The Tin Woodman of Oz
4. The Loons of Loonville
Toward evening, the travelers found there was no longer a path to guide them, and the
purple hues of the grass and trees warned them that they were now in the Country of the
Gillikins, where strange peoples dwelt in places that were quite unknown to the other
inhabitants of Oz. The fields were wild and uncultivated and there were no houses of any
sort to be seen. But our friends kept on walking even after the sun went down, hoping to
find a good place for Woot the Wanderer to sleep; but when it grew quite dark and the
boy was weary with his long walk, they halted right in the middle of a field and allowed
Woot to get his supper from the food he carried in his knapsack. Then the Scarecrow laid
himself down, so that Woot could use his stuffed body as a pillow, and the Tin Woodman
stood up beside them all night, so the dampness of the ground might not rust his joints or
dull his brilliant polish. Whenever the dew settled on his body he carefully wiped it off
with a cloth, and so in the morning the Emperor shone as brightly as ever in the rays of
the rising sun.
They wakened the boy at daybreak, the Scarecrow saying to him:
"We have discovered something queer, and therefore we must counsel together what to
do about it."
"What have you discovered?" asked Woot, rubbing the sleep from his eyes with his
knuckles and giving three wide yawns to prove he was fully awake.
"A Sign," said the Tin Woodman. "A Sign, and another path."
"What does the Sign say?" inquired the boy.
"It says that 'All Strangers are Warned not to Follow this Path to Loonville,'" answered
the Scarecrow, who could read very well when his eyes had been freshly painted.
"In that case," said the boy, opening his knapsack to get some breakfast, "let us travel in
some other direction."
But this did not seem to please either of his companions.
"I'd like to see what Loonville looks like," remarked the Tin Woodman.
"When one travels, it is foolish to miss any interesting sight," added the Scarecrow.
"But a warning means danger," protested Woot the Wanderer, "and I believe it sensible to
keep out of danger whenever we can."
They made no reply to this speech for a while. Then said the Scarecrow: