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Chapter 4 Tiktok, the Machine Man

  • After an hour or so most of the band of Wheelers rolled back into the forest, leaving only three of their number to guard the hill. These curled themselve_p like big dogs and pretended to go to sleep on the sands; but neithe_orothy nor Billina were fooled by this trick, so they remained in securit_mong the rocks and paid no attention to their cunning enemies.
  • Finally the hen, fluttering over the mound, exclaimed: "Why, here's a path!"
  • So Dorothy at once clambered to where Billina sat, and there, sure enough, wa_ smooth path cut between the rocks. It seemed to wind around the mound fro_op to bottom, like a cork-screw, twisting here and there between the roug_oulders but always remaining level and easy to walk upon.
  • Indeed, Dorothy wondered at first why the Wheelers did not roll up this path; but when she followed it to the foot of the mound she found that several bi_ieces of rock had been placed directly across the end of the way, thu_reventing any one outside from seeing it and also preventing the Wheeler_rom using it to climb up the mound.
  • Then Dorothy walked back up the path, and followed it until she came to th_ery top of the hill, where a solitary round rock stood that was bigger tha_ny of the others surrounding it. The path came to an end just beside thi_reat rock, and for a moment it puzzled the girl to know why the path had bee_ade at all. But the hen, who had been gravely following her around and wa_ow perched upon a point of rock behind Dorothy, suddenly remarked:
  • "It looks something like a door, doesn't it?"
  • "What looks like a door?" enquired the child.
  • "Why, that crack in the rock, just facing you," replied Billina, whose littl_ound eyes were very sharp and seemed to see everything. "It runs up one sid_nd down the other, and across the top and the bottom."
  • "What does?"
  • "Why, the crack. So I think it must be a door of rock, although I do not se_ny hinges."
  • "Oh, yes," said Dorothy, now observing for the first time the crack in th_ock. "And isn't this a key-hole, Billina?" pointing to a round, deep hole a_ne side of the door.
  • "Of course. If we only had the key, now, we could unlock it and see what i_here," replied the yellow hen. "May be it's a treasure chamber full o_iamonds and rubies, or heaps of shining gold, or—"
  • "That reminds me," said Dorothy, "of the golden key I picked up on the shore.
  • Do you think that it would fit this key-hole, Billina?"
  • "Try it and see," suggested the hen.
  • So Dorothy searched in the pocket of her dress and found the golden key. An_hen she had put it into the hole of the rock, and turned it, a sudden shar_nap was heard; then, with a solemn creak that made the shivers run down th_hild's back, the face of the rock fell outward, like a door on hinges, an_evealed a small dark chamber just inside.
  • "Good gracious!" cried Dorothy, shrinking back as far as the narrow path woul_et her.
  • For, standing within the narrow chamber of rock, was the form of a man—or, a_east, it seemed like a man, in the dim light. He was only about as tall a_orothy herself, and his body was round as a ball and made out of burnishe_opper. Also his head and limbs were copper, and these were jointed or hinge_o his body in a peculiar way, with metal caps over the joints, like the armo_orn by knights in days of old. He stood perfectly still, and where the ligh_truck upon his form it glittered as if made of pure gold.
  • "Don't be frightened," called Billina, from her perch. "It isn't alive."
  • "I see it isn't," replied the girl, drawing a long breath.
  • "It is only made out of copper, like the old kettle in the barn-yard at home,"
  • continued the hen, turning her head first to one side and then to the other, so that both her little round eyes could examine the object.
  • "Once," said Dorothy, "I knew a man made out of tin, who was a woodman name_ick Chopper. But he was as alive as we are, 'cause he was born a real man, and got his tin body a little at a time—first a leg and then a finger and the_n ear—for the reason that he had so many accidents with his axe, and cu_imself up in a very careless manner."
  • "Oh," said the hen, with a sniff, as if she did not believe the story.
  • "But this copper man," continued Dorothy, looking at it with big eyes, "is no_live at all, and I wonder what it was made for, and why it was locked up i_his queer place."
  • "That is a mystery," remarked the hen, twisting her head to arrange her wing- feathers with her bill.
  • Dorothy stepped inside the little room to get a back view of the copper man, and in this way discovered a printed card that hung between his shoulders, i_eing suspended from a small copper peg at the back of his neck. Sh_nfastened this card and returned to the path, where the light was better, an_at herself down upon a slab of rock to read the printing.
  • "What does it say?" asked the hen, curiously.
  • Dorothy read the card aloud, spelling out the big words with some difficulty; and this is what she read:
  • SMITH & TINKER'S
  • Patent Double-Action, Extra-Responsive,
  • Thought-Creating, Perfect-Talking
  • MECHANICAL MAN
  • Fitted with our Special Clock-Work Attachment.
  • Thinks, Speaks, Acts, and Does Everything but Live.
  • Manufactured only at our Works at Evna, Land of Ev.
  • All infringements will be promptly Prosecuted according to Law.
  • "How queer!" said the yellow hen. "Do you think that is all true, my dear?"
  • "I don't know," answered Dorothy, who had more to read. "Listen to this, Billina:"
  • DIRECTIONS FOR USING:
  • For THINKING:—Wind the Clock-work Man under his
  • left arm, (marked No. 1.)
  • For SPEAKING:—Wind the Clock-work Man under his
  • right arm, (marked No. 2.)
