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The Wizard of Oz - Chapter 8



the trees beside the river. Behind them was the dark forest

they had passed safely through, although they had suffered many

discouragements; but before them was a lovely, sunny country that

seemed to beckon them on to the Emerald City.

To be sure, the broad river now cut them off from this beautiful land.

But the raft was nearly done, and after the Tin Woodman had cut a few

more logs and fastened them together with wooden pins, they were ready

to start. Dorothy sat down in the middle of the raft and held Toto in

her arms. When the Cowardly Lion stepped upon the raft it tipped

badly, for he was big and heavy; but the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman

stood upon the other end to steady it, and they had long poles in their

hands to push the raft through the water.

They got along quite well at first, but when they reached the middle of

the river the swift current swept the raft downstream, farther and

farther away from the road of yellow brick. And the water grew so deep

that the long poles would not touch the bottom.

"This is bad," said the Tin Woodman, "for if we cannot get to the land

we shall be carried into the country of the Wicked Witch of the West,

and she will enchant us and make us her slaves."

"And then I should get no brains," said the Scarecrow.

"And I should get no courage," said the Cowardly Lion.

"And I should get no heart," said the Tin Woodman.

"And I should never get back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

"We must certainly get to the Emerald City if we can," the Scarecrow

continued, and he pushed so hard on his long pole that it stuck fast in

the mud at the bottom of the river. Then, before he could pull it out

again--or let go--the raft was swept away, and the poor Scarecrow was left

clinging to the pole in the middle of the river.

"Good-bye!" he called after them, and they were very sorry to leave

him. Indeed, the Tin Woodman began to cry, but fortunately remembered

that he might rust, and so dried his tears on Dorothy's apron.

Of course this was a bad thing for the Scarecrow.

"I am now worse off than when I first met Dorothy," he thought. "Then,

I was stuck on a pole in a cornfield, where I could make-believe scare

the crows, at any rate. But surely there is no use for a Scarecrow

stuck on a pole in the middle of a river. I am afraid I shall never

have any brains, after all!"

Down the stream the raft floated, and the poor Scarecrow was left far

behind. Then the Lion said:

"Something must be done to save us. I think I can swim to the shore

and pull the raft after me, if you will only hold fast to the tip of my

tail."

So he sprang into the water, and the Tin Woodman caught fast hold of

his tail. Then the Lion began to swim with all his might toward the

shore. It was hard work, although he was so big; but by and by they

were drawn out of the current, and then Dorothy took the Tin Woodman's

long pole and helped push the raft to the land.

They were all tired out when they reached the shore at last and stepped

off upon the pretty green grass, and they also knew that the stream had

carried them a long way past the road of yellow brick that led to the

Emerald City.

"What shall we do now?" asked the Tin Woodman, as the Lion lay down on

the grass to let the sun dry him.

"We must get back to the road, in some way," said Dorothy.

"The best plan will be to walk along the riverbank until we come to the

road again," remarked the Lion.

So, when they were rested, Dorothy picked up her basket and they

started along the grassy bank, to the road from which the river had

carried them. It was a lovely country, with plenty of flowers and

fruit trees and sunshine to cheer them, and had they not felt so sorry

for the poor Scarecrow, they could have been very happy.

They walked along as fast as they could, Dorothy only stopping once to

pick a beautiful flower; and after a time the Tin Woodman cried out:

"Look!"

Then they all looked at the river and saw the Scarecrow perched upon

his pole in the middle of the water, looking very lonely and sad.

"What can we do to save him?" asked Dorothy.

The Lion and the Woodman both shook their heads, for they did not know.

So they sat down upon the bank and gazed wistfully at the Scarecrow

until a Stork flew by, who, upon seeing them, stopped to rest at the

water's edge.

"Who are you and where are you going?" asked the Stork.

"I am Dorothy," answered the girl, "and these are my friends, the Tin

Woodman and the Cowardly Lion; and we are going to the Emerald City."

"This isn't the road," said the Stork, as she twisted her long neck and

looked sharply at the queer party.

"I know it," returned Dorothy, "but we have lost the Scarecrow, and are

wondering how we shall get him again."

"Where is he?" asked the Stork.

"Over there in the river," answered the little girl.

"If he wasn't so big and heavy I would get him for you," remarked the

Stork.

"He isn't heavy a bit," said Dorothy eagerly, "for he is stuffed with

straw; and if you will bring him back to us, we shall thank you ever

and ever so much."

"Well, I'll try," said the Stork, "but if I find he is too heavy to

carry I shall have to drop him in the river again."

So the big bird flew into the air and over the water till she came to

where the Scarecrow was perched upon his pole. Then the Stork with her

great claws grabbed the Scarecrow by the arm and carried him up into

the air and back to the bank, where Dorothy and the Lion and the Tin

Woodman and Toto were sitting.

