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4. The Road Through the Forest
After a few hours the road began to be rough, and the walking grew so
difficult that the Scarecrow often stumbled over the yellow bricks, which were
here very uneven. Sometimes, indeed, they were broken or missing altogether,
leaving holes that Toto jumped across and Dorothy walked around.
As for the Scarecrow, having no brains, he walked straight ahead, and so
stepped into the holes and fell at full length on the hard bricks.
It never hurt him, however, and Dorothy would pick him up and set him
upon his feet again, while he joined her in laughing merrily at his own mishap.
The farms were not nearly so well cared for here as they were farther
back. There were fewer houses and
fewer fruit trees, and the farther they went the more dismal and lonesome the
At noon they sat down by the roadside, near a little brook, and Dorothy
opened her basket and got out some bread. She
offered a piece to the Scarecrow, but he refused.
"I am never hungry," he said, "and it is a lucky thing I
am not, for my mouth is only painted, and if I should cut a hole in it so I
could eat, the straw I am stuffed with would come out, and that would spoil the
shape of my head."
Dorothy saw at once that this was true, so she only nodded and went on
eating her bread.
"Tell me something about yourself and the country you came
from," said the Scarecrow, when she had finished her dinner.
So she told him all about Kansas, and how gray everything was there, and
how the cyclone had carried her to this queer Land of Oz.
The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said, "I cannot understand why
you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray
place you call Kansas."
"That is because you have no brains" answered the girl.
"No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood
would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful.
There is no place like home."
The Scarecrow sighed.
"Of course I cannot understand it," he said.
"If your heads were stuffed with straw, like mine, you would
probably all live in the beautiful places, and then Kansas would have no people
at all. It is fortunate for Kansas that you have brains."
"Won't you tell me a story, while we are resting?" asked the
The Scarecrow looked at her reproachfully, and answered:
"My life has been so short that I really know nothing whatever. I
was only made day before yesterday. What
happened in the world before that time is all unknown to me.
Luckily, when the farmer made my head, one of the first things he did was
to paint my ears, so that I heard what was going on.
There was another Munchkin with him, and the first thing I heard was the
farmer saying, `How do you like those ears?'
"`They aren't straight,'" answered the other.
"`Never mind,'" said the farmer.
"`They are ears just the same,'" which was true enough.
"`Now I'll make the eyes,'" said the farmer.
So he painted my right eye, and as soon as it was finished I found myself
looking at him and at everything around me with a great deal of curiosity, for
this was my first glimpse of the world.
"`That's a rather pretty eye,'" remarked the Munchkin who was
watching the farmer. "`Blue paint is just the color for eyes.'
"`I think I'll make the other a little bigger,'" said the
farmer. And when the second eye was
done I could see much better than before. Then
he made my nose and my mouth. But I
did not speak, because at that time I didn't know what a mouth was for. I had
the fun of watching them make my body and my arms and legs; and when they
fastened on my head, at last, I felt very proud, for I thought I was just as
good a man as anyone.
"`This fellow will scare the crows fast enough,' said the farmer.
`He looks just like a man.'
"`Why, he is a man,' said the other, and I quite agreed with him.
The farmer carried me under his arm to the cornfield, and set me up on a tall
stick, where you found me. He and
his friend soon after walked away and left me alone.
"I did not like to be deserted this way.
So I tried to walk after them. But
my feet would not touch the ground, and I was forced to stay on that pole.
It was a lonely life to lead, for I had nothing to think of, having been
made such a little while before. Many crows and other birds flew into the
cornfield, but as soon as they saw me they flew away again, thinking I was a
Munchkin; and this pleased me and made me feel that I was quite an important
person. By and by an old crow flew near me, and after looking at me carefully he
perched upon my shoulder and said:
"`I wonder if that farmer thought to fool me in this clumsy manner.
Any crow of sense could see that you are only stuffed with straw.'
Then he hopped down at my feet and ate all the corn he wanted.
The other birds, seeing he was not harmed by me, came to eat the corn
too, so in a short time there was a great flock of them about me.
"I felt sad at this, for it showed I was not such a good Scarecrow
after all; but the old crow comforted me, saying, `If you only had brains in
your head you would be as good a man as any of them, and a better man than some
of them. Brains are the only things
worth having in this world, no matter whether one is a crow or a man.'
"After the crows had gone I thought this over, and decided I would
try hard to get some brains. By
good luck you came along and pulled me off the stake, and from what you say I am
sure the Great Oz will give me brains as soon as we get to the Emerald
"I hope so," said Dorothy earnestly, "since you seem
anxious to have them."
"Oh, yes; I am anxious," returned the Scarecrow.
"It is such an uncomfortable feeling to know one is a fool."
"Well," said the girl, "let us go."
And she handed the basket to the Scarecrow.
There were no fences at all by the roadside now, and the land was rough
and untilled. Toward evening they came to a great forest, where the trees
grew so big and close together that their branches met over the road of yellow
brick. It was almost dark under the
trees, for the branches shut out the daylight; but the travelers did not stop,
and went on into the forest.
"If this road goes in, it must come out," said the Scarecrow,
"and as the Emerald City is at the other end of the road, we must go
wherever it leads us."
"Anyone would know that," said Dorothy.
"Certainly; that is why I know it," returned the Scarecrow.
"If it required brains to figure it out, I never should have said it."
After an hour or so the light faded away, and they found themselves
stumbling along in the darkness. Dorothy
could not see at all, but Toto could, for some dogs see very well in the dark;
and the Scarecrow declared he could see as well as by day.
So she took hold of his arm and managed to get along fairly well.
"If you see any house, or any place where we can pass the
night," she said, "you must tell me; for it is very uncomfortable
walking in the dark."
Soon after the Scarecrow stopped.
"I see a little cottage at the right of us," he said,
"built of logs and branches. Shall
we go there?"
"Yes, indeed," answered the child.
"I am all tired out."
So the Scarecrow led her through the trees until they reached the
cottage, and Dorothy entered and found a bed of dried leaves in one corner.
She lay down at once, and with Toto beside her soon fell into a sound
sleep. The Scarecrow, who was never
tired, stood up in another corner and waited patiently until morning came.
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