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The Tin Woodman of Oz

21. Polychrome's Magic
On this morning, which ought to be the last of this important journey, our friends started
away as bright and cheery as could be, and Woot whistled a merry tune so that
Polychrome could dance to the music.
On reaching the top of the hill, the plain spread out before them in all its beauty of blue
grasses and wildflowers, and Mount Munch seemed much nearer than it had the previous
evening. They trudged on at a brisk pace, and by noon the mountain was so close that
they could admire its appearance. Its slopes were partly clothed with pretty evergreens,
and its foot-hills were tufted with a slender waving bluegrass that had a tassel on the end
of every blade. And, for the first time, they perceived, near the foot of the mountain, a
charming house, not of great size but neatly painted and with many flowers surrounding
it and vines climbing over the doors and windows.
It was toward this solitary house that our travelers now directed their steps, thinking to
inquire of the people who lived there where Nimmie Amee might be found.
There were no paths, but the way was quite open and clear, and they were drawing near
to the dwelling when Woot the Wanderer, who was then in the lead of the little party,
halted with such an abrupt jerk that he stumbled over backward and lay flat on his back in
the meadow. The Scarecrow stopped to look at the boy.
"Why did you do that?" he asked in surprise.
Woot sat up and gazed around him in amazement.
"I -- I don't know!" he replied.
The two tin men, arm in arm, started to pass them when both halted and tumbled, with a
great clatter, into a heap beside Woot. Polychrome, laughing at the absurd sight, came
dancing up and she, also, came to a sudden stop, but managed to save herself from
falling.
Everyone of them was much astonished, and the Scarecrow said with a puzzled look:
"I don't see anything."
"Nor I," said Woot; "but something hit me, just the same."
"Some invisible person struck me a heavy blow," declared the Tin Woodman, struggling
to separate himself from the Tin Soldier, whose legs and arms were mixed with his own.
"I'm not sure it was a person," said Polychrome, looking more grave than usual. "It seems
to me that I merely ran into some hard substance which barred my way. In order to make
sure of this, let me try another place."
 
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