''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
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
''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.
9. The Queen of the Field Mice
''We cannot be far from the road of yellow brick, now,'' remarked the Scarecrow,
as he stood beside the girl, ''for we have come nearly as far as the river carried
The Tin Woodman was about to reply when he heard a low growl, and turning his
head (which worked beautifully on hinges) he saw a strange beast come bounding over
the grass toward them. It was, indeed, a great yellow Wildcat, and the Woodman thought
it must be chasing something, for its ears were lying close to its head and its
mouth was wide open, showing two rows of ugly teeth, while its red eyes glowed like
balls of fire. As it came nearer the Tin Woodman saw that running before the beast
was a little gray field mouse, and although he had no heart he knew it was wrong
for the Wildcat to try to kill such a pretty, harmless creature.
So the Woodman raised his axe, and as the Wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow
that cut the beast's head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet
in two pieces.
The field mouse, now that it was freed from its enemy, stopped short; and coming
slowly up to the Woodman it said, in a squeaky little voice:
''Oh, thank you! Thank you ever so much for saving my life.''
''Don't speak of it, I beg of you,'' replied the Woodman. ''I have no heart,
you know, so I am careful to help all those who may need a friend, even if it happens
to be only a mouse.''
''Only a mouse!'' cried the little animal, indignantly. ''Why, I am a Queen -
the Queen of all the Field Mice!''
''Oh, indeed,'' said the Woodman, making a bow.
''Therefore you have done a great deed, as well as a brave one, in saving my
life,'' added the Queen.
At that moment several mice were seen running up as fast as their little legs
could carry them, and when they saw their Queen they exclaimed:
''Oh, your Majesty, we thought you would be killed! How did you manage to escape
the great Wildcat?'' They all bowed so low to the little Queen that they almost
stood upon their heads.
''This funny tin man,'' she answered, ''killed the Wildcat and saved my life.
So hereafter you must all serve him, and obey his slightest wish.''
''We will!'' cried all the mice, in a shrill chorus. And then they scampered
in all directions, for Toto had awakened from his sleep, and seeing all these mice
around him he gave one bark of delight and jumped right into the middle of the group.
Toto had always loved to chase mice when he lived in Kansas, and he saw no harm
But the Tin Woodman caught the dog in his arms and held him tight, while he called
to the mice, ''Come back! Come back! Toto shall not hurt you.''
At this the Queen of the Mice stuck her head out from underneath a clump of grass
and asked, in a timid voice, ''Are you sure he will not bite us?''
''I will not let him,'' said the Woodman; ''so do not be afraid.''
One by one the mice came creeping back, and Toto did not bark again, although
he tried to get out of the Woodman's arms, and would have bitten him had he not
known very well he was made of tin. Finally one of the biggest mice spoke.
''Is there anything we can do,'' it asked, ''to repay you for saving the life
of our Queen?''
''Nothing that I know of,'' answered the Woodman; but the Scarecrow, who had
been trying to think, but could not because his head was stuffed with straw, said,
quickly, ''Oh, yes; you can save our friend, the Cowardly Lion, who is asleep in
the poppy bed.''
''A Lion!'' cried the little Queen. ''Why, he would eat us all up.''
''Oh, no,'' declared the Scarecrow; ''this Lion is a coward.''
''Really?'' asked the Mouse.
''He says so himself,'' answered the Scarecrow, ''and he would never hurt anyone
who is our friend. If you will help us to save him I promise that he shall treat
you all with kindness.''
''Very well,'' said the Queen, ''we trust you. But what shall we do?''
''Are there many of these mice which call you Queen and are willing to obey you?''
''Oh, yes; there are thousands,'' she replied.
''Then send for them all to come here as soon as possible, and let each one bring
a long piece of string.''
The Queen turned to the mice that attended her and told them to go at once and
get all her people. As soon as they heard her orders they ran away in every direction
as fast as possible.
''Now,'' said the Scarecrow to the Tin Woodman, ''you must go to those trees
by the riverside and make a truck that will carry the Lion.''
So the Woodman went at once to the trees and began to work; and he soon made
a truck out of the limbs of trees, from which he chopped away all the leaves and
branches. He fastened it together with wooden pegs and made the four wheels out
of short pieces of a big tree trunk. So fast and so well did he work that by the
time the mice began to arrive the truck was all ready for them.
They came from all directions, and there were thousands of them: big mice and
little mice and middle - sized mice; and each one brought a piece of string in his
mouth. It was about this time that Dorothy woke from her long sleep and opened her
eyes. She was greatly astonished to find herself lying upon the grass, with thousands
of mice standing around and looking at her timidly. But the Scarecrow told her about
everything, and turning to the dignified little Mouse, he said:
''Permit me to introduce to you her Majesty, the Queen.''
Dorothy nodded gravely and the Queen made a curtsy, after which she became quite
friendly with the little girl.
The Scarecrow and the Woodman now began to fasten the mice to the truck, using
the strings they had brought. One end of a string was tied around the neck of each
mouse and the other end to the truck. Of course the truck was a thousand times bigger
than any of the mice who were to draw it; but when all the mice had been harnessed,
they were able to pull it quite easily. Even the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman could
sit on it, and were drawn swiftly by their queer little horses to the place where
the Lion lay asleep.
After a great deal of hard work, for the Lion was heavy, they managed to get
him up on the truck. Then the Queen hurriedly gave her people the order to start,
for she feared if the mice stayed among the poppies too long they also would fall
At first the little creatures, many though they were, could hardly stir the heavily
loaded truck; but the Woodman and the Scarecrow both pushed from behind, and they
got along better. Soon they rolled the Lion out of the poppy bed to the green fields,
where he could breathe the sweet, fresh air again, instead of the poisonous scent
of the flowers.
Dorothy came to meet them and thanked the little mice warmly for saving her companion
from death. She had grown so fond of the big Lion she was glad he had been rescued.