FictionForest

Chapter 17 – The Workshop of Ku-Klip

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

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It was not more than a two hours’ journey to the house
where Nimmie Amee had lived, but when our travelers
arrived there they found the place deserted. The door
was partly off its hinges, the roof had fallen in at
the rear and the interior of the cottage was thick with
dust. Not only was the place vacant, but it was evident
that no one had lived there for a long time.

“I suppose,” said the Scarecrow, as they all stood
looking wonderingly at the ruined house, “that after
the Wicked Witch was destroyed, Nimmie Amee became
lonely and went somewhere else to live.”

“One could scarcely expect a young girl to live all
alone in a forest,” added Woot. “She would want
company, of course, and so I believe she has gone where
other people live.”

“And perhaps she is still crying her poor little
heart out because no tin man comes to marry her,”
suggested Polychrome.

“Well, in that case, it is the clear duty of you two
tin persons to seek Nimmie Amee until you find her,”
declared the Scarecrow.

“I do not know where to look for the girl,” said the
Tin Soldier, “for I am almost a stranger to this part
of the country.”

“I was born here,” said the Tin Woodman, “but the
forest has few inhabitants except the wild beasts. I
cannot think of anyone living near here with whom
Nimmie Amee might care to live.”

“Why not go to Ku-Klip and ask him what has become of
the girl?” proposed Polychrome.

That struck them all as being a good suggestion, so
once more they started to tramp through the forest,
taking the direct path to Ku-Klip’s house, for both the
tin twins knew the way, having followed it many times.

Ku-Klip lived at the far edge of the great forest,
his house facing the broad plains of the Munchkin
Country that lay to the eastward. But, when they came
to this residence by the forest’s edge, the tinsmith
was not at home.

It was a pretty place, all painted dark blue with
trimmings of lighter blue. There was a neat blue fence
around the yard and several blue benches had been
placed underneath the shady blue trees which marked the
line between forest and plain. There was a blue lawn
before the house, which was a good sized building. Ku-
Klip lived in the front part of the house and had his
work-shop in the back part, where he had also built a
lean-to addition, in order to give him more room.

Although they found the tinsmith absent on their
arrival, there was smoke coming out of his chimney,
which proved that he would soon return.

“And perhaps Nimmie Amee will be with him,” said the
Scarecrow in a cheerful voice.

While they waited, the Tin Woodman went to the door
of the workshop and, finding it unlocked, entered and
looked curiously around the room where he had been
made.

“It seems almost like home to me,” hie told his
friends, who had followed him in. “The first time I
came here I had lost a leg, so I had to carry it in my
hand while I hopped on the other leg all the way from
the place in the forest where the enchanted axe cut me.
I remember that old Ku-Klip carefully put my meat leg
into a barrel — I think that is the same barrel, still
standing in the corner yonder — and then at once he
began to make a tin leg for me. He worked fast and with
skill, and I was much interested in the job.”

“My experience was much the same,” said the Tin
Soldier. “I used to bring all the parts of me, which
the enchanted sword had cut away, here to the tinsmith,
and Ku-Klip would put them into the barrel.”

“I wonder,” said Woot, “if those cast-off parts of you two
unfortunates are still in that barrel in the corner?”

“I suppose so.” replied the Tin Woodman. “In the Land
of Oz no part of a living creature can ever be destroyed.”

“If that is true, how was that Wicked Witch destroyed?” inquired Woot.

“Why, she was very old and was all dried up and
withered before Oz became a fairyland,” explained the
Scarecrow. “Only her magic arts had kept her alive so
long, and when Dorothy’s house fell upon her she just
turned to dust, and was blown away and scattered by the
wind. I do not think, however, that the parts cut away
from these two young men could ever be entirely
destroyed and, if they are still in those barrels,
they are likely to be just the same as when the
enchanted axe or sword severed them.”

“It doesn’t matter, however,” said the Tin Woodman;
“our tin bodies are more brilliant and durable, and
quite satisfy us.”

“Yes, the tin bodies are best,” agreed the Tin
Soldier. “Nothing can hurt them.”

“Unless they get dented or rusted,” said Woot, but
both the tin men frowned on him.

Scraps of tin, of all shapes and sizes, lay scattered
around the workshop. Also there were hammers and anvils
and soldering irons and a charcoal furnace and many
other tools such as a tinsmith works with. Against two
of the side walls had been built stout work-benches and
in the center of the room was a long table. At the end of
the shop, which adjoined the dwelling, were several cupboards.

After examining the interior of the workshop until
his curiosity was satisfied, Woot said;

“I think I will go outside until Ku-Klip comes. It
does not seem quite proper for us to take possession of
his house while he is absent.”

“That is true,” agreed the Scarecrow, and they were
all about to leave the room when the Tin Woodman said:
“Wait a minute,” and they halted in obedience to the
command.

 

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