"The first thing required for the machine," said he, "is a body big enough to carry the entire party. This sofa is the biggest thing we have, and might be used for a body. But, should the machine ever tip sideways, we would all slide off and fall to the ground."
"Why not use two sofas?" asked Tip. "There's another one just like this down stairs."
"That is a very sensible suggestion," exclaimed the Tin Woodman. "You must fetch the other sofa at once."
So Tip and the Saw-Horse managed, with much labor, to get the second sofa to the roof; and when the two were placed together, edge to edge, the backs and ends formed a protecting rampart all around the seats.
"Excellent!" cried the Scarecrow. "We can ride within this snug nest quite at our ease."
The two sofas were now bound firmly together with ropes and clothes-lines, and then Nick Chopper fastened the Gump's head to one end.
"That will show which is the front end of the Thing," said he, greatly pleased with the idea." And, really, if you examine it critically, the Gump looks very well as a figure-head. These great palm-leaves, for which I have endangered my life seven times, must serve us as wings."
"Are they strong enough?" asked the boy.
"They are as strong as anything we can get," answered the Woodman; "and although they are not in proportion to the Thing's body, we are not in a position to be very particular."
So he fastened the palm-leaves to the sofas, two on each side.
Said the Woggle-Bug, with considerable admiration:
"The Thing is now complete, and only needs to be brought to life."
"Stop a moment!" exclaimed Jack." Are you not going to use my broom?"
"What for?" asked the Scarecrow.
"Why, it can be fastened to the back end for a tail," answered the Pumpkinhead. "Surely you would not call the Thing complete without a tail."
"Hm!" said the Tin Woodman, "I do not see the use of a tail. We are not trying to copy a beast, or a fish, or a bird. All we ask of the Thing is to carry us through the air.
"Perhaps, after the Thing is brought to life, it can use a tail to steer with," suggested the Scarecrow. "For if it flies through the air it will not be unlike a bird, and I've noticed that all birds have tails, which they use for a rudder while flying."
"Very well," answered Nick, "the broom shall be used for a tail," and he fastened it firmly to the back end of the sofa body.
Tip took the pepper-box from his pocket.
"The Thing looks very big," said he, anxiously;
197 "and I am not sure there is enough powder left to bring all of it to life. But I'll make it go as far as possible."
"Put most on the wings," said Nick Chopper; "for they must be made as strong as possible."
"And don't forget the head!" exclaimed the Woggle-Bug.
"Or the tail!" added Jack Pumpkinhead.
"Do be quiet," said Tip, nervously; "you must give me a chance to work the magic charm in the proper manner."
Very carefully he began sprinkling the Thing with the precious powder. Each of the four wings was first lightly covered with a layer. then the sofas were sprinkled, and the broom given a slight coating.
"The head! The head! Don't, I beg of you, forget the head!" cried the Woggle-Bug, excitedly.
"There's only a little of the powder left," announced Tip, looking within the box." And it seems to me it is more important to bring the legs of the sofas to life than the head."
"Not so," decided the Scarecrow. "Every thing must have a head to direct it; and since this creature is to fly, and not walk, it is really unimportant whether its legs are alive or not."
So Tip abided by this decision and sprinkled the Gump's head with the remainder of the powder.
"Now" said he, "keep silence while I work the, charm!"
Having heard old Mombi pronounce the magic words, and having also succeeded in bringing the Saw-Horse to life, Tip did not hesitate an instant in speaking the three cabalistic words, each accompanied by the peculiar gesture of the hands.
It was a grave and impressive ceremony.