While Dorothy was looking earnestly into the queer, painted face of the Scarecrow, she was surprised to see one of the eyes slowly wink at her. She thought she must have been mistaken at first, for none of the scarecrows in Kansas ever wink; but presently the figure nodded its head to her in a friendly way. Then she climbed down from the fence and walked up to it, while Toto ran around the pole and barked.
"Good day," said the Scarecrow, in a rather husky voice.
"Did you speak?" asked the girl, in wonder.
"Certainly," answered the Scarecrow. "How do you do?"
"I'm pretty well, thank you," replied Dorothy politely. "How do you do?"
"I'm not feeling well," said the Scarecrow, with a smile, "for it is very tedious being perched up here night and day to scare away crows."
"Can't you get down?" asked Dorothy.
"No, for this pole is stuck up my back. If you will please take away the pole I shall be greatly obliged to you."
Dorothy reached up both arms and lifted the figure off the pole, for, being stuffed with straw, it was quite light.
"Thank you very much," said the Scarecrow, when he had been set down on the ground. "I feel like a new man."
Dorothy was puzzled at this, for it sounded queer to hear a stuffed man speak, and to see him bow and walk along beside her.
"Who are you?" asked the Scarecrow when he had stretched himself and yawned. "And where are you going?"
"My name is Dorothy," said the girl, "and I am going to the Emerald City, to ask the Great Oz to send me back to Kansas."
"Where is the Emerald City?" he inquired. "And who is Oz?"
"Why, don't you know?" she returned, in surprise.
"No, indeed. I don't know anything. You see, I am stuffed, so I have no brains at all," he answered sadly.
"Oh," said Dorothy, "I'm awfully sorry for you."
"Do you think," he asked, "if I go to the Emerald City with you, that Oz would give me some brains?"
"I cannot tell," she returned, "but you may come with me, if you like. If Oz will not give you any brains you will be no worse off than you are now."
"That is true," said the Scarecrow. "You see," he continued confidentially, "I don't mind my legs and arms and body being stuffed, because I cannot get hurt. If anyone treads on my toes or sticks a pin into me, it doesn't matter, for I can't feel it. But I do not want people to call me a fool, and if my head stays stuffed with straw instead of with brains, as yours is, how am I ever to know anything?"
"I understand how you feel," said the little girl, who was truly sorry for him. "If you will come with me I'll ask Oz to do all he can for you."
"Thank you," he answered gratefully.
They walked back to the road. Dorothy helped him over the fence, and they started along the path of yellow brick for the Emerald City.
Toto did not like this addition to the party at first. He smelled around the stuffed man as if he suspected there might be a nest of rats in the straw, and he often growled in an unfriendly way at the Scarecrow.
"Don't mind Toto," said Dorothy to her new friend. "He never bites."
"Oh, I'm not afraid," replied the Scarecrow. "He can't hurt the straw. Do let me carry that basket for you. I shall not mind it, for I can't get tired. I'll tell you a secret," he continued, as he walked along. "There is only one thing in the world I am afraid of."
"What is that?" asked Dorothy; "the Munchkin farmer who made you?"
"No," answered the Scarecrow; "it's a lighted match."