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The Wizard of Oz - Chapter 6



All this time Dorothy and her companions had been walking through the

thick woods. The road was still paved with yellow brick, but these

were much covered by dried branches and dead leaves from the trees, and

the walking was not at all good.

There were few birds in this part of the forest, for birds love the

open country where there is plenty of sunshine. But now and then there

came a deep growl from some wild animal hidden among the trees. These

sounds made the little girl's heart beat fast, for she did not know

what made them; but Toto knew, and he walked close to Dorothy's side,

and did not even bark in return.

"How long will it be," the child asked of the Tin Woodman, "before we

are out of the forest?"

"I cannot tell," was the answer, "for I have never been to the Emerald

City. But my father went there once, when I was a boy, and he said it

was a long journey through a dangerous country, although nearer to the

city where Oz dwells the country is beautiful. But I am not afraid so

long as I have my oil-can, and nothing can hurt the Scarecrow, while

you bear upon your forehead the mark of the Good Witch's kiss, and that

will protect you from harm."

"But Toto!" said the girl anxiously. "What will protect him?"

"We must protect him ourselves if he is in danger," replied the Tin

Woodman.

Just as he spoke there came from the forest a terrible roar, and the

next moment a great Lion bounded into the road. With one blow of his

paw he sent the Scarecrow spinning over and over to the edge of the

road, and then he struck at the Tin Woodman with his sharp claws. But,

to the Lion's surprise, he could make no impression on the tin,

although the Woodman fell over in the road and lay still.

Little Toto, now that he had an enemy to face, ran barking toward the

Lion, and the great beast had opened his mouth to bite the dog, when

Dorothy, fearing Toto would be killed, and heedless of danger, rushed

forward and slapped the Lion upon his nose as hard as she could, while

she cried out:

"Don't you dare to bite Toto! You ought to be ashamed of yourself, a

big beast like you, to bite a poor little dog!"

"I didn't bite him," said the Lion, as he rubbed his nose with his paw

where Dorothy had hit it.

"No, but you tried to," she retorted. "You are nothing but a big

coward."

"I know it," said the Lion, hanging his head in shame. "I've always

known it. But how can I help it?"

"I don't know, I'm sure. To think of your striking a stuffed man, like

the poor Scarecrow!"

"Is he stuffed?" asked the Lion in surprise, as he watched her pick up

the Scarecrow and set him upon his feet, while she patted him into

shape again.

"Of course he's stuffed," replied Dorothy, who was still angry.

"That's why he went over so easily," remarked the Lion. "It astonished

me to see him whirl around so. Is the other one stuffed also?"

"No," said Dorothy, "he's made of tin." And she helped the Woodman up

again.

"That's why he nearly blunted my claws," said the Lion. "When they

scratched against the tin it made a cold shiver run down my back. What

is that little animal you are so tender of?"

"He is my dog, Toto," answered Dorothy.

"Is he made of tin, or stuffed?" asked the Lion.

"Neither. He's a--a--a meat dog," said the girl.

"Oh! He's a curious animal and seems remarkably small, now that I look

at him. No one would think of biting such a little thing, except a

coward like me," continued the Lion sadly.

"What makes you a coward?" asked Dorothy, looking at the great beast in

wonder, for he was as big as a small horse.

"It's a mystery," replied the Lion. "I suppose I was born that way.

All the other animals in the forest naturally expect me to be brave,

for the Lion is everywhere thought to be the King of Beasts. I learned

that if I roared very loudly every living thing was frightened and got

out of my way. Whenever I've met a man I've been awfully scared; but I

just roared at him, and he has always run away as fast as he could go.

If the elephants and the tigers and the bears had ever tried to fight

me, I should have run myself--I'm such a coward; but just as soon as

they hear me roar they all try to get away from me, and of course I let

them go."

"But that isn't right. The King of Beasts shouldn't be a coward," said

the Scarecrow.

"I know it," returned the Lion, wiping a tear from his eye with the tip

of his tail. "It is my great sorrow, and makes my life very unhappy.

