Chapter 8, Wizard of Oz

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Dorothy of Wizard of Oz in the Deadly Poppy FieldWhen we last saw Dorothy and her friends, they had reached a great river and the Tin Woodman was starting to make a boat.

In this episode the Scarecrow finds himself stuck up a pole once again, and the friends face a new danger, this time from a flower.

Read by Natasha. Duration 15.17

8. The Deadly Poppy Field

Our little party of travelers awakened the next morning refreshed and
full of hope, and Dorothy breakfasted like a princess off peaches and
plums from the trees beside the river. Behind them was the dark forest
they had passed safely through, although they had suffered many
discouragements; but before them was a lovely, sunny country that
seemed to beckon them on to the Emerald City.

To be sure, the broad river now cut them off from this beautiful land.
But the raft was nearly done, and after the Tin Woodman had cut a few
more logs and fastened them together with wooden pins, they were ready
to start. Dorothy sat down in the middle of the raft and held Toto in
her arms. When the Cowardly Lion stepped upon the raft it tipped
badly, for he was big and heavy; but the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman
stood upon the other end to steady it, and they had long poles in their
hands to push the raft through the water.

They got along quite well at first, but when they reached the middle of
the river the swift current swept the raft downstream, farther and
farther away from the road of yellow brick. And the water grew so deep
that the long poles would not touch the bottom.

"This is bad," said the Tin Woodman, "for if we cannot get to the land
we shall be carried into the country of the Wicked Witch of the West,
and she will enchant us and make us her slaves."

"And then I should get no brains," said the Scarecrow.

"And I should get no courage," said the Cowardly Lion.

"And I should get no heart," said the Tin Woodman.

"And I should never get back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

"We must certainly get to the Emerald City if we can," the Scarecrow
continued, and he pushed so hard on his long pole that it stuck fast in
the mud at the bottom of the river. Then, before he could pull it out
again--or let go--the raft was swept away, and the poor Scarecrow left
clinging to the pole in the middle of the river.

"Good-bye!" he called after them, and they were very sorry to leave
him. Indeed, the Tin Woodman began to cry, but fortunately remembered
that he might rust, and so dried his tears on Dorothy's apron.

Of course this was a bad thing for the Scarecrow.

"I am now worse off than when I first met Dorothy," he thought. "Then,
I was stuck on a pole in a cornfield, where I could make-believe scare
the crows, at any rate. But surely there is no use for a Scarecrow
stuck on a pole in the middle of a river. I am afraid I shall never
have any brains, after all!"

Down the stream the raft floated, and the poor Scarecrow was left far
behind. Then the Lion said:

"Something must be done to save us. I think I can swim to the shore
and pull the raft after me, if you will only hold fast to the tip of my

So he sprang into the water, and the Tin Woodman caught fast hold of
his tail. Then the Lion began to swim with all his might toward the
shore. It was hard work, although he was so big; but by and by they
were drawn out of the current, and then Dorothy took the Tin Woodman's
long pole and helped push the raft to the land.

They were all tired out when they reached the shore at last and stepped
off upon the pretty green grass, and they also knew that the stream had
carried them a long way past the road of yellow brick that led to the
Emerald City.

"What shall we do now?" asked the Tin Woodman, as the Lion lay down on
the grass to let the sun dry him.

"We must get back to the road, in some way," said Dorothy.

"The best plan will be to walk along the riverbank until we come to the
road again," remarked the Lion.

So, when they were rested, Dorothy picked up her basket and they
started along the grassy bank, to the road from which the river had
carried them. It was a lovely country, with plenty of flowers and
fruit trees and sunshine to cheer them, and had they not felt so sorry
for the poor Scarecrow, they could have been very happy.

They walked along as fast as they could, Dorothy only stopping once to
pick a beautiful flower; and after a time the Tin Woodman cried out:

Then they all looked at the river and saw the Scarecrow perched upon
his pole in the middle of the water, looking very lonely and sad.

"What can we do to save him?" asked Dorothy.

The Lion and the Woodman both shook their heads, for they did not know.
So they sat down upon the bank and gazed wistfully at the Scarecrow
until a Stork flew by, who, upon seeing them, stopped to rest at the
water's edge.

"Who are you and where are you going?" asked the Stork.

"I am Dorothy," answered the girl, "and these are my friends, the Tin
Woodman and the Cowardly Lion; and we are going to the Emerald City."

"This isn't the road," said the Stork, as she twisted her long neck and
looked sharply at the queer party.

