FictionForest

Chapter 15 – The Man of Tin

L. Frank BaumOct 05, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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Ozma and Dorothy were quite pleased with Woot the
Wanderer, whom they found modest and intelligent and
very well mannered. The boy was truly grateful for his
release from the cruel enchantment, and he promised to
love, revere and defend the girl Ruler of Oz forever
afterward, as a faithful subject.

“You may visit me at my palace, if you wish,” said
Ozma, “where I will be glad to introduce you to two
other nice boys, Ojo the Munchkin and Button-Bright.”

“Thank your Majesty,” replied Woot, and then he
turned to the Tin Woodman and inquired: “What are your
further plans, Mr. Emperor? Will you still seek Nimmie
Amee and marry her, or will you abandon the quest and
return to the Emerald City and your own castle?”

The Tin Woodman, now as highly polished and well-
oiled as ever, reflected a while on this question and
then answered:

“Well, I see no reason why I should not find Nimmie
Amee. We are now in the Munchkin Country, where we are
perfectly safe, and if it was right for me, before our
enchantment, to marry Nimmie Amee and make her Empress
of the Winkies, it must be right now, when the
enchantment has been broken and I am once more myself.
Am I correct, friend Scarecrow?”

“You are, indeed,” answered the Scarecrow. “No one
can oppose such logic.”

“But I’m afraid you don’t love Nimmie Amee,”
suggested Dorothy.

“That is just because I can’t love anyone,” replied
the Tin Woodman. “But, if I cannot love my wife, I can
at least be kind to her, and all husbands are not able
to do that.”

“Do you s’pose Nimmie Amee still loves you, after all
these years?” asked Dorothy

“I’m quite sure of it, and that is why I am going to
her to make her happy. Woot the Wanderer thinks I ought
to reward her for being faithful to me after my meat
body was chopped to pieces and I became tin. What do
you think, Ozma?”

Ozma smiled as she said:

“I do not know your Nimmie Amee, and so I cannot tell
what she most needs to make her happy. But there is no
harm in your going to her and asking her if she still
wishes to marry you. If she does, we will give you a
grand wedding at the Emerald City and, afterward, as
Empress of the Winkies, Nimmie Amee would become one
of the most important ladies in all Oz.”

So it was decided that the Tin Woodman would continue
his journey, and that the Scarecrow and Woot the
Wanderer should accompany him, as before. Polychrome
also decided to join their party, somewhat to the
surprise of all.

“I hate to be cooped up in a palace,” she said to
Ozma, “and of course the first time I meet my Rainbow I
shall return to my own dear home in the skies, where my
fairy sisters are even now awaiting me and my father is
cross because I get lost so often. But I can find my
Rainbow just as quickly while traveling in the Munchkin
Country as I could if living in the Emerald City — or
any other place in Oz — so I shall go with the Tin
Woodman and help him woo Nimmie Amee.”

Dorothy wanted to go, too, but as the Tin Woodman did
not invite her to join his party, she felt she might be
intruding if she asked to be taken. she hinted, but she
found he didn’t take the hint. It is quite a delicate
matter for one to ask a girl to marry him, however much
she loves him, and perhaps the Tin Woodman did not
desire to have too many looking on when he found his
old sweetheart, Nimmie Amee. So Dorothy contented
herself with the thought that she would help Ozma
prepare a splendid wedding feast, to be followed by a
round of parties and festivities when the Emperor of
the Winkies reached the Emerald City with his bride.

Ozma offered to take them all in the Red Wagon to a
place as near to the great Munchkin forest as a wagon
could get. The Red Wagon was big enough to seat them
all, and so, bidding good-bye to Jinjur, who gave Woot
a basket of ripe cream-puffs and caramels to take with
him, Ozma commanded the Wooden Sawhorse to start, and
the strange creature moved swiftly over the lanes and
presently came to the Road of Yellow Bricks. This road
led straight to a dense forest, where the path was too
narrow for the Red Wagon to proceed farther, so here
the party separated.

Ozma and Dorothy and Toto returned to the Emerald
City, after wishing their friends a safe and successful
journey, while the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, Woot the
Wanderer and Polychrome, the Rainbow’s Daughter,
prepared to push their way through the thick forest.
However, these forest paths were well known to the Tin
Man and the Scarecrow, who felt quite at home among the
trees.

“I was born in this grand forest,” said Nick Chopper,
the tin Emperor, speaking proudly, “and it was here
that the Witch enchanted my axe and I lost different
parts of my meat body until I became all tin. Here,
also — for it is a big forest — Nimmie Amee lived
with the Wicked Witch, and at the other edge of the
trees stands the cottage of my friend Ku-Klip, the
famous tinsmith who made my present beautiful form.”

“He must be a clever workman,” declared Woot,
admiringly.

“He is simply wonderful,” declared the Tin Woodman.