When the Scarecrow found himself among his friends again, he was so

happy that he hugged them all, even the Lion and Toto; and as they

walked along he sang "Tol-de-ri-de-oh!" at every step, he felt so gay.

"I was afraid I should have to stay in the river forever," he said,

"but the kind Stork saved me, and if I ever get any brains I shall find

the Stork again and do her some kindness in return."

"That's all right," said the Stork, who was flying along beside them.

"I always like to help anyone in trouble. But I must go now, for my

babies are waiting in the nest for me. I hope you will find the

Emerald City and that Oz will help you."

"Thank you," replied Dorothy, and then the kind Stork flew into the air

and was soon out of sight.

They walked along listening to the singing of the brightly colored

birds and looking at the lovely flowers which now became so thick that

the ground was carpeted with them. There were big yellow and white and

blue and purple blossoms, besides great clusters of scarlet poppies,

which were so brilliant in color they almost dazzled Dorothy's eyes.

"Aren't they beautiful?" the girl asked, as she breathed in the spicy

scent of the bright flowers.

"I suppose so," answered the Scarecrow. "When I have brains, I shall

probably like them better."

"If I only had a heart, I should love them," added the Tin Woodman.

"I always did like flowers," said the Lion. "They seem so helpless

and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these."

They now came upon more and more of the big scarlet poppies, and fewer

and fewer of the other flowers; and soon they found themselves in the

midst of a great meadow of poppies. Now it is well known that when

there are many of these flowers together their odor is so powerful that

anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried

away from the scent of the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But

Dorothy did not know this, nor could she get away from the bright red

flowers that were everywhere about; so presently her eyes grew heavy

and she felt she must sit down to rest and to sleep.

But the Tin Woodman would not let her do this.

"We must hurry and get back to the road of yellow brick before dark,"

he said; and the Scarecrow agreed with him. So they kept walking until

Dorothy could stand no longer. Her eyes closed in spite of herself and

she forgot where she was and fell among the poppies, fast asleep.

"What shall we do?" asked the Tin Woodman.

"If we leave her here she will die," said the Lion. "The smell of the

flowers is killing us all. I myself can scarcely keep my eyes open,

and the dog is asleep already."

It was true; Toto had fallen down beside his little mistress. But the

Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, not being made of flesh, were not

troubled by the scent of the flowers.

"Run fast," said the Scarecrow to the Lion, "and get out of this deadly

flower bed as soon as you can. We will bring the little girl with us,

but if you should fall asleep you are too big to be carried."

So the Lion aroused himself and bounded forward as fast as he could go.

In a moment he was out of sight.

"Let us make a chair with our hands and carry her," said the Scarecrow.

So they picked up Toto and put the dog in Dorothy's lap, and then they

made a chair with their hands for the seat and their arms for the arms

and carried the sleeping girl between them through the flowers.

On and on they walked, and it seemed that the great carpet of deadly

flowers that surrounded them would never end. They followed the bend

of the river, and at last came upon their friend the Lion, lying fast

asleep among the poppies. The flowers had been too strong for the huge

beast and he had given up at last, and fallen only a short distance

from the end of the poppy bed, where the sweet grass spread in

beautiful green fields before them.

"We can do nothing for him," said the Tin Woodman, sadly; "for he is

much too heavy to lift. We must leave him here to sleep on forever,

and perhaps he will dream that he has found courage at last."

"I'm sorry," said the Scarecrow. "The Lion was a very good comrade for

one so cowardly. But let us go on."

They carried the sleeping girl to a pretty spot beside the river, far

enough from the poppy field to prevent her breathing any more of the

poison of the flowers, and here they laid her gently on the soft grass

and waited for the fresh breeze to waken her.


Quiz Questions:

  1. What did the Tin Woodman use to fasten the logs together to make the raft?

  • A. Rope

  • B. Chains

  • C. Wooden pins

  • D. Nails

  1. Why did the Scarecrow become separated from Dorothy and the others in the middle of the river?

  • A. He fell asleep

  • B. He was captured by flying monkeys

  • C. His pole got stuck in the mud

  • D. The raft was swept away

  1. Who came to rescue the Scarecrow from the river?

  • A. A fisherman

  • B. A stork

  • C. A mermaid

  • D. A boatman

  1. What did Dorothy and her friends encounter in the meadow of poppies?

  • A. Flying monkeys

  • B. Deadly flowers with a sleep-inducing scent

  • C. Kalidahs

  • D. Wicked Witch of the West

  1. How did they manage to save Dorothy from the effects of the poppy field?

  • A. They carried her out of the field

  • B. They woke her up with cold water

  • C. They used magic to counteract the poppy's effects

  • D. They waited for a strong wind to blow away the poppies' scent

Answers:

  1. C. Wooden pins

  2. C. His pole got stuck in the mud

  3. B. A stork

  4. B. Deadly flowers with a sleep-inducing scent

  5. A. They carried her out of the field

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