Woot the Wanderer slept that night in the tin castle of the Emperor of th_inkies and found his tin bed quite comfortable. Early the next morning h_ose and took a walk through the gardens, where there were tin fountains an_eds of curious tin flowers, and where tin birds perched upon the branches o_in trees and sang songs that sounded like the notes of tin whistles. Al_hese wonders had been made by the clever Winkie tinsmiths, who wound th_irds up every morning so that they would move about and sing.
After breakfast the boy went into the throne room, where the Emperor wa_aving his tin joints carefully oiled by a servant, while other servants wer_tuffing sweet, fresh straw into the body of the Scarecrow.
Woot watched this operation with much interest, for the Scarecrow's body wa_nly a suit of clothes filled with straw. The coat was buttoned tight to kee_he packed straw from falling out and a rope was tied around the waist to hol_t in shape and prevent the straw from sagging down. The Scarecrow's head wa_ gunnysack filled with bran, on which the eyes, nose and mouth had bee_ainted. His hands were white cotton gloves stuffed with fine straw. Woo_oticed that even when carefully stuffed and patted into shape, the straw ma_as awkward in his movements and decidedly wobbly on his feet, so the bo_ondered if the Scarecrow would be able to travel with them all the way to th_orests of the Munchkin Country of Oz.
The preparations made for this important journey were very simple. A knapsac_as filled with food and given Woot the Wanderer to carry upon his back, fo_he food was for his use alone. The Tin Woodman shouldered an axe which wa_harp and brightly polished, and the Scarecrow put the Emperor's oil-can i_is pocket, that he might oil his friend's joints should they need it.
"Who will govern the Winkie Country during your absence?" asked the boy.
"Why, the Country will run itself," answered the Emperor. "As a matter o_act, my people do not need an Emperor, for Ozma of Oz watches over th_elfare of all her subjects, including the Winkies. Like a good many kings an_mperors, I have a grand title, but very little real power, which allows m_ime to amuse myself in my own way. The people of Oz have but one law to obey, which is: 'Behave Yourself,' so it is easy for them to abide by this Law, an_ou'll notice they behave very well. But it is time for us to be off, and I a_ager to start because I suppose that that poor Munchkin girl is anxiousl_waiting my coming."
"She's waited a long time already, seems to me," remarked the Scarecrow, a_hey left the grounds of the castle and followed a path that led eastward.
"True," replied the Tin Woodman; "but I've noticed that the last end of _ait, however long it has been, is the hardest to endure; so I must try t_ake Nimmie Amee happy as soon as possible."
"Ah; that proves you have a Kind heart," remarked the Scarecrow, approvingly.
"It's too bad he hasn't a Loving Heart," said Woot. "This Tin Man is going t_arry a nice girl through kindness, and not because he loves her, and someho_hat doesn't seem quite right."
"Even so, I am not sure it isn't best for the girl," said the Scarecrow, wh_eemed very intelligent for a straw man, "for a loving husband is not alway_ind, while a kind husband is sure to make any girl content."
"Nimmie Amee will become an Empress!" announced the Tin Woodman, proudly. "_hall have a tin gown made for her, with tin ruffles and tucks on it, and sh_hall have tin slippers, and tin earrings and bracelets, and wear a tin crow_n her head. I am sure that will delight Nimmie Amee, for all girls are fon_f finery."
"Are we going to the Munchkin Country by way of the Emerald City?" inquire_he Scarecrow, who looked upon the Tin Woodman as the leader of the party.
"I think not," was the reply. "We are engaged upon a rather delicat_dventure, for we are seeking a girl who fears her former lover has forgotte_er. It will be rather hard for me, you must admit, when I confess to Nimmi_mee that I have come to marry her because it is my duty to do so, an_herefore the fewer witnesses there are to our meeting the better for both o_s. After I have found Nimmie Amee and she has managed to control her joy a_ur reunion, I shall take her to the Emerald City and introduce her to Ozm_nd Dorothy, and to Betsy Bobbin and Tiny Trot, and all our other friends; but, if I remember rightly, poor Nimmie Amee has a sharp tongue when angry, and she may be a trifle angry with me, at first, because I have been so lon_n coming to her."
"I can understand that," said Woot gravely. "But how can we get to that par_f the Munchkin Country where you once lived without passing through th_merald City?"
"Why, that is easy," the Tin Man assured him.
"I have a map of Oz in my pocket," persisted the boy, "and it shows that th_inkie Country, where we now are, is at the west of Oz, and the Munchki_ountry at the east, while directly between them lies the Emerald City."
"True enough; but we shall go toward the north, first of all, into th_illikin Country, and so pass around the Emerald City," explained the Ti_oodman.
"That may prove a dangerous journey," replied the boy. "I used to live in on_f the top corners of the Gillikin Country, near to Oogaboo, and I have bee_old that in this northland country are many people whom it is not pleasant t_eet. I was very careful to avoid them during my journey south."
"A Wanderer should have no fear," observed the Scarecrow, who was wobblin_long in a funny, haphazard manner, but keeping pace with his friends.
"Fear does not make one a coward," returned Woot, growing a little red in th_ace, "but I believe it is more easy to avoid danger than to overcome it. Th_afest way is the best way, even for one who is brave and determined."
"Do not worry, for we shall not go far to the north," said the Emperor. "M_ne idea is to avoid the Emerald City without going out of our way more tha_s necessary. Once around the Emerald City we will turn south into th_unchkin Country, where the Scarecrow and I are well acquainted and have man_riends."
"I have traveled some in the Gillikin Country," remarked the Scarecrow, "an_hile I must say I have met some strange people there at times, I have neve_et been harmed by them."
"Well, it's all the same to me," said Woot, with assumed carelessness.
"Dangers, when they cannot be avoided, are often quite interesting, and I a_illing to go wherever you two venture to go."
So they left the path they had been following and began to travel toward th_ortheast, and all that day they were in the pleasant Winkie Country, and al_he people they met saluted the Emperor with great respect and wished him goo_uck on his journey. At night they stopped at a house where they were wel_ntertained and where Woot was given a comfortable bed to sleep in.
"Were the Scarecrow and I alone," said the Tin Woodman, "we would travel b_ight as well as by day; but with a meat person in our party, we must halt a_ight to permit him to rest."
"Meat tires, after a day's travel," added the Scarecrow, "while straw and ti_ever tire at all. Which proves," said he, "that we are somewhat superior t_eople made in the common way."
Woot could not deny that he was tired, and he slept soundly until morning, when he was given a good breakfast, smoking hot.
"You two miss a great deal by not eating," he said to his companions.
"It is true," responded the Scarecrow. "We miss suffering from hunger, whe_ood cannot be had, and we miss a stomachache, now and then."
As he said this, the Scarecrow glanced at the Tin Woodman, who nodded hi_ssent.
All that second day they traveled steadily, entertaining one another the whil_ith stories of adventures they had formerly met and listening to th_carecrow recite poetry. He had learned a great many poems from Professo_ogglebug and loved to repeat them whenever anybody would listen to him. O_ourse Woot and the Tin Woodman now listened, because they could not d_therwise — unless they rudely ran away from their stuffed comrade. One of th_carecrow's recitations was like this: