The Tin Woodman of Oz HTML version

3. Roundabout
Woot the Wanderer slept that night in the tin castle of the Emperor of the Winkies and
found his tin bed quite comfortable. Early the next morning he rose and took a walk
through the gardens, where there were tin fountains and beds of curious tin flowers, and
where tin birds perched upon the branches of tin trees and sang songs that sounded like
the notes of tin whistles. All these wonders had been made by the clever Winkie
tinsmiths, who wound the birds up every morning so that they would move about and
After breakfast the boy went into the throne room, where the Emperor was having his tin
joints carefully oiled by a servant, while other servants were stuffing sweet, fresh straw
into the body of the Scarecrow.
Woot watched this operation with much interest, for the Scarecrow's body was only a suit
of clothes filled with straw. The coat was buttoned tight to keep the packed straw from
falling out and a rope was tied around the waist to hold it in shape and prevent the straw
from sagging down. The Scarecrow's head was a gunnysack filled with bran, on which
the eyes, nose and mouth had been painted. His hands were white cotton gloves stuffed
with fine straw. Woot noticed that even when carefully stuffed and patted into shape, the
straw man was awkward in his movements and decidedly wobbly on his feet, so the boy
wondered if the Scarecrow would be able to travel with them all the way to the forests of
the Munchkin Country of Oz.
The preparations made for this important journey were very simple. A knapsack was
filled with food and given Woot the Wanderer to carry upon his back, for the food was
for his use alone. The Tin Woodman shouldered an axe which was sharp and brightly
polished, and the Scarecrow put the Emperor's oil-can in his pocket, that he might oil his
friend's joints should they need it.
"Who will govern the Winkie Country during your absence?" asked the boy.
"Why, the Country will run itself," answered the Emperor. "As a matter of fact, my
people do not need an Emperor, for Ozma of Oz watches over the welfare of all her
subjects, including the Winkies. Like a good many kings and emperors, I have a grand
title, but very little real power, which allows me time to amuse myself in my own way.
The people of Oz have but one law to obey, which is: 'Behave Yourself,' so it is easy for
them to abide by this Law, and you'll notice they behave very well. But it is time for us to
be off, and I am eager to start because I suppose that that poor Munchkin girl is anxiously
awaiting my coming."
"She's waited a long time already, seems to me," remarked the Scarecrow, as they left the
grounds of the castle and followed a path that led eastward.