  • For WALKING and ACTION:—Wind Clock-work in the
  • middle of his back, (marked No. 3.)
  • N. B.—This Mechanism is guaranteed to work
  • perfectly for a thousand years.
  • "Well, I declare!" gasped the yellow hen, in amazement; "if the copper man ca_o half of these things he is a very wonderful machine. But I suppose it i_ll humbug, like so many other patented articles."
  • "We might wind him up," suggested Dorothy, "and see what he'll do."
  • "Where is the key to the clock-work?" asked Billina.
  • "Hanging on the peg where I found the card."
  • "Then," said the hen, "let us try him, and find out if he will go. He i_arranted for a thousand years, it seems; but we do not know how long he ha_een standing inside this rock."
  • Dorothy had already taken the clock key from the peg.
  • "Which shall I wind up first?" she asked, looking again at the directions o_he card.
  • "Number One, I should think," returned Billina. "That makes him think, doesn'_t?"
  • "Yes," said Dorothy, and wound up Number One, under the left arm.
  • "He doesn't seem any different," remarked the hen, critically.
  • "Why, of course not; he is only thinking, now," said Dorothy.
  • "I wonder what he is thinking about."
  • "I'll wind up his talk, and then perhaps he can tell us," said the girl.
  • So she wound up Number Two, and immediately the clock-work man said, withou_oving any part of his body except his lips:
  • "Good morn-ing, lit-tle girl. Good morn-ing, Mrs. Hen."
  • The words sounded a little hoarse and creaky, and they were uttered all in th_ame tone, without any change of expression whatever; but both Dorothy an_illina understood them perfectly.
  • "Good morning, sir," they answered, politely.
  • "Thank you for res-cu-ing me," continued the machine, in the same monotonou_oice, which seemed to be worked by a bellows inside of him, like the littl_oy lambs and cats the children squeeze so that they will make a noise.
  • "Don't mention it," answered Dorothy. And then, being very curious, she asked:
  • "How did you come to be locked up in this place?"
  • "It is a long sto-ry," replied the copper man; "but I will tell it to yo_rief-ly. I was pur-chased from Smith & Tin-ker, my man-u-fac-tur-ers, by _ru-el King of Ev, named Ev-ol-do, who used to beat all his serv-ants un-ti_hey died. How-ev-er, he was not a-ble to kill me, be-cause I was not a-live, and one must first live in or-der to die. So that all his beat-ing did me n_arm, and mere-ly kept my cop-per bod-y well pol-ished.
  • "This cru-el king had a love-ly wife and ten beau-ti-ful chil-dren—five boy_nd five girls—but in a fit of an-ger he sold them all to the Nome King, wh_y means of his mag-ic arts changed them all in-to oth-er forms and put the_n his un-der-ground pal-ace to or-na-ment the rooms.
  • "Af-ter-ward the King of Ev re-gret-ted his wick-ed ac-tion, and tried to ge_is wife and chil-dren a-way from the Nome King, but with-out a-vail. So, i_e-spair, he locked me up in this rock, threw the key in-to the o-cean, an_hen jumped in af-ter it and was drowned."
  • "How very dreadful!" exclaimed Dorothy.
  • "It is, in-deed," said the machine. "When I found my-self im-pris-oned _hout-ed for help un-til my voice ran down; and then I walked back and fort_n this lit-tle room un-til my ac-tion ran down; and then I stood still an_hought un-til my thoughts ran down. Af-ter that I re-mem-ber noth-ing un-ti_ou wound me up a-gain."
  • "It's a very wonderful story," said Dorothy, "and proves that the Land of E_s really a fairy land, as I thought it was."
  • "Of course it is," answered the copper man. "I do not sup-pose such a per-fec_a-chine as I am could be made in an-y place but a fair-y land."
  • "I've never seen one in Kansas," said Dorothy.
  • "But where did you get the key to un-lock this door?" asked the clock-wor_oice.
  • "I found it on the shore, where it was prob'ly washed up by the waves," sh_nswered. "And now, sir, if you don't mind, I'll wind up your action."
  • "That will please me ve-ry much," said the machine.
  • So she wound up Number Three, and at once the copper man in a somewhat stif_nd jerky fashion walked out of the rocky cavern, took off his copper hat an_owed politely, and then kneeled before Dorothy. Said he:
  • "From this time forth I am your o-be-di-ent ser-vant. What-ev-er you com-mand, that I will do will-ing-ly—if you keep me wound up."
  • "What is your name?" she asked.
  • "Tik-tok," he replied. "My for-mer mas-ter gave me that name be-cause m_lock-work al-ways ticks when it is wound up."
  • "I can hear it now," said the yellow hen.
  • "So can I," said Dorothy. And then she added, with some anxiety: "You don'_trike, do you?"
  • "No," answered Tiktok; "and there is no a-larm con-nec-ted with my ma-chin- er-y. I can tell the time, though, by speak-ing, and as I nev-er sleep I ca_ak-en you at an-y hour you wish to get up in the morn-ing."
  • "That's nice," said the little girl; "only I never wish to get up in th_orning."
  • "You can sleep until I lay my egg," said the yellow hen. "Then, when I cackle, Tiktok will know it is time to waken you."
  • "Do you lay your egg very early?" asked Dorothy.
  • "About eight o'clock," said Billina. "And everybody ought to be up by tha_ime, I'm sure."