FictionForest

Chapter 16 – Captain Fyter

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

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“Are you really a soldier?” asked Woot, when they had
all watched this strange tin person parade up and down
the path and proudly flourish his sword.

“I was a soldier,” was the reply, “but I’ve been a
prisoner to Mr. Rust so long that I don’t know exactly
what I am.”

“But — dear me!” cried the Tin Woodman, sadly
perplexed; “how came you to be made of tin?”

“That,” answered the Soldier, “is a sad, sad story I
was in love with a beautiful Munchkin girl, who lived
with a Wicked Witch. The Witch did not wish me to marry
the girl, so she enchanted my sword, which began
hacking me to pieces. When I lost my legs I went to the
tinsmith, Ku-Klip, and he made me some tin legs. When I
lost my arms, Ku-Klip made me tin arms, and when I lost
my head he made me this fine one out of tin. It was the
same way with my body, and finally I was all tin. But I
was not unhappy, for Ku-Klip made a good job of me,
having had experience in making another tin man before
me.”

“Yes,” observed the Tin Woodman, “it was Ku-Klip who
made me. But, tell me, what was the name of the
Munchkin girl you were in love with?”

“She is called Nimmie Amee,” said the Tin Soldier.

Hearing this, they were all so astonished that they
were silent for a time, regarding the stranger with
wondering looks. Finally the Tin Woodman ventured to
ask:

“And did Nimmie Amee return your love?”

“Not at first,” admitted the Soldier. “When first I
marched into the forest and met her, she was weeping
over the loss of her former sweetheart, a woodman whose
name was Nick Chopper.”

“That is me,” said the Tin Woodman.

“She told me he was nicer than a soldier, because he
was all made of tin and shone beautifully in the sun.
She said a tin man appealed to her artistic instincts
more than an ordinary meat man, as I was then. But I
did not despair, because her tin sweetheart had
disappeared, and could not be found. And finally Nimmie
Amee permitted me to call upon her and we became
friends. It was then that the Wicked Witch discovered
me and became furiously angry when I said I wanted to
marry the girl. She enchanted my sword, as I said, and
then my troubles began. When I got my tin legs, Nimmie
Amee began to take an interest in me; when I got my tin
arms, she began to like me better than ever, and when I
was all made of tin, she said I looked like her dear
Nick Chopper and she would be willing to marry me.

“The day of our wedding was set, and it turned out to
be a rainy day. Nevertheless I started out to get
Nimmie Amee, because the Witch had been absent for some
time, and we meant to elope before she got back. As I
traveled the forest paths the rain wetted my joints,
but I paid no attention to this because my thoughts
were all on my wedding with beautiful Nimmie Amee and I
could think of nothing else until suddenly my legs
stopped moving. Then my arms rusted at the joints and I
became frightened and cried for help, for now I was
unable to oil myself. No one heard my calls and before
long my jaws rusted, and I was unable to utter another
sound. So I stood helpless in this spot, hoping some
wanderer would come my way and save me. But this forest
path is seldom used, and I have been standing here so
long that I have lost all track of time. In my mind I
composed poetry and sang songs, but not a sound have I
been able to utter. But this desperate condition has
now been relieved by your coming my way and I must
thank you for my rescue.”

“This is wonderful!” said the Scarecrow, heaving a
stuffy, long sigh. “I think Ku-Klip was wrong to make
two tin men, just alike, and the strangest thing of all
is that both you tin men fell in love with the same
girl.”

“As for that,” returned the Soldier, seriously, “I
must admit I lost my ability to love when I lost my
meat heart. Ku-Klip gave me a tin heart, to be sure,
but it doesn’t love anything, as far as I can discover,
and merely rattles against my tin ribs, which makes me
wish I had no heart at all.”

“Yet, in spite of this condition, you were going to
marry Nimmie Amee?”

“Well, you see I had promised to marry her, and I am
an honest man and always try to keep my promises. I
didn’t like to disappoint the poor girl, who had been
disappointed by one tin man already.”

“That was not my fault,” declared the Emperor of the
Winkies, and then he related how he, also, had rusted
in the forest and after a long time had been rescued by
Dorothy and the Scarecrow and had traveled with them to
the Emerald City in search of a heart that could love.

“If you have found such a heart, sir,” said the
Soldier, “I will gladly allow you to marry Nimmie Amee
in my place.”

“If she loves you best, sir,” answered the Woodman,
“I shall not interfere with your wedding her. For, to
be quite frank with you, I cannot yet love Nimmie Amee
as I did before I became tin.”

“Still, one of you ought to marry the poor girl,”
remarked Woot; “and, if she likes tin men, there is not
much choice between you. Why don’t you draw lots for
her?”

“That wouldn’t be right,” said the Scarecrow.

“The girl should be permitted to choose her own
husband,” asserted Polychrome. “You should both go to
her and allow her to take her choice. Then she will
surely be happy.”

“That, to me, seems a very fair arrangement,” said
the Tin Soldier.

“I agree to it,” said the Tin Woodman, shaking the
hand of his twin to show the matter was settled. “May I
ask your name, sir?” he continued.

“Before I was so cut up,” replied the other, “I was
known as Captain Fyter, but afterward I was merely
called ‘The Tin Soldier.'”

“Well, Captain, if you are agreeable, let us now go
to Nimmie Amee’s house and let her choose between us.”

“Very well; and if we meet the Witch, we will both
fight her — you with your axe and I with my sword.”

“The Witch is destroyed,” announced the Scarecrow,
and as they walked away he told the Tin Soldier of much
that had happened in the Land of Oz since he had stood
rusted in the forest.

“I must have stood there longer than I had imagined,”
he said thoughtfully

 

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