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Chapter 6 Jack Pumpkinhead's Ride to the Emerald City

  • At daybreak Tip was awakened by the Pumpkinhead. He rubbed the sleep from hi_yes, bathed in a little brook, and then ate a portion of his bread an_heese. Having thus prepared for a new day the boy said:
  • "Let us start at once. Nine miles is quite a distance, but we ought to reac_he Emerald City by noon if no accidents happen." So the Pumpkinhead was agai_erched upon the back of the Saw-Horse and the journey was resumed.
  • Tip noticed that the purple tint of the grass and trees had now faded to _ull lavender, and before long this lavender appeared to take on a greenis_inge that gradually brightened as they drew nearer to the great City wher_he Scarecrow ruled.
  • The little party had traveled but a short two miles upon their way when th_oad of yellow brick was parted by a broad and swift river. Tip was puzzle_ow to cross over; but after a time he discovered a man in a ferry-boa_pproaching from the other side of the stream.
  • When the man reached the bank Tip asked:
  • "Will you row us to the other side?"
  • "Yes, if you have money," returned the ferryman, whose face looked cross an_isagreeable.
  • "But I have no money," said Tip.
  • "None at all?" inquired the man.
  • "None at all," answered the boy.
  • "Then I'll not break my back rowing you over," said the ferryman, decidedly.
  • "What a nice man!" remarked the Pumpkinhead, smilingly.
  • The ferryman stared at him, but made no reply. Tip was trying to think, for i_as a great disappointment to him to find his journey so suddenly brought t_n end.
  • "I must certainly get to the Emerald City," he said to the boatman; "but ho_an I cross the river if you do not take me?"
  • The man laughed, and it was not a nice laugh.
  • "That wooden horse will float," said he; "and you can ride him across. As fo_he pumpkinheaded loon who accompanies you, let him sink or swim it won'_atter greatly which."
  • "Don't worry about me," said Jack, smiling pleasantly upon the crabbe_erryman; "I'm sure I ought to float beautifully."
  • Tip thought the experiment was worth making, and the Saw-Horse, who did no_now what danger meant, offered no objections whatever. So the boy led it dow_nto the water and climbed upon its back. Jack also waded in up to his knee_nd grasped the tail of the horse so that he might keep his pumpkin head abov_he water.
  • "Now," said Tip, instructing the Saw-Horse, "if you wiggle your legs you wil_robably swim; and if you swim we shall probably reach the other side."
  • The Saw-Horse at once began to wiggle its legs, which acted as oars and move_he adventurers slowly across the river to the opposite side. So successfu_as the trip that presently they were climbing, wet and dripping, up th_rassy bank.
  • Tip's trouser-legs and shoes were thoroughly soaked; but the Saw-Horse ha_loated so perfectly that from his knees up the boy was entirely dry. As fo_he Pumpkinhead, every stitch of his gorgeous clothing dripped water.
  • "The sun will soon dry us," said Tip "and, anyhow, we are now safely across, in spite of the ferryman, and can continue our journey."
  • "I didn't mind swimming, at all," remarked the horse.
  • "Nor did I," added Jack.
  • They soon regained the road of yellow brick, which proved to be a continuatio_f the road they had left on the other side, and then Tip once more mounte_he Pumpkinhead upon the back of the Saw-Horse.
  • "If you ride fast," said he, "the wind will help to dry your clothing. I wil_old on to the horse's tail and run after you. In this way we all will becom_ry in a very short time."
  • "Then the horse must step lively," said Jack.
  • "I'll do my best," returned the Saw-Horse, cheerfully.
  • Tip grasped the end of the branch that served as tail to the Saw-Horse, an_alled loudly: "Get-up!"
  • The horse started at a good pace, and Tip followed behind. Then he decide_hey could go faster, so he shouted: "Trot!"
  • Now, the Saw-Horse remembered that this word was the command to go as fast a_e could; so he began rocking along the road at a tremendous pace, and Tip ha_ard work—running faster than he ever had before in his life—to keep his feet.
  • Soon he was out of breath, and although he wanted to call "Whoa!" to th_orse, he found he could not get the word out of his throat. Then the end o_he tail he was clutching, being nothing more than a dead branch, suddenl_roke away, and the next minute the boy was rolling in the dust of the road, while the horse and its pumpkin-headed rider dashed on and quickly disappeare_n the distance.
  • By the time Tip had picked himself up and cleared the dust from his throat s_e could say "Whoa!" there was no further need of saying it, for the horse wa_ong since out of sight.
  • So he did the only sensible thing he could do. He sat down and took a goo_est, and afterward began walking along the road.
  • "Some time I will surely overtake them," he reflected; "for the road will en_t the gates of the Emerald City, and they can go no further than that."
  • Meantime Jack was holding fast to the post and the Saw-Horse was tearing alon_he road like a racer. Neither of them knew Tip was left behind, for th_umpkinhead did not look around and the Saw-Horse couldn't.
  • As he rode, Jack noticed that the grass and trees had become a bright emerald- green in color, so he guessed they were nearing the Emerald City even befor_he tall spires and domes came into sight.
  • At length a high wall of green stone, studded thick with emeralds, loomed u_efore them; and fearing the Saw-Horse would not know enough to stop and s_ight smash them both against this wall, Jack ventured to cry "Whoa!" as lou_s he could.
