Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 8 The Deadly Poppy Field

  • Our little party of travelers awakened the next morning refreshed and full o_ope, and Dorothy breakfasted like a princess off peaches and plums from th_rees beside the river. Behind them was the dark forest they had passed safel_hrough, although they had suffered many discouragements; but before them wa_ 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 th_aft was nearly done, and after the Tin Woodman had cut a few more logs an_astened them together with wooden pins, they were ready to start. Dorothy sa_own in the middle of the raft and held Toto in her arms. When the Cowardl_ion stepped upon the raft it tipped badly, for he was big and heavy; but th_carecrow and the Tin Woodman stood upon the other end to steady it, and the_ad 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 th_iver the swift current swept the raft downstream, farther and farther awa_rom the road of yellow brick. And the water grew so deep that the long pole_ould not touch the bottom.
  • "This is bad," said the Tin Woodman, "for if we cannot get to the land w_hall be carried into the country of the Wicked Witch of the West, and sh_ill 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 Scarecro_ontinued, and he pushed so hard on his long pole that it stuck fast in th_ud at the bottom of the river. Then, before he could pull it out again—or le_o—the raft was swept away, and the poor Scarecrow left clinging to the pol_n 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 migh_ust, 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 wa_tuck on a pole in a cornfield, where I could make-believe scare the crows, a_ny rate. But surely there is no use for a Scarecrow stuck on a pole in th_iddle 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 pul_he raft after me, if you will only hold fast to the tip of my tail."
  • 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 har_ork, although he was so big; but by and by they were drawn out of th_urrent, and then Dorothy took the Tin Woodman's long pole and helped push th_aft to the land.
  • They were all tired out when they reached the shore at last and stepped of_pon the pretty green grass, and they also knew that the stream had carrie_hem 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 th_rass 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 roa_gain," remarked the Lion.
  • So, when they were rested, Dorothy picked up her basket and they started alon_he grassy bank, to the road from which the river had carried them. It was _ovely country, with plenty of flowers and fruit trees and sunshine to chee_hem, and had they not felt so sorry for the poor Scarecrow, they could hav_een very happy.
  • They walked along as fast as they could, Dorothy only stopping once to pick _eautiful flower; and after a time the Tin Woodman cried out: "Look!"
  • Then they all looked at the river and saw the Scarecrow perched upon his pol_n 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. S_hey sat down upon the bank and gazed wistfully at the Scarecrow until a Stor_lew 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 Woodma_nd 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 looke_harply at the queer party.
  • "I know it," returned Dorothy, "but we have lost the Scarecrow, and ar_ondering 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 Stork.
  • "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 s_uch."
  • "Well, I'll try," said the Stork, "but if I find he is too heavy to carry _hall have to drop him in the river again."
  • So the big bird flew into the air and over the water till she came to wher_he Scarecrow was perched upon his pole. Then the Stork with her great claw_rabbed the Scarecrow by the arm and carried him up into the air and back t_he bank, where Dorothy and the Lion and the Tin Woodman and Toto wer_itting.
  • When the Scarecrow found himself among his friends again, he was so happy tha_e 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 th_ind Stork saved me, and if I ever get any brains I shall find the Stork agai_nd do her some kindness in return."
  • "That's all right," said the Stork, who was flying along beside them. "_lways like to help anyone in trouble. But I must go now, for my babies ar_aiting in the nest for me. I hope you will find the Emerald City and that O_ill help you."
  • "Thank you," replied Dorothy, and then the kind Stork flew into the air an_as soon out of sight.
  • They walked along listening to the singing of the brightly colored birds an_ooking at the lovely flowers which now became so thick that the ground wa_arpeted with them. There were big yellow and white and blue and purpl_lossoms, besides great clusters of scarlet poppies, which were so brillian_n color they almost dazzled Dorothy's eyes.
  • "Aren't they beautiful?" the girl asked, as she breathed in the spicy scent o_he bright flowers.
  • "I suppose so," answered the Scarecrow. "When I have brains, I shall probabl_ike 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 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 an_ewer of the other flowers; and soon they found themselves in the midst of _reat meadow of poppies. Now it is well known that when there are many o_hese flowers together their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes i_alls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away from the scent of th_lowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But Dorothy did not know this, nor coul_he get away from the bright red flowers that were everywhere about; s_resently her eyes grew heavy and she felt she must sit down to rest and t_leep.
  • 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 coul_tand no longer. Her eyes closed in spite of herself and she forgot where sh_as 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 flower_s killing us all. I myself can scarcely keep my eyes open, and the dog i_sleep already."
  • It was true; Toto had fallen down beside his little mistress. But th_carecrow and the Tin Woodman, not being made of flesh, were not troubled b_he scent of the flowers.
  • "Run fast," said the Scarecrow to the Lion, "and get out of this deadly flowe_ed as soon as you can. We will bring the little girl with us, but if yo_hould fall asleep you are too big to be carried."
  • So the Lion aroused himself and bounded forward as fast as he could go. In _oment he was out of sight.
  • "Let us make a chair with our hands and carry her," said the Scarecrow. S_hey picked up Toto and put the dog in Dorothy's lap, and then they made _hair with their hands for the seat and their arms for the arms and carrie_he sleeping girl between them through the flowers.
  • On and on they walked, and it seemed that the great carpet of deadly flower_hat surrounded them would never end. They followed the bend of the river, an_t 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 a_ast, and fallen only a short distance from the end of the poppy bed, wher_he sweet grass spread in beautiful green fields before them.
  • "We can do nothing for him," said the Tin Woodman, sadly; "for he is much to_eavy to lift. We must leave him here to sleep on forever, and perhaps he wil_ream that he has found courage at last."
  • "I'm sorry," said the Scarecrow. "The Lion was a very good comrade for one s_owardly. But let us go on."
  • They carried the sleeping girl to a pretty spot beside the river, far enoug_rom the poppy field to prevent her breathing any more of the poison of th_lowers, and here they laid her gently on the soft grass and waited for th_resh breeze to waken her.