Frank Baum >> The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (page 19)

16. The Magic Art of the Great Humbug

Next morning the Scarecrow said to his friends:

''Congratulate me. I am going to Oz to get my brains at last. When I return I shall be as other men are.''

''I have always liked you as you were,'' said Dorothy simply.

''It is kind of you to like a Scarecrow,'' he replied. ''But surely you will think more of me when you hear the splendid thoughts my new brain is going to turn out.'' Then he said Good-bye to them all in a cheerful voice and went to the Throne Room, where he rapped upon the door.

''Come in,'' said Oz.

The Scarecrow went in and found the little man sitting down by the window, engaged in deep thought.

''I have come for my brains,'' remarked the Scarecrow, a little uneasily.

''Oh, yes; sit down in that chair, please,'' replied Oz. ''You must excuse me for taking your head off, but I shall have to do it in order to put your brains in their proper place.''

''That's all right,'' said the Scarecrow. ''You are quite welcome to take my head off, as long as it will be a better one when you put it on again.''

So the Wizard unfastened his head and emptied out the straw. Then he entered the back room and took up a measure of bran, which he mixed with a great many pins and needles. Having shaken them together thoroughly, he filled the top of the Scarecrow's head with the mixture and stuffed the rest of the space with straw, to hold it in place.

When he had fastened the Scarecrow's head on his body again he said to him, ''Hereafter you will be a great man, for I have given you a lot of bran - new brains.''

The Scarecrow was both pleased and proud at the fulfillment of his greatest wish, and having thanked Oz warmly he went back to his friends.

Dorothy looked at him curiously. His head was quite bulged out at the top with brains.

''How do you feel?'' she asked.

''I feel wise indeed,'' he answered earnestly. ''When I get used to my brains I shall know everything.''

''Why are those needles and pins sticking out of your head?'' asked the Tin Woodman.

''That is proof that he is sharp,'' remarked the Lion.

''Well, I must go to Oz and get my heart,'' said the Woodman. So he walked to the Throne Room and knocked at the door.

''Come in,'' called Oz, and the Woodman entered and said, ''I have come for my heart.''

''Very well,'' answered the little man. ''But I shall have to cut a hole in your breast, so I can put your heart in the right place. I hope it won't hurt you.''

''Oh, no,'' answered the Woodman. ''I shall not feel it at all.''

So Oz brought a pair of tinsmith's shears and cut a small, square hole in the left side of the Tin Woodman's breast. Then, going to a chest of drawers, he took out a pretty heart, made entirely of silk and stuffed with sawdust.

''Isn't it a beauty?'' he asked.

''It is, indeed!'' replied the Woodman, who was greatly pleased. ''But is it a kind heart?''

''Oh, very!'' answered Oz. He put the heart in the Woodman's breast and then replaced the square of tin, soldering it neatly together where it had been cut.

''There,'' said he; ''now you have a heart that any man might be proud of. I'm sorry I had to put a patch on your breast, but it really couldn't be helped.''

''Never mind the patch,'' exclaimed the happy Woodman. ''I am very grateful to you, and shall never forget your kindness.''

''Don't speak of it,'' replied Oz.

Then the Tin Woodman went back to his friends, who wished him every joy on account of his good fortune.

The Lion now walked to the Throne Room and knocked at the door.

''Come in,'' said Oz.

''I have come for my courage,'' announced the Lion, entering the room.

''Very well,'' answered the little man; ''I will get it for you.''

He went to a cupboard and reaching up to a high shelf took down a square green bottle, the contents of which he poured into a green - gold dish, beautifully carved. Placing this before the Cowardly Lion, who sniffed at it as if he did not like it, the Wizard said:


''What is it?'' asked the Lion.

''Well,'' answered Oz, ''if it were inside of you, it would be courage. You know, of course, that courage is always inside one; so that this really cannot be called courage until you have swallowed it. Therefore I advise you to drink it as soon as possible.''

The Lion hesitated no longer, but drank till the dish was empty.

''How do you feel now?'' asked Oz.

''Full of courage,'' replied the Lion, who went joyfully back to his friends to tell them of his good fortune.

Oz, left to himself, smiled to think of his success in giving the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and the Lion exactly what they thought they wanted. ''How can I help being a humbug,'' he said, ''when all these people make me do things that everybody knows can't be done? It was easy to make the Scarecrow and the Lion and the Woodman happy, because they imagined I could do anything. But it will take more than imagination to carry Dorothy back to Kansas, and I'm sure I don't know how it can be done.''

17. How the Balloon Was Launched

For three days Dorothy heard nothing from Oz. These were sad days for the little girl, although her friends were all quite happy and contented. The Scarecrow told them there were wonderful thoughts in his head; but he would not say what they were because he knew no one could understand them but himself. When the Tin Woodman walked about he felt his heart rattling around in his breast; and he told Dorothy he had discovered it to be a kinder and more tender heart than the one he had owned when he was made of flesh. The Lion declared he was afraid of nothing on earth, and would gladly face an army or a dozen of the fierce Kalidahs.

Thus each of the little party was satisfied except Dorothy, who longed more than ever to get back to Kansas.

On the fourth day, to her great joy, Oz sent for her, and when she entered the Throne Room he greeted her pleasantly:

''Sit down, my dear; I think I have found the way to get you out of this country.''

''And back to Kansas?'' she asked eagerly.

''Well, I'm not sure about Kansas,'' said Oz, ''for I haven't the faintest notion which way it lies. But the first thing to do is to cross the desert, and then it should be easy to find your way home.''

''How can I cross the desert?'' she inquired.

''Well, I'll tell you what I think,'' said the little man. ''You see, when I came to this country it was in a balloon. You also came through the air, being carried by a cyclone. So I believe the best way to get across the desert will be through the air. Now, it is quite beyond my powers to make a cyclone; but I've been thinking the matter over, and I believe I can make a balloon.''

''How?'' asked Dorothy.

''A balloon,'' said Oz, ''is made of silk, which is coated with glue to keep the gas in it. I have plenty of silk in the Palace, so it will be no trouble to make the balloon. But in all this country there is no gas to fill the balloon with, to make it float.''

''If it won't float,'' remarked Dorothy, ''it will be of no use to us.''

''True,'' answered Oz. ''But there is another way to make it float, which is to fill it with hot air. Hot air isn't as good as gas, for if the air should get cold the balloon would come down in the desert, and we should be lost.''

''We!'' exclaimed the girl. ''Are you going with me?''

''Yes, of course,'' replied Oz. ''I am tired of being such a humbug. If I should go out of this Palace my people would soon discover I am not a Wizard, and then they would be vexed with me for having deceived them. So I have to stay shut up in these rooms all day, and it gets tiresome. I'd much rather go back to Kansas with you and be in a circus again.''

''I shall be glad to have your company,'' said Dorothy.

''Thank you,'' he answered. ''Now, if you will help me sew the silk together, we will begin to work on our balloon.''

So Dorothy took a needle and thread, and as fast as Oz cut the strips of silk into proper shape the girl sewed them neatly together. First there was a strip of light green silk, then a strip of dark green and then a strip of emerald green; for Oz had a fancy to make the balloon in different shades of the color about them. It took three days to sew all the strips together, but when it was finished they had a big bag of green silk more than twenty feet long.

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: Frank Baum
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