The wonderful wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum (read online)
L.Frank Baum. The wonderful wizard of Oz
Folklore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood
through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and
instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal.
The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to
childish hearts than all other human creations.
Yet the old time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now
be classed as “historical” in the children’s library; for the time has
come for a series of newer “wonder tales” in which the stereotyped genie,
dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and
blood-curdling incidents devised by their authors to point a fearsome
moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the
modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder tales and gladly
dispenses with all disagreeable incident.
Having this thought in mind, the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of
Oz” was written solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a
modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and
the heartaches and nightmares are left out.
L. Frank Baum
Chicago, April, 1900.
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
1. The Cyclone
Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle
Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. Their
house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon
many miles. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one
room; and this room contained a rusty looking cookstove, a cupboard for
the dishes, a table, three or four chairs, and the beds. Uncle Henry and
Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in another
corner. There was no garret at all, and no cellar-except a small hole dug
in the ground, called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case
one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building
in its path. It was reached by a trap door in the middle of the floor,
from which a ladder led down into the small, dark hole.
When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see
nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house
broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the edge of the sky
in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass,
with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for
the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same
gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the
sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house
was as dull and gray as everything else.
When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun
and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes
and left them a sober gray; they had taken the red from her cheeks and
lips, and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled
now. When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been
so startled by the child’s laughter that she would scream and press her
hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy’s merry voice reached her ears; and
she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find
anything to laugh at.
Uncle Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and
did not know what joy was. He was gray also, from his long beard to his
rough boots, and he looked stern and solemn, and rarely spoke.
It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as
gray as her other surroundings. Toto was not gray; he was a little black
dog, with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on
either side of his funny, wee nose. Toto played all day long, and Dorothy
played with him, and loved him dearly.
Today, however, they were not playing. Uncle Henry sat upon the
doorstep and looked anxiously at the sky, which was even grayer than
usual. Dorothy stood in the door with Toto in her arms, and looked at the
sky too. Aunt Em was washing the dishes.
From the far north they heard a low wail of the wind, and Uncle Henry
and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves before the
coming storm. There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the south,
and as they turned their eyes that way they saw ripples in the grass
coming from that direction also.
Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.
“There’s a cyclone coming, Em,” he called to his wife. “I’ll go look
after the stock.” Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses
Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of
the danger close at hand.
“Quick, Dorothy!” she screamed. “Run for the cellar!”
Toto jumped out of Dorothy’s arms and hid under the bed, and the girl
started to get him. Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap door in
the floor and climbed down the ladder into the small, dark hole. Dorothy
caught Toto at last and started to follow her aunt. When she was halfway
across the room there came a great shriek from the wind, and the house
shook so hard that she lost her footing and sat down suddenly upon the
Then a strange thing happened.
The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through
the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.
The north and south winds met where the house stood, and made it the
exact center of the cyclone. In the middle of a cyclone the air is
generally still, but the great pressure of the wind on every side of the
house raised it up higher and higher, until it was at the very top of the
cyclone; and there it remained and was carried miles and miles away as
easily as you could carry a feather.
It was very dark, and the wind howled horribly around her, but
Dorothy found she was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls
around, and one other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as if she
were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.
Toto did not like it. He ran about the room, now here, now there,
barking loudly; but Dorothy sat quite still on the floor and waited to see
what would happen.
Once Toto got too near the open trap door, and fell in; and at first
the little girl thought she had lost him. But soon she saw one of his ears
sticking up through the hole, for the strong pressure of the air was
keeping him up so that he could not fall. She crept to the hole, caught
Toto by the ear, and dragged him into the room again, afterward closing
the trap door so that no more accidents could happen.
Hour after hour passed away, and slowly Dorothy got over her fright;
but she felt quite lonely, and the wind shrieked so loudly all about her
that she nearly became deaf. At first she had wondered if she would be
dashed to pieces when the house fell again; but as the hours passed and
nothing terrible happened, she stopped worrying and resolved to wait
calmly and see what the future would bring. At last she crawled over the
swaying floor to her bed, and lay down upon it; and Toto followed and lay
down beside her.
In spite of the swaying of the house and the wailing of the wind,
Dorothy soon closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.
2. The Council with the Munchkins
She was awakened by a shock, so sudden and severe that if Dorothy had
not been lying on the soft bed she might have been hurt. As it was, the
jar made her catch her breath and wonder what had happened; and Toto put
his cold little nose into her face and whined dismally. Dorothy sat up and
noticed that the house was not moving; nor was it dark, for the bright
sunshine came in at the window, flooding the little room. She sprang from
her bed and with Toto at her heels ran and opened the door.
The little girl gave a cry of amazement and looked about her, her
eyes growing bigger and bigger at the wonderful sights she saw.
The cyclone had set the house down very gently-for a cyclone-in the
midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of
greensward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits.
Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and
brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes. A little way
off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks,
and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so
long on the dry, gray prairies.
While she stood looking eagerly at the strange and beautiful sights,
she noticed coming toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever
seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to;
but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as
Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so
far as looks go, many years older.
Three were men and one a woman, and all were oddly dressed. They wore
round hats that rose to a small point a foot above their heads, with
little bells around the brims that tinkled sweetly as they moved. The hats
of the men were blue; the little woman’s hat was white, and she wore a
white gown that hung in pleats from her shoulders. Over it were sprinkled
little stars that glistened in the sun like diamonds. The men were dressed
in blue, of the same shade as their hats, and wore well-polished boots
with a deep roll of blue at the tops. The men, Dorothy thought, were about
as old as Uncle Henry, for two of them had beards. But the little woman
was doubtless much older. Her face was covered with wrinkles, her hair was
nearly white, and she walked rather stiffly.
When these people drew near the house where Dorothy was standing in
the doorway, they paused and whispered among themselves, as if afraid to
come farther. But the little old woman walked up to Dorothy, made a low
bow and said, in a sweet voice:
“You are welcome, most noble Sorceress, to the land of the Munchkins.
We are so grateful to you for having killed the Wicked Witch of the East,
and for setting our people free from bondage.”
Dorothy listened to this speech with wonder. What could the little
woman possibly mean by calling her a sorceress, and saying she had killed
the Wicked Witch of the East? Dorothy was an innocent, harmless little
girl, who had been carried by a cyclone many miles from home; and she had
never killed anything in all her life.
But the little woman evidently expected her to answer; so Dorothy
said, with hesitation, “You are very kind, but there must be some mistake.
I have not killed anything.”
“Your house did, anyway,” replied the little old woman, with a laugh,
“and that is the same thing. See!” she continued, pointing to the corner
of the house. “There are her two feet, still sticking out from under a
block of wood.”
Dorothy looked, and gave a little cry of fright. There, indeed, just
under the corner of the great beam the house rested on, two feet were
sticking out, shod in silver shoes with pointed toes.
“Oh, dear! Oh, dear!” cried Dorothy, clasping her hands together in
dismay. “The house must have fallen on her. Whatever shall we do?”
“There is nothing to be done,” said the little woman calmly.
“But who was she?” asked Dorothy.
“She was the Wicked Witch of the East, as I said,” answered the
little woman. “She has held all the Munchkins in bondage for many years,
making them slave for her night and day. Now they are all set free, and
are grateful to you for the favor.”
“Who are the Munchkins?” inquired Dorothy.
“They are the people who live in this land of the East where the
Wicked Witch ruled.”
“Are you a Munchkin?” asked Dorothy.
“No, but I am their friend, although I live in the land of the North.
When they saw the Witch of the East was dead the Munchkins sent a swift
messenger to me, and I came at once. I am the Witch of the North.”
“Oh, gracious!” cried Dorothy. “Are you a real witch?”
“Yes, indeed,” answered the little woman. “But I am a good witch, and
the people love me. I am not as powerful as the Wicked Witch was who ruled
here, or I should have set the people free myself.”
“But I thought all witches were wicked,” said the girl, who was half
frightened at facing a real witch. “Oh, no, that is a great mistake. There
were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who
live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true,
for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken. Those who dwelt in
the East and the West were, indeed, wicked witches; but now that you have
killed one of them, there is but one Wicked Witch in all the Land of
Oz-the one who lives in the West.”
“But,” said Dorothy, after a moment’s thought, “Aunt Em has told me
that the witches were all dead-years and years ago.”
“Who is Aunt Em?” inquired the little old woman.
“She is my aunt who lives in Kansas, where I came from.”
The Witch of the North seemed to think for a time, with her head
bowed and her eyes upon the ground. Then she looked up and said, “I do not
know where Kansas is, for I have never heard that country mentioned
before. But tell me, is it a civilized country?”
“Oh, yes,” replied Dorothy.
“Then that accounts for it. In the civilized countries I believe
there are no witches left, nor wizards, nor sorceresses, nor magicians.
But, you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized, for we are cut off
from all the rest of the world. Therefore we still have witches and
wizards amongst us.”
“Who are the wizards?” asked Dorothy.
“Oz himself is the Great Wizard,” answered the Witch, sinking her
voice to a whisper. “He is more powerful than all the rest of us together.
He lives in the City of Emeralds.”
Dorothy was going to ask another question, but just then the
Munchkins, who had been standing silently by, gave a loud shout and
pointed to the corner of the house where the Wicked Witch had been lying.
“What is it?” asked the little old woman, and looked, and began to
laugh. The feet of the dead Witch had disappeared entirely, and nothing
was left but the silver shoes.
“She was so old,” explained the Witch of the North, that she dried up
quickly in the sun. That is the end of her. But the silver shoes are
yours, and you shall have them to wear.” She reached down and picked up
the shoes, and after shaking the dust out of them handed them to Dorothy.
“The Witch of the East was proud of those silver shoes,” said one of
the Munchkins, “and there is some charm connected with them; but what it
is we never knew.”
Dorothy carried the shoes into the house and placed them on the
table. Then she came out again to the Munchkins and said:
“I am anxious to get back to my aunt and uncle, for I am sure they
will worry about me. Can you help me find my way?”
The Munchkins and the Witch first looked at one another, and then at
Dorothy, and then shook their heads.
“At the East, not far from here,” said one, “there is a great desert,
and none could live to cross it.”
“It is the same at the South,” said another, “for I have been there
and seen it. The South is the country of the Quadlings.”
“I am told,” said the third man, “that it is the same at the West.
And that country, where the Winkies live, is ruled by the Wicked Witch of
the West, who would make you her slave if you passed her way.”
“The North is my home,” said the old lady, “and at its edge is the
same great desert that surrounds this Land of Oz. I’m afraid, my dear, you
will have to live with us.”
Dorothy began to sob at this, for she felt lonely among all these
strange people. Her tears seemed to grieve the kind-hearted Munchkins, for
they immediately took out their handkerchiefs and began to weep also. As
for the little old woman, she took off her cap and balanced the point on
the end of her nose, while she counted “One, two, three” in a solemn
voice. At once the cap changed to a slate, on which was written in big,
white chalk marks:
“LET DOROTHY GO TO THE CITY OF EMERALDS”
The little old woman took the slate from her nose, and having read
the words on it, asked, “Is your name Dorothy, my dear?”
“Yes,” answered the child, looking up and drying her tears.
“Then you must go to the City of Emeralds. Perhaps Oz will help you.”
“Where is this city?” asked Dorothy.
“It is exactly in the center of the country, and is ruled by Oz, the
Great Wizard I told you of.”
“Is he a good man?” inquired the girl anxiously.
“He is a good Wizard. Whether he is a man or not I cannot tell, for I
have never seen him.”
“How can I get there?” asked Dorothy.
“You must walk. It is a long journey, through a country that is
sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use
all the magic arts I know of to keep you from harm.”
“Won’t you go with me?” pleaded the girl, who had begun to look upon
the little old woman as her only friend.
“No, I cannot do that,” she replied, “but I will give you my kiss,
and no one will dare injure a person who has been kissed by the Witch of
She came close to Dorothy and kissed her gently on the forehead.
Where her lips touched the girl they left a round, shining mark, as
Dorothy found out soon after.
“The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with yellow brick,” said
the Witch, “so you cannot miss it. When you get to Oz do not be afraid of
him, but tell your story and ask him to help you. Good-bye, my dear.”
The three Munchkins bowed low to her and wished her a pleasant
journey, after which they walked away through the trees. The Witch gave
Dorothy a friendly little nod, whirled around on her left heel three
times, and straightway disappeared, much to the surprise of little Toto,
who barked after her loudly enough when she had gone, because he had been
afraid even to growl while she stood by.
But Dorothy, knowing her to be a witch, had expected her to disappear
in just that way, and was not surprised in the least.
3. 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
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
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
When Boq saw her silver shoes he said, “You must be a great
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
“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.”
4. The Road Through the Forest
After a few hours the road began to be rough, and the walking grew so
difficult that the Scarecrow often stumbled over the yellow bricks, which
were here very uneven. Sometimes, indeed, they were broken or missing
altogether, leaving holes that Toto jumped across and Dorothy walked
around. As for the Scarecrow, having no brains, he walked straight ahead,
and so stepped into the holes and fell at full length on the hard bricks.
It never hurt him, however, and Dorothy would pick him up and set him upon
his feet again, while he joined her in laughing merrily at his own mishap.
The farms were not nearly so well cared for here as they were farther
back. There were fewer houses and fewer fruit trees, and the farther they
went the more dismal and lonesome the country became.
At noon they sat down by the roadside, near a little brook, and
Dorothy opened her basket and got out some bread. She offered a piece to
the Scarecrow, but he refused.
“I am never hungry,” he said, “and it is a lucky thing I am not, for
my mouth is only painted, and if I should cut a hole in it so I could eat,
the straw I am stuffed with would come out, and that would spoil the shape
of my head.”
Dorothy saw at once that this was true, so she only nodded and went
on eating her bread.
“Tell me something about yourself and the country you came from,”
said the Scarecrow, when she had finished her dinner. So she told him all
about Kansas, and how gray everything was there, and how the cyclone had
carried her to this queer Land of Oz.
The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said, “I cannot understand why
you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry,
gray place you call Kansas.”
“That is because you have no brains” answered the girl. “No matter
how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would
rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful.
