She took off her old leather shoes and tried on the silver

ones, which fitted her as well as if they had been made for her.

Finally she picked up her basket.

"Come along, Toto," she said. "We will go to the Emerald City

and ask the Great Oz how to get back to Kansas again."

She closed the door, locked it, and put the key carefully in

the pocket of her dress. And so, with Toto trotting along soberly

behind her, she started on her journey.

There were several roads near by, but it did not take her long

to find the one paved with yellow bricks. Within a short time she

was walking briskly toward the Emerald City, her silver shoes

tinkling merrily on the hard, yellow road-bed. The sun shone

bright and the birds sang sweetly, and Dorothy did not feel

nearly so bad as you might think a little girl would who had

been suddenly whisked away from her own country and set down

in the midst of a strange land.

She was surprised, as she walked along, to see how pretty the

country was about her. There were neat fences at the sides of the

road, painted a dainty blue color, and beyond them were fields of

grain and vegetables in abundance. Evidently the Munchkins were

good farmers and able to raise large crops. Once in a while she

would pass a house, and the people came out to look at her and bow

low as she went by; for everyone knew she had been the means of

destroying the Wicked Witch and setting them free from bondage.

The houses of the Munchkins were odd-looking dwellings, for each

was round, with a big dome for a roof. All were painted blue,

for in this country of the East blue was the favorite color.

Toward evening, when Dorothy was tired with her long walk and

began to wonder where she should pass the night, she came to a

house rather larger than the rest. On the green lawn before it

many men and women were dancing. Five little fiddlers played as

loudly as possible, and the people were laughing and singing,

while a big table near by was loaded with delicious fruits and

nuts, pies and cakes, and many other good things to eat.

The people greeted Dorothy kindly, and invited her to supper and

to pass the night with them; for this was the home of one of the

richest Munchkins in the land, and his friends were gathered with

him to celebrate their freedom from the bondage of the Wicked Witch.

Dorothy ate a hearty supper and was waited upon by the rich

Munchkin himself, whose name was Boq. Then she sat upon a settee

and watched the people dance.

When Boq saw her silver shoes he said, "You must be a great sorceress."

"Why?" asked the girl.

"Because you wear silver shoes and have killed the Wicked Witch.

Besides, you have white in your frock, and only witches and sorceresses

wear white."

"My dress is blue and white checked," said Dorothy, smoothing

out the wrinkles in it.

"It is kind of you to wear that," said Boq. "Blue is the

color of the Munchkins, and white is the witch color. So we know

you are a friendly witch."

Dorothy did not know what to say to this, for all the people

seemed to think her a witch, and she knew very well she was only

an ordinary little girl who had come by the chance of a cyclone

into a strange land.

When she had tired watching the dancing, Boq led her into

the house, where he gave her a room with a pretty bed in it.

The sheets were made of blue cloth, and Dorothy slept soundly in

them till morning, with Toto curled up on the blue rug beside her.

She ate a hearty breakfast, and watched a wee Munchkin baby,

who played with Toto and pulled his tail and crowed and laughed in

a way that greatly amused Dorothy. Toto was a fine curiosity to

all the people, for they had never seen a dog before.

"How far is it to the Emerald City?" the girl asked.

"I do not know," answered Boq gravely, "for I have never been

there. It is better for people to keep away from Oz, unless they

have business with him. But it is a long way to the Emerald City,

and it will take you many days. The country here is rich and

pleasant, but you must pass through rough and dangerous places

before you reach the end of your journey."

This worried Dorothy a little, but she knew that only the

Great Oz could help her get to Kansas again, so she bravely

resolved not to turn back.

She bade her friends good-bye, and again started along the road

of yellow brick. When she had gone several miles she thought she

would stop to rest, and so climbed to the top of the fence beside

the road and sat down. There was a great cornfield beyond the fence,

and not far away she saw a Scarecrow, placed high on a pole to keep

the birds from the ripe corn.

Dorothy leaned her chin upon her hand and gazed thoughtfully

at the Scarecrow. Its head was a small sack stuffed with straw,

with eyes, nose, and mouth painted on it to represent a face.

An old, pointed blue hat, that had belonged to some Munchkin,

was perched on his head, and the rest of the figure was a blue suit

of clothes, worn and faded, which had also been stuffed with straw.

On the feet were some old boots with blue tops, such as every man

wore in this country, and the figure was raised above the stalks

of corn by means of the pole stuck up its back.

While Dorothy was looking earnestly into the queer, painted

face of the Scarecrow, she was surprised to see one of the eyes

slowly wink at her. She thought she must have been mistaken at first,

for none of the scarecrows in Kansas ever wink; but presently the

figure nodded its head to her in a friendly way. Then she climbed

down from the fence and walked up to it, while Toto ran around the

pole and barked.

"Good day," said the Scarecrow, in a rather husky voice.

"Did you speak?" asked the girl, in wonder.

"Certainly," answered the Scarecrow. "How do you do?"

"I'm pretty well, thank you," replied Dorothy politely.

"How do you do?"

"I'm not feeling well," said the Scarecrow, with a smile,

"for it is very tedious being perched up here night and day to

scare away crows."

"Can't you get down?" asked Dorothy.

"No, for this pole is stuck up my back. If you will please

take away the pole I shall be greatly obliged to you."

Dorothy reached up both arms and lifted the figure off the pole,

for, being stuffed with straw, it was quite light.

"Thank you very much," said the Scarecrow, when he had been

set down on the ground. "I feel like a new man."

Dorothy was puzzled at this, for it sounded queer to hear a

stuffed man speak, and to see him bow and walk along beside her.

"Who are you?" asked the Scarecrow when he had stretched

himself and yawned. "And where are you going?"

"My name is Dorothy," said the girl, "and I am going to the

Emerald City, to ask the Great Oz to send me back to Kansas."

"Where is the Emerald City?" he inquired. "And who is Oz?"

"Why, don't you know?" she returned, in surprise.

"No, indeed. I don't know anything. You see, I am stuffed,

so I have no brains at all," he answered sadly.

"Oh," said Dorothy, "I'm awfully sorry for you."

"Do you think," he asked, "if I go to the Emerald City with you,

that Oz would give me some brains?"

"I cannot tell," she returned, "but you may come with me,

if you like. If Oz will not give you any brains you will be

no worse off than you are now."

"That is true," said the Scarecrow. "You see," he continued

confidentially, "I don't mind my legs and arms and body being

stuffed, because I cannot get hurt. If anyone treads on my toes

or sticks a pin into me, it doesn't matter, for I can't feel it.

But I do not want people to call me a fool, and if my head stays

stuffed with straw instead of with brains, as yours is, how am I

ever to know anything?"

"I understand how you feel," said the little girl, who was

truly sorry for him. "If you will come with me I'll ask Oz to

do all he can for you."

"Thank you," he answered gratefully.

They walked back to the road. Dorothy helped him over the

fence, and they started along the path of yellow brick for the

Emerald City.

Toto did not like this addition to the party at first.

He smelled around the stuffed man as if he suspected there

might be a nest of rats in the straw, and he often growled

in an unfriendly way at the Scarecrow.

"Don't mind Toto," said Dorothy to her new friend.

"He never bites."

"Oh, I'm not afraid," replied the Scarecrow. "He can't hurt

the straw. Do let me carry that basket for you. I shall not mind

it, for I can't get tired. I'll tell you a secret," he continued,

as he walked along. "There is only one thing in the world I am

afraid of."

"What is that?" asked Dorothy; "the Munchkin farmer who made you?"

"No," answered the Scarecrow; "it's a lighted match."




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