  • So suddenly did the horse obey that had it not been for his post Jack woul_ave been pitched off head foremost, and his beautiful face ruined.
  • "That was a fast ride, dear father!" he exclaimed; and then, hearing no reply, he turned around and discovered for the first time that Tip was not there.
  • This apparent desertion puzzled the Pumpkinhead, and made him uneasy. An_hile he was wondering what had become of the boy, and what he ought to d_ext under such trying circumstances, the gateway in the green wall opened an_ man came out.
  • This man was short and round, with a fat face that seemed remarkably good- natured. He was clothed all in green and wore a high, peaked green hat upo_is head and green spectacles over his eyes. Bowing before the Pumpkinhead h_aid:
  • "I am the Guardian of the Gates of the Emerald City. May I inquire who yo_re, and what is your business?"
  • "My name is Jack Pumpkinhead," returned the other, smilingly; "but as to m_usiness, I haven't the least idea in the world what it is."
  • The Guardian of the Gates looked surprised, and shook his head as i_issatisfied with the reply.
  • "What are you, a man or a pumpkin?" he asked, politely.
  • "Both, if you please," answered Jack.
  • "And this wooden horse—is it alive?" questioned the Guardian.
  • The horse rolled one knotty eye upward and winked at Jack. Then it gave _rance and brought one leg down on the Guardian's toes.
  • "Ouch!" cried the man; "I'm sorry I asked that question. But the answer i_ost convincing. Have you any errand, sir, in the Emerald City?"
  • "It seems to me that I have," replied the Pumpkinhead, seriously; "but _annot think what it is. My father knows all about it, but he is not here."
  • "This is a strange affair very strange!" declared the Guardian. "But you see_armless. Folks do not smile so delightfully when they mean mischief."
  • "As for that," said Jack, "I cannot help my smile, for it is carved on my fac_ith a jack-knife."
  • "Well, come with me into my room," resumed the Guardian, "and I will see wha_an be done for you."
  • So Jack rode the Saw-Horse through the gateway into a little room built int_he wall. The Guardian pulled a bell-cord, and presently a very tal_oldier—clothed in a green uniform—entered from the opposite door. Thi_oldier carried a long green gun over his shoulder and had lovely gree_hiskers that fell quite to his knees. The Guardian at once addressed him, saying:
  • "Here is a strange gentleman who doesn't know why he has come to the Emeral_ity, or what he wants. Tell me, what shall we do with him?"
  • The Soldier with the Green Whiskers looked at Jack with much care an_uriosity. Finally he shook his head so positively that little waves ripple_own his whiskers, and then he said:
  • "I must take him to His Majesty, the Scarecrow."
  • "But what will His Majesty, the Scarecrow, do with him?" asked the Guardian o_he Gates.
  • "That is His Majesty's business," returned the soldier. "I have trouble_nough of my own. All outside troubles must be turned over to His Majesty. S_ut the spectacles on this fellow, and I'll take him to the royal palace."
  • So the Guardian opened a big box of spectacles and tried to fit a pair t_ack's great round eyes.
  • "I haven't a pair in stock that will really cover those eyes up," said th_ittle man, with a sigh; "and your head is so big that I shall be obliged t_ie the spectacles on."
  • "But why need I wear spectacles?" asked Jack.
  • "It's the fashion here," said the Soldier, "and they will keep you from bein_linded by the glitter and glare of the gorgeous Emerald City."
  • "Oh!" exclaimed Jack. "Tie them on, by all means. I don't wish to be blinded."
  • "Nor I!" broke in the Saw-Horse; so a pair of green spectacles was quickl_astened over the bulging knots that served it for eyes.
  • Then the Soldier with the Green Whiskers led them through the inner gate an_hey at once found themselves in the main street of the magnificent Emeral_ity.
  • Sparkling green gems ornamented the fronts of the beautiful houses and th_owers and turrets were all faced with emeralds. Even the green marbl_avement glittered with precious stones, and it was indeed a grand an_arvelous sight to one who beheld it for the first time.
  • However, the Pumpkinhead and the Saw-Horse, knowing nothing of wealth an_eauty, paid little attention to the wonderful sights they saw through thei_reen spectacles. They calmly followed after the green soldier and scarcel_oticed the crowds of green people who stared at them in surprise. When _reen dog ran out and barked at them the Saw-Horse promptly kicked at it wit_ts wooden leg and sent the little animal howling into one of the houses; bu_othing more serious than this happened to interrupt their progress to th_oyal palace.
  • The Pumpkinhead wanted to ride up the green marble steps and straight into th_carecrow's presence; but the soldier would not permit that. So Jac_ismounted, with much difficulty, and a servant led the Saw-Horse around t_he rear while the Soldier with the Green Whiskers escorted the Pumpkinhea_nto the palace, by the front entrance.
  • The stranger was left in a handsomely furnished waiting room while the soldie_ent to announce him. It so happened that at this hour His Majesty was a_eisure and greatly bored for want of something to do, so he ordered hi_isitor to be shown at once into his throne room.
  • Jack felt no fear or embarrassment at meeting the ruler of this magnificen_ity, for he was entirely ignorant of all worldly customs. But when he entere_he room and saw for the first time His Majesty the Scarecrow seated upon hi_littering throne, he stopped short in amazement.