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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

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The Deadly Poppy Field

Our little party of travelers awakened the next morning

refreshed and full of hope, and Dorothy breakfasted like a

princess off peaches and plums from the trees beside the river.

Behind them was the dark forest they had passed safely through,

although they had suffered many discouragements; but before them

was a lovely, sunny country that seemed to beckon them on to the

Emerald City.

To be sure, the broad river now cut them off from this

beautiful land. But the raft was nearly done, and after the Tin

Woodman had cut a few more logs and fastened them together with

wooden pins, they were ready to start. Dorothy sat down in the

middle of the raft and held Toto in her arms. When the Cowardly

Lion stepped upon the raft it tipped badly, for he was big and

heavy; but the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman stood upon the other

end to steady it, and they had long poles in their hands to push

the raft through the water.

They got along quite well at first, but when they reached the

middle of the river the swift current swept the raft downstream,

farther and farther away from the road of yellow brick. And the

water grew so deep that the long poles would not touch the bottom.

"This is bad," said the Tin Woodman, "for if we cannot get to

the land we shall be carried into the country of the Wicked Witch

of the West, and she will enchant us and make us her slaves."

"And then I should get no brains," said the Scarecrow.

"And I should get no courage," said the Cowardly Lion.

"And I should get no heart," said the Tin Woodman.

"And I should never get back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

"We must certainly get to the Emerald City if we can,"

the Scarecrow continued, and he pushed so hard on his long pole

that it stuck fast in the mud at the bottom of the river. Then,

before he could pull it out again--or let go--the raft was swept

away, and the poor Scarecrow left clinging to the pole in the

middle of the river.

"Good-bye!" he called after them, and they were very sorry to leave him.

Indeed, the Tin Woodman began to cry, but fortunately remembered that he

might rust, and so dried his tears on Dorothy's apron.

Of course this was a bad thing for the Scarecrow.

"I am now worse off than when I first met Dorothy," he

thought. "Then, I was stuck on a pole in a cornfield, where I

could make-believe scare the crows, at any rate. But surely there

is no use for a Scarecrow stuck on a pole in the middle of a

river. I am afraid I shall never have any brains, after all!"

Down the stream the raft floated, and the poor Scarecrow was

left far behind. Then the Lion said:

"Something must be done to save us. I think I can swim to the

shore and pull the raft after me, if you will only hold fast to

the tip of my tail."

So he sprang into the water, and the Tin Woodman caught fast

hold of his tail. Then the Lion began to swim with all his might

toward the shore. It was hard work, although he was so big; but

by and by they were drawn out of the current, and then Dorothy took

the Tin Woodman's long pole and helped push the raft to the land.

They were all tired out when they reached the shore at last

and stepped off upon the pretty green grass, and they also knew

that the stream had carried them a long way past the road of

yellow brick that led to the Emerald City.

"What shall we do now?" asked the Tin Woodman, as the Lion lay

down on the grass to let the sun dry him.

"We must get back to the road, in some way," said Dorothy.

"The best plan will be to walk along the riverbank until we

come to the road again," remarked the Lion.

So, when they were rested, Dorothy picked up her basket and

they started along the grassy bank, to the road from which the

river had carried them. It was a lovely country, with plenty of

flowers and fruit trees and sunshine to cheer them, and had they

not felt so sorry for the poor Scarecrow, they could have been

very happy.

They walked along as fast as they could, Dorothy only stopping

once to pick a beautiful flower; and after a time the Tin Woodman

cried out: "Look!"

Then they all looked at the river and saw the Scarecrow perched

upon his pole in the middle of the water, looking very lonely and sad.

"What can we do to save him?" asked Dorothy.

The Lion and the Woodman both shook their heads, for they did

not know. So they sat down upon the bank and gazed wistfully at

the Scarecrow until a Stork flew by, who, upon seeing them,

stopped to rest at the water's edge.

"Who are you and where are you going?" asked the Stork.

"I am Dorothy," answered the girl, "and these are my friends,

the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion; and we are going to the

Emerald City."

"This isn't the road," said the Stork, as she twisted her long

neck and looked sharply at the queer party.

"I know it," returned Dorothy, "but we have lost the

Scarecrow, and are wondering how we shall get him again."

"Where is he?" asked the Stork.

"Over there in the river," answered the little girl.

"If he wasn't so big and heavy I would get him for you,"

remarked the Stork.

"He isn't heavy a bit," said Dorothy eagerly, "for he is

stuffed with straw; and if you will bring him back to us, we shall

thank you ever and ever so much."

"Well, I'll try," said the Stork, "but if I find he is too

heavy to carry I shall have to drop him in the river again."

So the big bird flew into the air and over the water till she

came to where the Scarecrow was perched upon his pole. Then the

Stork with her great claws grabbed the Scarecrow by the arm and

carried him up into the air and back to the bank, where Dorothy

and the Lion and the Tin Woodman and Toto were sitting.

When the Scarecrow found himself among his friends again, he

was so happy that he hugged them all, even the Lion and Toto; and

as they walked along he sang "Tol-de-ri-de-oh!" at every step, he

felt so gay.

"I was afraid I should have to stay in the river forever,"

he said, "but the kind Stork saved me, and if I ever get any brains

I shall find the Stork again and do her some kindness in return."

"That's all right," said the Stork, who was flying along

beside them. "I always like to help anyone in trouble. But I

must go now, for my babies are waiting in the nest for me. I hope

you will find the Emerald City and that Oz will help you."

"Thank you," replied Dorothy, and then the kind Stork flew

into the air and was soon out of sight.

They walked along listening to the singing of the brightly

colored birds and looking at the lovely flowers which now became

so thick that the ground was carpeted with them. There were big

yellow and white and blue and purple blossoms, besides great

clusters of scarlet poppies, which were so brilliant in color they

almost dazzled Dorothy's eyes.

"Aren't they beautiful?" the girl asked, as she breathed in

the spicy scent of the bright flowers.

"I suppose so," answered the Scarecrow. "When I have brains,

I shall probably like them better."

"If I only had a heart, I should love them," added the Tin Woodman.

"I always did like flowers," said the Lion. "They of seem so

helpless and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these."

They now came upon more and more of the big scarlet poppies,

and fewer and fewer of the other flowers; and soon they found

themselves in the midst of a great meadow of poppies. Now it is

well known that when there are many of these flowers together

their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls

asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away from the scent of

the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But Dorothy did not

know this, nor could she get away from the bright red flowers that

were everywhere about; so presently her eyes grew heavy and she

felt she must sit down to rest and to sleep.

But the Tin Woodman would not let her do this.

"We must hurry and get back to the road of yellow brick before dark,"

he said; and the Scarecrow agreed with him. So they kept walking until

Dorothy could stand no longer. Her eyes closed in spite of herself and

she forgot where she was and fell among the poppies, fast asleep.

"What shall we do?" asked the Tin Woodman.

"If we leave her here she will die," said the Lion. "The smell of

the flowers is killing us all. I myself can scarcely keep my eyes open,

and the dog is asleep already."

It was true; Toto had fallen down beside his little mistress.

But the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, not being made of flesh,

were not troubled by the scent of the flowers.

"Run fast," said the Scarecrow to the Lion, "and get out of

this deadly flower bed as soon as you can. We will bring the

little girl with us, but if you should fall asleep you are too big

to be carried."

So the Lion aroused himself and bounded forward as fast as he

could go. In a moment he was out of sight.

"Let us make a chair with our hands and carry her," said the

Scarecrow. So they picked up Toto and put the dog in Dorothy's

lap, and then they made a chair with their hands for the seat and

their arms for the arms and carried the sleeping girl between them

through the flowers.

On and on they walked, and it seemed that the great carpet of

deadly flowers that surrounded them would never end. They followed

the bend of the river, and at last came upon their friend the Lion,

lying fast asleep among the poppies. The flowers had been too strong

for the huge beast and he had given up at last, and fallen only a short

distance from the end of the poppy bed, where the sweet grass spread in

beautiful green fields before them.

"We can do nothing for him," said the Tin Woodman, sadly; "for

he is much too heavy to lift. We must leave him here to sleep on

forever, and perhaps he will dream that he has found courage at last."

"I'm sorry," said the Scarecrow. "The Lion was a very good

comrade for one so cowardly. But let us go on."

They carried the sleeping girl to a pretty spot beside the river,

far enough from the poppy field to prevent her breathing any more of

the poison of the flowers, and here they laid her gently on the soft

grass and waited for the fresh breeze to waken her.




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