19. Attacked by the Fighting Trees
The next morning Dorothy kissed the pretty green girl good-bye,
and they all shook hands with the soldier with the green whiskers,
who had walked with them as far as the gate. When the Guardian of
the Gate saw them again he wondered greatly that they could leave
the beautiful City to get into new trouble. But he at once
unlocked their spectacles, which he put back into the green box,
and gave them many good wishes to carry with them.
"You are now our ruler," he said to the Scarecrow;
"so you must come back to us as soon as possible."
"I certainly shall if I am able," the Scarecrow replied;
"but I must help Dorothy to get home, first."
As Dorothy bade the good-natured Guardian a last farewell she said:
"I have been very kindly treated in your lovely City, and
everyone has been good to me. I cannot tell you how grateful I am."
"Don't try, my dear," he answered. "We should like to keep
you with us, but if it is your wish to return to Kansas, I hope
you will find a way." He then opened the gate of the outer wall,
and they walked forth and started upon their journey.
The sun shone brightly as our friends turned their faces
toward the Land of the South. They were all in the best of spirits,
and laughed and chatted together. Dorothy was once more filled with
the hope of getting home, and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman were
glad to be of use to her. As for the Lion, he sniffed the fresh air
with delight and whisked his tail from side to side in pure joy at
being in the country again, while Toto ran around them and chased
the moths and butterflies, barking merrily all the time.
"City life does not agree with me at all," remarked the Lion,
as they walked along at a brisk pace. "I have lost much flesh
since I lived there, and now I am anxious for a chance to show the
other beasts how courageous I have grown."
They now turned and took a last look at the Emerald City.
All they could see was a mass of towers and steeples behind the
green walls, and high up above everything the spires and dome
of the Palace of Oz.
"Oz was not such a bad Wizard, after all," said the Tin
Woodman, as he felt his heart rattling around in his breast.
"He knew how to give me brains, and very good brains, too,"
said the Scarecrow.
"If Oz had taken a dose of the same courage he gave me,"
added the Lion, "he would have been a brave man."
Dorothy said nothing. Oz had not kept the promise he made her,
but he had done his best, so she forgave him. As he said, he was
a good man, even if he was a bad Wizard.
The first day's journey was through the green fields and
bright flowers that stretched about the Emerald City on every side.
They slept that night on the grass, with nothing but the stars
over them; and they rested very well indeed.
In the morning they traveled on until they came to a thick wood.
There was no way of going around it, for it seemed to extend to the
right and left as far as they could see; and, besides, they did not
dare change the direction of their journey for fear of getting lost.
So they looked for the place where it would be easiest to get into
The Scarecrow, who was in the lead, finally discovered a big
tree with such wide-spreading branches that there was room for the
party to pass underneath. So he walked forward to the tree, but
just as he came under the first branches they bent down and twined
around him, and the next minute he was raised from the ground and
flung headlong among his fellow travelers.
This did not hurt the Scarecrow, but it surprised him, and he
looked rather dizzy when Dorothy picked him up.
"Here is another space between the trees," called the Lion.
"Let me try it first," said the Scarecrow, "for it doesn't hurt
me to get thrown about." He walked up to another tree, as he spoke,
but its branches immediately seized him and tossed him back again.
"This is strange," exclaimed Dorothy. "What shall we do?"
"The trees seem to have made up their minds to fight us,
and stop our journey," remarked the Lion.
"I believe I will try it myself," said the Woodman, and
shouldering his axe, he marched up to the first tree that had
handled the Scarecrow so roughly. When a big branch bent down to
seize him the Woodman chopped at it so fiercely that he cut it in two.
At once the tree began shaking all its branches as if in pain, and the
Tin Woodman passed safely under it.
"Come on!" he shouted to the others. "Be quick!" They all
ran forward and passed under the tree without injury, except Toto,
who was caught by a small branch and shaken until he howled.
But the Woodman promptly chopped off the branch and set the
little dog free.
The other trees of the forest did nothing to keep them back,
so they made up their minds that only the first row of trees could
bend down their branches, and that probably these were the
policemen of the forest, and given this wonderful power in order
to keep strangers out of it.
The four travelers walked with ease through the trees until they
came to the farther edge of the wood. Then, to their surprise, they
found before them a high wall which seemed to be made of white china.
It was smooth, like the surface of a dish, and higher than their heads.
"What shall we do now?" asked Dorothy.
"I will make a ladder," said the Tin Woodman, "for we certainly
must climb over the wall."