FictionForest

Chapter 23 – Through the Tunnel

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

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It didn’t rain just then, although the clouds in the
sky grew thicker and more threatening. Polychrome hoped
for a thunder-storm, followed by her Rainbow, but the
two tin men did not relish the idea of getting wet.
They even preferred to remain in Nimmie Amee’s house,
although they felt they were not welcome there, rather
than go out and face the coming storm. But the
Scarecrow, who was a very thoughtful person, said to
his friends:

“If we remain here until after the storm, and
Polychrome goes away on her Rainbow, then we
will be prisoners inside the Wall of Solid Air; so
it seems best to start upon our return journey at
once. If I get wet, my straw stuffing will be ruined,
and if you two tin gentlemen get wet, you may
perhaps rust again, and become useless. But even
that is better than to stay here. Once we are free
of the barrier, we have Woot the Wanderer to help
us, and he can oil your joints and restuff my body,
if it becomes necessary, for the boy is made of meat,
which neither rusts nor gets soggy or moldy.”

“Come along, then!” cried Polychrome from the window,
and the others, realizing the wisdom of the Scarecrow’s
speech, took leave of Nimmie Amee, who was glad to be
rid of them, and said good-bye to her husband, who
merely scowled and made no answer, and then they
hurried from the house.

“Your old parts are not very polite, I must say,”
remarked the Scarecrow, when they were in the garden.

“No,” said Woot, “Chopfyt is a regular grouch. He
might have wished us a pleasant journey, at the very
least.”

“I beg you not to hold us responsible for that
creature’s actions,” pleaded the Tin Woodman. “We are
through with Chopfyt and shall have nothing further to
do with him.”

Polychrome danced ahead of the party and led them
straight to the burrow of the Blue Rabbit, which they
might have had some difficulty in finding without her.
There she lost no time in making them all small again.
The Blue Rabbit was busy nibbling cabbage leaves in
Nimmie Amee’s garden, so they did not ask his
permission but at once entered the burrow.

Even now the raindrops were beginning to fall, but it
was quite dry inside the tunnel and by the time they
had reached the other end, outside the circular Wall of
Solid Air, the storm was at its height and the rain was
coming down in torrents.

“Let us wait here,” proposed Polychrome, peering out
of the hole and then quickly retreating. “The Rainbow
won’t appear until after the storm and I can make you
big again in a jiffy, before I join my sisters on our
bow.”

“That’s a good plan,” said the Scarecrow approvingly.
“It will save me from getting soaked and soggy.”

“It will save me from rusting,” said the Tin Soldier.

“It will enable me to remain highly polished,” said
the Tin Woodman.

“Oh, as for that, I myself prefer not to get my
pretty clothes wet,” laughed the Rainbow’s daughter.

“But while we wait I will bid you all adieu. I must
also thank you for saving me from that dreadful
Giantess, Mrs. Yoop. You have been good and patient
comrades and I have enjoyed our adventures together,
but I am never so happy as when on my dear Rainbow.”

“Will your father scold you for getting left on the
earth?” asked Woot.

“I suppose so,” said Polychrome gaily; “I’m always
getting scolded for my mad pranks, as they are called.
My sisters are so sweet and lovely and proper that they
never dance off our Rainbow, and so they never have any
adventures. Adventures to me are good fun, only I never
like to stay too long on earth, because I really don’t
belong here. I shall tell my Father the Rainbow that
I’ll try not to be so careless again, and he will
forgive me because in our sky mansions there is always
joy and happiness.”

They were indeed sorry to part with their dainty and
beautiful companion and assured her of their devotion
if they ever chanced to meet again. She shook hands
with the Scarecrow and the Tin Men and kissed Woot the
Wanderer lightly upon his forehead.

And then the rain suddenly ceased, and as the tiny
people left the burrow of the Blue Rabbit, a glorious
big Rainbow appeared in the sky and the end of its arch
slowly descended and touched the ground just where they
stood.

Woot was so busy watching a score of lovely maidens
— sisters of Polychrome — who were leaning over the
edge of the bow, and another score who danced gaily
amid the radiance of the splendid hues, that he did not
notice he was growing big again. But now Polychrome
joined her sisters on the Rainbow and the huge arch
lifted and slowly melted away as the sun burst from the
clouds and sent its own white beams dancing over the
meadows.

“Why, she’s gone!” exclaimed the boy, and turned to
see his companions still waving their hands in token of
adieu to the vanished Polychrome.

 

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