But whenever there is danger, my heart begins to beat fast."

"Perhaps you have heart disease," said the Tin Woodman.

"It may be," said the Lion.

"If you have," continued the Tin Woodman, "you ought to be glad, for it

proves you have a heart. For my part, I have no heart; so I cannot

have heart disease."

"Perhaps," said the Lion thoughtfully, "if I had no heart I should not

be a coward."

"Have you brains?" asked the Scarecrow.

"I supposett so. I've never looked to see," replied the Lion.

"I am going to the Great Oz to ask him to give me some," remarked the

Scarecrow, "for my head is stuffed with straw."

"And I am going to ask him to give me a heart," said the Woodman.

"And I am going to ask him to send Toto and me back to Kansas," added

Dorothy.

"Do you think Oz could give me courage?" asked the Cowardly Lion.

"Just as easily as he could give me brains," said the Scarecrow.

"Or give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.

"Or send me back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

"Then, if you don't mind, I'll go with you," said the Lion, "for my

life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage."

"You will be very welcome," answered Dorothy, "for you will help to

keep away the other wild beasts. It seems to me they must be more

cowardly than you are if they allow you to scare them so easily."

"They really are," said the Lion, "but that doesn't make me any braver,

and as long as I know myself to be a coward I shall be unhappy."

So once more the little company set off upon the journey, the Lion

walking with stately strides at Dorothy's side. Toto did not approve of

this new comrade at first, for he could not forget how nearly he had

been crushed between the Lion's great jaws. But after a time he became

more at ease, and presently Toto and the Cowardly Lion had grown to be

good friends.

During the rest of that day there was no other adventure to mar the

peace of their journey. Once, indeed, the Tin Woodman stepped upon a

beetle that was crawling along the road, and killed the poor little

thing. This made the Tin Woodman very unhappy, for he was always

careful not to hurt any living creature; and as he walked along he wept

several tears of sorrow and regret. These tears ran slowly down his

face and over the hinges of his jaw, and there they rusted. When

Dorothy presently asked him a question the Tin Woodman could not open

his mouth, for his jaws were tightly rusted together. He became

greatly frightened at this and made many motions to Dorothy to relieve

him, but she could not understand. The Lion was also puzzled to know

what was wrong. But the Scarecrow seized the oil-can from Dorothy's

basket and oiled the Woodman's jaws, so that after a few moments he

could talk as well as before.

"This will serve me a lesson," said he, "to look where I step. For if

I should kill another bug or beetle I should surely cry again, and

crying rusts my jaws so that I cannot speak."

Thereafter he walked very carefully, with his eyes on the road, and

when he saw a tiny ant toiling by he would step over it, so as not to

harm it. The Tin Woodman knew very well he had no heart, and therefore

he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything.

"You people with hearts," he said, "have something to guide you, and

need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very

careful. When Oz gives me a heart of course I needn't mind so much."


QUIZ TIME!

  1. Why was the walking difficult for Dorothy and her companions in the forest?

  • A. It was too hot

  • B. The road was covered with obstacles

  • C. There were too many birds

  • D. The road was too narrow

  1. What protected Dorothy from harm according to the Tin Woodman?

  • A. Her bravery

  • B. The Tin Woodman

  • C. The Lion's roar

  • D. The Good Witch's kiss

  1. What did Dorothy do to protect Toto from the Lion?

  • A. She slapped the Lion

  • B. She ran away with Toto

  • C. She threw a stick at the Lion

  • D. She scolded the Lion

  1. Why did the Lion admit to being a coward?

  • A. He had been beaten by other animals

  • B. He was afraid of humans

  • C. He couldn't roar loudly

  • D. It was in his nature

  1. What was the Tin Woodman's reaction after accidentally killing the beetle?

  • A. He laughed

  • B. He cried tears of sorrow

  • C. He shouted in anger

  • D. He ignored it

Answers:

  1. B. The road was covered with obstacles

  2. D. The Good Witch's kiss

  3. A. She slapped the Lion

  4. D. It was in his nature

  5. B. He cried tears of sorrow

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