“I shall be glad to make his acquaintance,” said
Woot.

“If you wish to meet with real cleverness,” remarked
the Scarecrow, “you should visit the Munchkin farmer
who first made me. I won’t say that my friend the
Emperor isn’t all right for a tin man, but any judge of
beauty can understand that a Scarecrow is far more
artistic and refined.”

“You are too soft and flimsy,” said the Tin Woodman.

“You are too hard and stiff,” said the Scarecrow, and
this was as near to quarreling as the two friends ever
came. Polychrome laughed at them both, as well she
might, and Woot hastened to change the subject.

At night they all camped underneath the trees. The
boy ate cream-puffs for supper and offered Polychrome
some, but she preferred other food and at daybreak
sipped the dew that was clustered thick on the forest
flowers. Then they tramped onward again, and presently
the Scarecrow paused and said:

“It was on this very spot that Dorothy and I first
met the Tin Woodman, who was rusted so badly that none
of his joints would move. But after we had oiled him
up, he was as good as new and accompanied us to the
Emerald City.”

“Ah, that was a sad experience,” asserted the Tin
Woodman soberly. “I was caught in a rainstorm while
chopping down a tree for exercise, and before I
realized it, I was firmly rusted in every joint. There
I stood, axe in hand, but unable to move, for days and
weeks and months! Indeed, I have never known exactly
how long the time was; but finally along came Dorothy
and I was saved. See! This is the very tree I was
chopping at the time I rusted.”

“You cannot be far from your old home, in that case,”
said Woot.

“No; my little cabin stands not a great way off, but
there is no occasion for us to visit it. Our errand is
with Nimmie Amee, and her house is somewhat farther
away, to the left of us.”

“Didn’t you say she lives with a Wicked Witch, who
makes her a slave?” asked the boy.

“She did, but she doesn’t,” was the reply. “I am told
the Witch was destroyed when Dorothy’s house fell on
her, so now Nimmie Amee must live all alone. I haven’t
seen her, of course, since the Witch was crushed, for
at that time I was standing rusted in the forest and
had been there a long time, but the poor girl must have
felt very happy to be free from her cruel mistress.”

“Well,” said the Scarecrow, “let’s travel on and find
Nimmie Amee. Lead on, your Majesty, since you know the
way, and we will follow.”

So the Tin Woodman took a path that led through the
thickest part of the forest, and they followed it for
some time. The light was dim here, because vines and
bushes and leafy foliage were all about them, and often
the Tin Man had to push aside the branches that
obstructed their way, or cut them off with his axe.
After they had proceeded some distance, the Emperor
suddenly stopped short and exclaimed: “Good gracious!”

The Scarecrow, who was next, first bumped into his
friend and then peered around his tin body, and said in
a tone of wonder:

“Well, I declare!”

Woot the Wanderer pushed forward to see what was the
matter, and cried out in astonishment: “For goodness’
sake!”

Then the three stood motionless, staring hard, until
Polychrome’s merry laughter rang out behind them and
aroused them from their stupor.

In the path before them stood a tin man who was the
exact duplicate of the Tin Woodman. He was of the same
size, he was jointed in the same manner, and he was
made of shining tin from top to toe. But he stood
immovable, with his tin jaws half parted and his tin
eyes turned upward. In one of his hands was held a
long, gleaming sword. Yes, there was the difference,
the only thing that distinguished him from the Emperor
of the Winkies. This tin man bore a sword, while the
Tin Woodman bore an axe.

“It’s a dream; it must be a dream!” gasped Woot.

“That’s it, of course,” said the Scarecrow; “there
couldn’t be two Tin Woodmen.”

“No,” agreed Polychrome, dancing nearer to the
stranger, “this one is a Tin Soldier. Don’t you see his
sword?”

The Tin Woodman cautiously put out one tin hand and
felt of his double’s arm. Then he said in a voice that
trembled with emotion:

“Who are you, friend?”

There was no reply

“Can’t you see he’s rusted, just as you were once?”
asked Polychrome, laughing again. “Here, Nick Chopper,
lend me your oil-can a minute!”

The Tin Woodman silently handed her his oil-can,
without which he never traveled, and Polychrome
first oiled the stranger’s tin jaws and then worked
them gently to and fro until the Tin Soldier said:

“That’s enough. Thank you. I can now talk. But please
oil my other joints.”

Woot seized the oil-can and did this, but all the
others helped wiggle the soldier’s joints as soon as
they were oiled, until they moved freely.

The Tin Soldier seemed highly pleased at his release.
He strutted up and down the path, saying in a high,
thin voice:

“The Soldier is a splendid man
When marching on parade,
And when he meets the enemy
He never is afraid.

He rights the wrongs of nations,
His country’s flag defends,
The foe he’ll fight with great delight,
But seldom fights his friends.”

 

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