There is no place like home.”
The Scarecrow sighed.
“Of course I cannot understand it,” he said. “If your heads were
stuffed with straw, like mine, you would probably all live in the
beautiful places, and then Kansas would have no people at all. It is
fortunate for Kansas that you have brains.”
“Won’t you tell me a story, while we are resting?” asked the child.
The Scarecrow looked at her reproachfully, and answered:
“My life has been so short that I really know nothing whatever. I was
only made day before yesterday. What happened in the world before that
time is all unknown to me. Luckily, when the farmer made my head, one of
the first things he did was to paint my ears, so that I heard what was
going on. There was another Munchkin with him, and the first thing I heard
was the farmer saying, `How do you like those ears?’
“`They aren’t straight,'” answered the other.
“`Never mind,'” said the farmer. “`They are ears just the same,'”
which was true enough.
“`Now I’ll make the eyes,'” said the farmer. So he painted my right
eye, and as soon as it was finished I found myself looking at him and at
everything around me with a great deal of curiosity, for this was my first
glimpse of the world.
“`That’s a rather pretty eye,'” remarked the Munchkin who was
watching the farmer. “`Blue paint is just the color for eyes.’
“`I think I’ll make the other a little bigger,'” said the farmer. And
when the second eye was done I could see much better than before. Then he
made my nose and my mouth. But I did not speak, because at that time I
didn’t know what a mouth was for. I had the fun of watching them make my
body and my arms and legs; and when they fastened on my head, at last, I
felt very proud, forI thought I was just as good a man as anyone.
“`This fellow will scare the crows fast enough,’ said the farmer. `He
looks just like a man.’
“`Why, he is a man,’ said the other, and I quite agreed with him. The
farmer carried me under his arm to the cornfield, and set me up on a tall
stick, where you found me. He and his friend soon after walked away and
left me alone.
“I did not like to be deserted this way. So I tried to walk after
them. But my feet would not touch the ground, and I was forced to stay on
that pole. It was a lonely life to lead, for I had nothing to think of,
having been made such a little while before. Many crows and other birds
flew into the cornfield, but as soon as they saw me they flew away again,
thinking I was a Munchkin; and this pleased me and made me feel that I was
quite an important person. By and by an old crow flew near me, and after
looking at me carefully he perched upon my shoulder and said:
“`I wonder if that farmer thought to fool me in this clumsy manner.
Any crow of sense could see that you are only stuffed with straw.’ Then he
hopped down at my feet and ate all the corn he wanted. The other birds,
seeing he was not harmed by me, came to eat the corn too, so in a short
time there was a great flock of them about me.
“I felt sad at this, for it showed I was not such a good Scarecrow
after all; but the old crow comforted me, saying, `If you only had brains
in your head you would be as good a man as any of them, and a better man
than some of them. Brains are the only things worth having in this world,
no matter whether one is a crow or a man.’
“After the crows had gone I thought this over, and decided I would
try hard to get some brains. By good luck you came along and pulled me off
the stake, and from what you say I am sure the Great Oz will give me
brains as soon as we get to the Emerald City.”
“I hope so,” said Dorothy earnestly, “since you seem anxious to have
“Oh, yes; I am anxious,” returned the Scarecrow. “It is such an
uncomfortable feeling to know one is a fool.”
“Well,” said the girl, “let us go.” And she handed the basket to the
There were no fences at all by the roadside now, and the land was
rough and untilled. Toward evening they came to a great forest, where the
trees grew so big and close together that their branches met over the road
of yellow brick. It was almost dark under the trees, for the branches shut
out the daylight; but the travelers did not stop, and went on into the
“If this road goes in, it must come out,” said the Scarecrow, “and as
the Emerald City is at the other end of the road, we must go wherever it
“Anyone would know that,” said Dorothy.
“Certainly; that is why I know it,” returned the Scarecrow. “If it
required brains to figure it out, I never should have said it.”
After an hour or so the light faded away, and they found themselves
stumbling along in the darkness. Dorothy could not see at all, but Toto
could, for some dogs see very well in the dark; and the Scarecrow declared
he could see as well as by day. So she took hold of his arm and managed to
get along fairly well.
“If you see any house, or any place where we can pass the night,” she
said, “you must tell me; for it is very uncomfortable walking in the dark.
Soon after the Scarecrow stopped.
“I see a little cottage at the right of us,” he said, “built of logs
and branches. Shall we go there?”
“Yes, indeed,” answered the child. “I am all tired out.”
So the Scarecrow led her through the trees until they reached the
cottage, and Dorothy entered and found a bed of dried leaves in one
corner. She lay down at once, and with Toto beside her soon fell into a
sound sleep. The Scarecrow, who was never tired, stood up in another
corner and waited patiently until morning came.
5. 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
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
“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
“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
“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
“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.