The Marvelous Land of Oz HTML version
7. His Majesty the Scarecrow
I suppose every reader of this book knows what a scarecrow is; but Jack Pumpkinhead,
never having seen such a creation, was more surprised at meeting the remarkable King of
the Emerald City than by any other one experience of his brief life.
His Majesty the Scarecrow was dressed in a suit of faded blue clothes, and his head was
merely a small sack stuffed with straw, upon which eyes, ears, a nose and a mouth had
been rudely painted to represent a face. The clothes were also stuffed with straw, and that
so unevenly or carelessly that his Majesty's legs and arms seemed more bumpy than was
necessary. Upon his hands were gloves with long fingers, and these were padded with
cotton. Wisps of straw stuck out from the monarch's coat and also from his neck and
boot-tops. Upon his head he wore a heavy golden crown set thick with sparkling jewels,
and the weight of this crown caused his brow to sag in wrinkles, giving a thoughtful
expression to the painted face. Indeed, the crown alone betokened majesty; in all else the,
Scarecrow King was but a simple scarecrow -- flimsy, awkward, and unsubstantial.
But if the strange appearance of his Majesty the Scarecrow seemed startling to Jack, no
less wonderful was the form of the Pumpkinhead to the Scarecrow. The purple trousers
and pink waistcoat and red shirt hung loosely over the wooden joints Tip had
manufactured, and the carved face on the pumpkin grinned perpetually, as if its wearer
considered life the jolliest thing imaginable.
At first, indeed, His Majesty thought his queer visitor was laughing at him, and was
inclined to resent such a liberty; but it was not without reason that the Scarecrow had
attained the reputation of being the wisest personage in the Land of Oz. He made a more
careful examination of his visitor, and soon discovered that Jack's features were carved
into a smile and that he could not look grave if he wished to.
The King was the first to speak. After regarding Jack for some minutes he said, in a tone
"Where on earth did you come from, and how do you happen to be alive?"
"I beg your Majesty's pardon," returned the Pumpkinhead; "but I do not understand you."
"What don't you understand?" asked the Scarecrow.
"Why, I don't understand your language. You see, I came from the Country of the
Gillikins, so that I am a foreigner."
"Ah, to be sure!" exclaimed the Scarecrow. "I myself speak the language of the
Munchkins, which is also the language of the Emerald City. But you, I suppose, speak the
language of the Pumpkinheads?"
"Exactly so, your Majesty" replied the other, bowing; "so it will be impossible for us to
understand one another."