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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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The Rescue of the Tin Woodman

When Dorothy awoke the sun was shining through the trees and

Toto had long been out chasing birds around him and squirrels.

She sat up and looked around her. Scarecrow, still standing

patiently in his corner, waiting for her.

"We must go and search for water," she said to him.

"Why do you want water?" he asked.

"To wash my face clean after the dust of the road, and to

drink, so the dry bread will not stick in my throat."

"It must be inconvenient to be made of flesh," said the

Scarecrow thoughtfully, "for you must sleep, and eat and drink.

However, you have brains, and it is worth a lot of bother to be

able to think properly."

They left the cottage and walked through the trees until they

found a little spring of clear water, where Dorothy drank and

bathed and ate her breakfast. She saw there was not much bread

left in the basket, and the girl was thankful the Scarecrow did

not have to eat anything, for there was scarcely enough for

herself and Toto for the day.

When she had finished her meal, and was about to go back to the

road of yellow brick, she was startled to hear a deep groan near by.

"What was that?" she asked timidly.

"I cannot imagine," replied the Scarecrow; "but we can go and see."

Just then another groan reached their ears, and the sound

seemed to come from behind them. They turned and walked through

the forest a few steps, when Dorothy discovered something shining

in a ray of sunshine that fell between the trees. She ran to the

place and then stopped short, with a little cry of surprise.

One of the big trees had been partly chopped through, and

standing beside it, with an uplifted axe in his hands, was a man

made entirely of tin. His head and arms and legs were jointed

upon his body, but he stood perfectly motionless, as if he could

not stir at all.

Dorothy looked at him in amazement, and so did the Scarecrow,

while Toto barked sharply and made a snap at the tin legs, which

hurt his teeth.

"Did you groan?" asked Dorothy.

"Yes," answered the tin man, "I did. I've been groaning for more

than a year, and no one has ever heard me before or come to help me."

"What can I do for you?" she inquired softly, for she was

moved by the sad voice in which the man spoke.

"Get an oil-can and oil my joints," he answered. "They are

rusted so badly that I cannot move them at all; if I am well oiled

I shall soon be all right again. You will find an oil-can on a

shelf in my cottage."

Dorothy at once ran back to the cottage and found the oil-can,

and then she returned and asked anxiously, "Where are your joints?"

"Oil my neck, first," replied the Tin Woodman. So she oiled it,

and as it was quite badly rusted the Scarecrow took hold of the tin

head and moved it gently from side to side until it worked freely,

and then the man could turn it himself.

"Now oil the joints in my arms," he said. And Dorothy oiled

them and the Scarecrow bent them carefully until they were quite

free from rust and as good as new.

The Tin Woodman gave a sigh of satisfaction and lowered his

axe, which he leaned against the tree.

"This is a great comfort," he said. "I have been holding that

axe in the air ever since I rusted, and I'm glad to be able to put

it down at last. Now, if you will oil the joints of my legs, I

shall be all right once more."

So they oiled his legs until he could move them freely; and he

thanked them again and again for his release, for he seemed a very

polite creature, and very grateful.

"I might have stood there always if you had not come along," he said;

"so you have certainly saved my life. How did you happen to be here?"

"We are on our way to the Emerald City to see the Great Oz,"

she answered, "and we stopped at your cottage to pass the night."

"Why do you wish to see Oz?" he asked.

"I want him to send me back to Kansas, and the Scarecrow wants

him to put a few brains into his head," she replied.

The Tin Woodman appeared to think deeply for a moment. Then he said:

"Do you suppose Oz could give me a heart?"

"Why, I guess so," Dorothy answered. "It would be as easy as

to give the Scarecrow brains."

"True," the Tin Woodman returned. "So, if you will allow me

to join your party, I will also go to the Emerald City and ask Oz

to help me."

"Come along," said the Scarecrow heartily, and Dorothy added

that she would be pleased to have his company. So the Tin Woodman

shouldered his axe and they all passed through the forest until

they came to the road that was paved with yellow brick.

The Tin Woodman had asked Dorothy to put the oil-can in her basket.

"For," he said, "if I should get caught in the rain, and rust again,

I would need the oil-can badly."

It was a bit of good luck to have their new comrade join the

party, for soon after they had begun their journey again they came

to a place where the trees and branches grew so thick over the

road that the travelers could not pass. But the Tin Woodman set

to work with his axe and chopped so well that soon he cleared a

passage for the entire party.

