"We are saved!" shouted the boy, delightedly.
"We are, indeed!" responded the Educated Insect, fairly hugging the stiff head of the Gump in his joy. "and we owe it all to the flopping of the Thing, and the good axe of the Woodman!"
"If I am saved, get me out of here!" called Jack; whose head was still beneath the sofas; and Tip managed to roll the pumpkin out and place it upon its neck again. He also set the Saw-Horse upright, and said to it:
"We owe you many thanks for the gallant fight you made."
"I really think we have escaped very nicely," remarked the Tin Woodman, in a tone of pride.
"Not so!" exclaimed a hollow voice.
At this they all turned in surprise to look at the Scarecrow's head, which lay at the back of the nest.
"I am completely ruined!" declared the Scarecrow, as he noted their astonishment. "For where is the straw that stuffs my body?"
The awful question startled them all. They gazed around the nest with horror, for not a vestige of straw remained. The
222 Jackdaws had stolen it to the last wisp and flung it all into the chasm that yawned for hundreds of feet beneath the nest.
"My poor, poor friend!" said the Tin Woodman, taking up the Scarecrow's head and caressing it tenderly; "whoever could imagine you would come to this untimely end?"
"I did it to save my friends," returned the head; "and I am glad that I perished in so noble and unselfish a manner."
"But why are you all so despondent?" inquired the Woggle-Bug. "The Scarecrow's clothing is still safe."
"Yes," answered the Tin Woodman; "but our friend's clothes are useless without stuffing."
"Why not stuff him with money?" asked Tip.
"Money!" they all cried, in an amazed chorus.
"To be sure," said the boy. "In the bottom of the nest are thousands of dollar bills -- and two-dollar bills -- and five-dollar bills -- and tens, and twenties, and fifties. There are enough of them to stuff a dozen Scarecrows. Why not use the money?"
The Tin Woodman began to turn over the rubbish with the handle of his axe; and, sure enough, what they had first thought only worthless papers were found to be all bills of various denominations,
223 which the mischievous Jackdaws had for years been engaged in stealing from the villages and cities they visited.
There was an immense fortune lying in that inaccessible nest; and Tip's suggestion was, with the Scarecrow's consent, quickly acted upon.
They selected all the newest and cleanest bills and assorted them into various piles. The Scarecrow's left leg and boot were stuffed with five- dollar bills; his right leg was stuffed with ten-dollar bills, and his body so closely filled with fifties, one-hundreds and one-thousands that he could scarcely button his jacket with comfort.
"You are now" said the Woggle-Bug, impressively, when the task had been completed, "the most valuable member of our party; and as you
224 are among faithful friends there is little danger of your being spent."
"Thank you," returned the Scarecrow, gratefully. "I feel like a new man; and although at first glance I might be mistaken for a Safety Deposit Vault, I beg you to remember that my Brains are still composed of the same old material. And these are the possessions that have always made me a person to be depended upon in an emergency."
"Well, the emergency is here," observed Tip; "and unless your brains help us out of it we shall be compelled to pass the remainder of our lives in this nest."
"How about these wishing pills?" enquired the Scarecrow, taking the box from his jacket pocket. "Can't we use them to escape?"
"Not unless we can count seventeen by twos," answered the Tin Woodman. "But our friend the Woggle-Bug claims to be highly educated, so he ought easily to figure out how that can be done."
"It isn't a question of education," returned the Insect; "it's merely a question of mathematics. I've seen the professor work lots of sums on the blackboard, and he claimed anything could be done with x's and y's and a's, and such things, by mixing them up with plenty of plusses and minuses and equals, and so forth.