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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 Journey to the Great Oz

They were obliged to camp out that night under a large tree in

the forest, for there were no houses near. The tree made a good,

thick covering to protect them from the dew, and the Tin Woodman

chopped a great pile of wood with his axe and Dorothy built a

splendid fire that warmed her and made her feel less lonely. She

and Toto ate the last of their bread, and now she did not know

what they would do for breakfast.

"If you wish," said the Lion, "I will go into the forest and

kill a deer for you. You can roast it by the fire, since your

tastes are so peculiar that you prefer cooked food, and then you

will have a very good breakfast."

"Don't! Please don't," begged the Tin Woodman. "I should

certainly weep if you killed a poor deer, and then my jaws would

rust again."

But the Lion went away into the forest and found his own supper,

and no one ever knew what it was, for he didn't mention it. And the

Scarecrow found a tree full of nuts and filled Dorothy's basket with them,

so that she would not be hungry for a long time. She thought this was

very kind and thoughtful of the Scarecrow, but she laughed heartily at the

awkward way in which the poor creature picked up the nuts. His padded

hands were so clumsy and the nuts were so small that he dropped almost

as many as he put in the basket. But the Scarecrow did not mind how long

it took him to fill the basket, for it enabled him to keep away from the fire,

as he feared a spark might get into his straw and burn him up. So he kept a

good distance away from the flames, and only came near to cover Dorothy with

dry leaves when she lay down to sleep. These kept her very snug and warm,

and she slept soundly until morning.

When it was daylight, the girl bathed her face in a little rippling brook,

and soon after they all started toward the Emerald City.

This was to be an eventful day for the travelers. They had

hardly been walking an hour when they saw before them a great

ditch that crossed the road and divided the forest as far as they

could see on either side. It was a very wide ditch, and when they

crept up to the edge and looked into it they could see it was also

very deep, and there were many big, jagged rocks at the bottom.

The sides were so steep that none of them could climb down, and

for a moment it seemed that their journey must end.

"What shall we do?" asked Dorothy despairingly.

"I haven't the faintest idea," said the Tin Woodman, and the

Lion shook his shaggy mane and looked thoughtful.

But the Scarecrow said, "We cannot fly, that is certain.

Neither can we climb down into this great ditch. Therefore,

if we cannot jump over it, we must stop where we are."

"I think I could jump over it," said the Cowardly Lion, after

measuring the distance carefully in his mind.

"Then we are all right," answered the Scarecrow, "for you can

carry us all over on your back, one at a time."

"Well, I'll try it," said the Lion. "Who will go first?"

"I will," declared the Scarecrow, "for, if you found that you

could not jump over the gulf, Dorothy would be killed, or the Tin

Woodman badly dented on the rocks below. But if I am on your back

it will not matter so much, for the fall would not hurt me at all."

"I am terribly afraid of falling, myself," said the Cowardly

Lion, "but I suppose there is nothing to do but try it. So get on

my back and we will make the attempt."

The Scarecrow sat upon the Lion's back, and the big beast

walked to the edge of the gulf and crouched down.

"Why don't you run and jump?" asked the Scarecrow.

"Because that isn't the way we Lions do these things," he replied.

Then giving a great spring, he shot through the air and landed safely

on the other side. They were all greatly pleased to see how easily

he did it, and after the Scarecrow had got down from his back the Lion

sprang across the ditch again.

Dorothy thought she would go next; so she took Toto in her

arms and climbed on the Lion's back, holding tightly to his mane

with one hand. The next moment it seemed as if she were flying

through the air; and then, before she had time to think about it,

she was safe on the other side. The Lion went back a third time

and got the Tin Woodman, and then they all sat down for a few

moments to give the beast a chance to rest, for his great leaps

had made his breath short, and he panted like a big dog that has

been running too long.

They found the forest very thick on this side, and it looked

dark and gloomy. After the Lion had rested they started along the

road of yellow brick, silently wondering, each in his own mind, if

ever they would come to the end of the woods and reach the bright

sunshine again. To add to their discomfort, they soon heard strange

noises in the depths of the forest, and the Lion whispered to them

that it was in this part of the country that the Kalidahs lived.