Dorothy was thinking so earnestly as they walked along that

she did not notice when the Scarecrow stumbled into a hole and

rolled over to the side of the road. Indeed he was obliged to

call to her to help him up again.

"Why didn't you walk around the hole?" asked the Tin Woodman.

"I don't know enough," replied the Scarecrow cheerfully.

"My head is stuffed with straw, you know, and that is why I am

going to Oz to ask him for some brains."

"Oh, I see," said the Tin Woodman. "But, after all, brains

are not the best things in the world."

"Have you any?" inquired the Scarecrow.

"No, my head is quite empty," answered the Woodman.

"But once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried

them both, I should much rather have a heart."

"And why is that?" asked the Scarecrow.

"I will tell you my story, and then you will know."

So, while they were walking through the forest, the Tin Woodman

told the following story:

"I was born the son of a woodman who chopped down trees in the

forest and sold the wood for a living. When I grew up, I too became

a woodchopper, and after my father died I took care of my old mother

as long as she lived. Then I made up my mind that instead of living

alone I would marry, so that I might not become lonely.

"There was one of the Munchkin girls who was so beautiful

that I soon grew to love her with all my heart. She, on her part,

promised to marry me as soon as I could earn enough money to

build a better house for her; so I set to work harder than ever.

But the girl lived with an old woman who did not want her to marry

anyone, for she was so lazy she wished the girl to remain with her

and do the cooking and the housework. So the old woman went to

the Wicked Witch of the East, and promised her two sheep and a cow

if she would prevent the marriage. Thereupon the Wicked Witch

enchanted my axe, and when I was chopping away at my best one day,

for I was anxious to get the new house and my wife as soon as

possible, the axe slipped all at once and cut off my left leg.

"This at first seemed a great misfortune, for I knew a

one-legged man could not do very well as a wood-chopper. So I

went to a tinsmith and had him make me a new leg out of tin. The

leg worked very well, once I was used to it. But my action

angered the Wicked Witch of the East, for she had promised the old

woman I should not marry the pretty Munchkin girl. When I began

chopping again, my axe slipped and cut off my right leg. Again I

went to the tinsmith, and again he made me a leg out of tin.

After this the enchanted axe cut off my arms, one after the

other; but, nothing daunted, I had them replaced with tin ones.

The Wicked Witch then made the axe slip and cut off my head, and

at first I thought that was the end of me. But the tinsmith

happened to come along, and he made me a new head out of tin.

"I thought I had beaten the Wicked Witch then, and I worked

harder than ever; but I little knew how cruel my enemy could be.

She thought of a new way to kill my love for the beautiful

Munchkin maiden, and made my axe slip again, so that it cut right

through my body, splitting me into two halves. Once more the

tinsmith came to my help and made me a body of tin, fastening my

tin arms and legs and head to it, by means of joints, so that I

could move around as well as ever. But, alas! I had now no

heart, so that I lost all my love for the Munchkin girl, and did

not care whether I married her or not. I suppose she is still

living with the old woman, waiting for me to come after her.

"My body shone so brightly in the sun that I felt very proud

of it and it did not matter now if my axe slipped, for it could

not cut me. There was only one danger--that my joints would

rust; but I kept an oil-can in my cottage and took care to oil

myself whenever I needed it. However, there came a day when I

forgot to do this, and, being caught in a rainstorm, before I

thought of the danger my joints had rusted, and I was left to

stand in the woods until you came to help me. It was a terrible

thing to undergo, but during the year I stood there I had time to

think that the greatest loss I had known was the loss of my heart.

While I was in love I was the happiest man on earth; but no one

can love who has not a heart, and so I am resolved to ask Oz to

give me one. If he does, I will go back to the Munchkin maiden

and marry her."

Both Dorothy and the Scarecrow had been greatly interested

in the story of the Tin Woodman, and now they knew why he was so

anxious to get a new heart.

"All the same," said the Scarecrow, "I shall ask for brains

instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a

heart if he had one."

"I shall take the heart," returned the Tin Woodman; "for

brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing

in the world."

Dorothy did not say anything, for she was puzzled to know

which of her two friends was right, and she decided if she could

only get back to Kansas and Aunt Em, it did not matter so much

whether the Woodman had no brains and the Scarecrow no heart,

or each got what he wanted.

What worried her most was that the bread was nearly gone, and

another meal for herself and Toto would empty the basket. To be sure

neither the Woodman nor the Scarecrow ever ate anything, but she was

not made of tin nor straw, and could not live unless she was fed.




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