The Tin Woodman of Oz HTML version

19. The Invisible Country
They were proceeding so easily and comfortably on their way to Mount Munch that Woot
said in a serious tone of voice:
"I'm afraid something is going to happen."
"Why?" asked Polychrome, dancing around the group of travelers.
"Because," said the boy, thoughtfully, "I've noticed that when we have the least reason
for getting into trouble, something is sure to go wrong. Just now the weather is delightful;
the grass is beautifully blue and quite soft to our feet; the mountain we are seeking shows
clearly in the distance and there is no reason anything should happen to delay us in
getting there. Our troubles all seem to be over, and -- well, that's why I'm afraid," he
added, with a sigh.
"Dear me!" remarked the Scarecrow, "what unhappy thoughts you have, to be sure. This
is proof that born brains cannot equal manufactured brains, for my brains dwell only on
facts and never borrow trouble. When there is occasion for my brains to think, they think,
but I would be ashamed of my brains if they kept shooting out thoughts that were merely
fears and imaginings, such as do no good, but are likely to do harm."
"For my part," said the Tin Woodman, "I do not think at all, but allow my velvet heart to
guide me at all times."
"The tinsmith filled my hollow head with scraps and clippings of tin," said the Soldier,
"and he told me they would do nicely for brains, but when I begin to think, the tin scraps
rattle around and get so mixed that I'm soon bewildered. So I try not to think. My tin
heart is almost as useless to me, for it is hard and cold, so I'm sure the red velvet heart of
my friend Nick Chopper is a better guide."
"Thoughtless people are not unusual," observed the Scarecrow, "but I consider them more
fortunate than those who have useless or wicked thoughts and do not try to curb them.
Your oil can, friend Woodman, is filled with oil, but you only apply the oil to your joints,
drop by drop, as you need it, and do not keep spilling it where it will do no good.
Thoughts should be restrained in the same way as your oil, and only applied when
necessary, and for a good purpose. If used carefully, thoughts are good things to have."
Polychrome laughed at him, for the Rainbow's Daughter knew more about thoughts than
the Scarecrow did. But the others were solemn, feeling they had been rebuked, and
tramped on in silence.
Suddenly Woot, who was in the lead, looked around and found that all his comrades had
mysteriously disappeared. But where could they have gone to? The broad plain was all
about him and there were neither trees nor bushes that could hide even a rabbit, nor any
hole for one to fall into. Yet there he stood, alone.