"I know it," returned Dorothy, "but we have lost the Scarecrow, and are
wondering how we shall get him again."

"Where is he?" asked the Stork.

"Over there in the river," answered the little girl.

"If he wasn't so big and heavy I would get him for you," remarked the

"He isn't heavy a bit," said Dorothy eagerly, "for he is stuffed with
straw; and if you will bring him back to us, we shall thank you ever
and ever so much."

"Well, I'll try," said the Stork, "but if I find he is too heavy to
carry I shall have to drop him in the river again."

So the big bird flew into the air and over the water till she came to
where the Scarecrow was perched upon his pole. Then the Stork with her
great claws grabbed the Scarecrow by the arm and carried him up into
the air and back to the bank, where Dorothy and the Lion and the Tin
Woodman and Toto were sitting.

When the Scarecrow found himself among his friends again, he was so
happy that he hugged them all, even the Lion and Toto; and as they
walked along he sang "Tol-de-ri-de-oh!" at every step, he felt so gay.

"I was afraid I should have to stay in the river forever," he said,
"but the kind Stork saved me, and if I ever get any brains I shall find
the Stork again and do her some kindness in return."

"That's all right," said the Stork, who was flying along beside them.
"I always like to help anyone in trouble. But I must go now, for my
babies are waiting in the nest for me. I hope you will find the
Emerald City and that Oz will help you."

"Thank you," replied Dorothy, and then the kind Stork flew into the air
and was soon out of sight.

They walked along listening to the singing of the brightly colored
birds and looking at the lovely flowers which now became so thick that
the ground was carpeted with them. There were big yellow and white and
blue and purple blossoms, besides great clusters of scarlet poppies,
which were so brilliant in color they almost dazzled Dorothy's eyes.

"Aren't they beautiful?" the girl asked, as she breathed in the spicy
scent of the bright flowers.

"I suppose so," answered the Scarecrow. "When I have brains, I shall
probably like them better."

"If I only had a heart, I should love them," added the Tin Woodman.

"I always did like flowers," said the Lion. "They of seem so helpless
and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these."

They now came upon more and more of the big scarlet poppies, and fewer
and fewer of the other flowers; and soon they found themselves in the
midst of a great meadow of poppies. Now it is well known that when
there are many of these flowers together their odor is so powerful that
anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried
away from the scent of the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But
Dorothy did not know this, nor could she get away from the bright red
flowers that were everywhere about; so presently her eyes grew heavy
and she felt she must sit down to rest and to sleep.

But the Tin Woodman would not let her do this.

"We must hurry and get back to the road of yellow brick before dark,"
he said; and the Scarecrow agreed with him. So they kept walking until
Dorothy could stand no longer. Her eyes closed in spite of herself and
she forgot where she was and fell among the poppies, fast asleep.

"What shall we do?" asked the Tin Woodman.

"If we leave her here she will die," said the Lion. "The smell of the
flowers is killing us all. I myself can scarcely keep my eyes open,
and the dog is asleep already."

It was true; Toto had fallen down beside his little mistress. But the
Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, not being made of flesh, were not
troubled by the scent of the flowers.

"Run fast," said the Scarecrow to the Lion, "and get out of this deadly
flower bed as soon as you can. We will bring the little girl with us,
but if you should fall asleep you are too big to be carried."

So the Lion aroused himself and bounded forward as fast as he could go.
In a moment he was out of sight.

"Let us make a chair with our hands and carry her," said the Scarecrow.
So they picked up Toto and put the dog in Dorothy's lap, and then they
made a chair with their hands for the seat and their arms for the arms
and carried the sleeping girl between them through the flowers.

On and on they walked, and it seemed that the great carpet of deadly
flowers that surrounded them would never end. They followed the bend
of the river, and at last came upon their friend the Lion, lying fast
asleep among the poppies. The flowers had been too strong for the huge
beast and he had given up at last, and fallen only a short distance
from the end of the poppy bed, where the sweet grass spread in
beautiful green fields before them.

"We can do nothing for him," said the Tin Woodman, sadly; "for he is
much too heavy to lift. We must leave him here to sleep on forever,
and perhaps he will dream that he has found courage at last."

"I'm sorry," said the Scarecrow. "The Lion was a very good comrade for
one so cowardly. But let us go on."

They carried the sleeping girl to a pretty spot beside the river, far
enough from the poppy field to prevent her breathing any more of the
poison of the flowers, and here they laid her gently on the soft grass
and waited for the fresh breeze to waken her.