"What are the Kalidahs?" asked the girl.

"They are monstrous beasts with bodies like bears and heads

like tigers," replied the Lion, "and with claws so long and sharp

that they could tear me in two as easily as I could kill Toto.

I'm terribly afraid of the Kalidahs."

"I'm not surprised that you are," returned Dorothy.

"They must be dreadful beasts."

The Lion was about to reply when suddenly they came to another

gulf across the road. But this one was so broad and deep that the

Lion knew at once he could not leap across it.

So they sat down to consider what they should do, and after

serious thought the Scarecrow said:

"Here is a great tree, standing close to the ditch. If the

Tin Woodman can chop it down, so that it will fall to the other

side, we can walk across it easily."

"That is a first-rate idea," said the Lion. "One would almost

suspect you had brains in your head, instead of straw."

The Woodman set to work at once, and so sharp was his axe that

the tree was soon chopped nearly through. Then the Lion put his

strong front legs against the tree and pushed with all his might,

and slowly the big tree tipped and fell with a crash across the

ditch, with its top branches on the other side.

They had just started to cross this queer bridge when a sharp growl

made them all look up, and to their horror they saw running toward them

two great beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers.

"They are the Kalidahs!" said the Cowardly Lion, beginning to tremble.

"Quick!" cried the Scarecrow. "Let us cross over."

So Dorothy went first, holding Toto in her arms, the Tin

Woodman followed, and the Scarecrow came next. The Lion, although

he was certainly afraid, turned to face the Kalidahs, and then he

gave so loud and terrible a roar that Dorothy screamed and the

Scarecrow fell over backward, while even the fierce beasts stopped

short and looked at him in surprise.

But, seeing they were bigger than the Lion, and remembering

that there were two of them and only one of him, the Kalidahs

again rushed forward, and the Lion crossed over the tree and

turned to see what they would do next. Without stopping an

instant the fierce beasts also began to cross the tree.

And the Lion said to Dorothy:

"We are lost, for they will surely tear us to pieces with

their sharp claws. But stand close behind me, and I will fight

them as long as I am alive."

"Wait a minute!" called the Scarecrow. He had been thinking

what was best to be done, and now he asked the Woodman to chop

away the end of the tree that rested on their side of the ditch.

The Tin Woodman began to use his axe at once, and, just as the two

Kalidahs were nearly across, the tree fell with a crash into the

gulf, carrying the ugly, snarling brutes with it, and both were

dashed to pieces on the sharp rocks at the bottom.

"Well," said the Cowardly Lion, drawing a long breath of

relief, "I see we are going to live a little while longer, and I

am glad of it, for it must be a very uncomfortable thing not to be

alive. Those creatures frightened me so badly that my heart is

beating yet."

"Ah," said the Tin Woodman sadly, "I wish I had a heart to beat."

This adventure made the travelers more anxious than ever to

get out of the forest, and they walked so fast that Dorothy became

tired, and had to ride on the Lion's back. To their great joy the

trees became thinner the farther they advanced, and in the

afternoon they suddenly came upon a broad river, flowing swiftly

just before them. On the other side of the water they could see

the road of yellow brick running through a beautiful country, with

green meadows dotted with bright flowers and all the road bordered

with trees hanging full of delicious fruits. They were greatly

pleased to see this delightful country before them.

"How shall we cross the river?" asked Dorothy.

"That is easily done," replied the Scarecrow. "The Tin Woodman

must build us a raft, so we can float to the other side."

So the Woodman took his axe and began to chop down small trees

to make a raft, and while he was busy at this the Scarecrow found

on the riverbank a tree full of fine fruit. This pleased Dorothy,

who had eaten nothing but nuts all day, and she made a hearty meal

of the ripe fruit.

But it takes time to make a raft, even when one is as industrious

and untiring as the Tin Woodman, and when night came the work was not done.

So they found a cozy place under the trees where they slept well until the

morning; and Dorothy dreamed of the Emerald City, and of the good Wizard Oz,

who would soon send her back to her own home again.




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