Far out upon the waters he sighted the golden hue of the pumpkin, which gently bobbed up and down with the motion of the waves. At that moment it was quite out of Tip's reach, but after a time it floated nearer and still nearer until the boy
112 Full page line-art drawing.
TIP RESCUES JACK'S PUMPKIN HEAD
113 was able to reach it with his pole and draw it to the shore. Then he brought it to the top of the bank, carefully wiped the water from its pumpkin face with his handkerchief, and ran with it to Jack and replaced the head upon the man's neck.
"Dear me!" were Jack's first words. "What a dreadful experience! I wonder if water is liable to spoil pumpkins?"
Tip did not think a reply was necessary, for he knew that the Scarecrow also stood in need of his help. So he carefully removed the straw from the King's body and legs, and spread it out in the sun to dry. The wet clothing he hung over the body of the Saw-Horse.
"If water spoils pumpkins," observed Jack, with a deep sigh, "then my days are numbered."
"I've never noticed that water spoils pumpkins," returned Tip; "unless the water happens to be boiling. If your head isn't cracked, my friend, you must be in fairly good condition."
"Oh, my head isn't cracked in the least," declared Jack, more cheerfully.
"Then don't worry," retorted the boy. "Care once killed a cat."
"Then," said Jack, seriously, "I am very glad indeed that I am not a cat."
The sun was fast drying their clothing, and Tip stirred up his Majesty's straw so that the warm rays might absorb the moisture and make it as crisp and dry as ever. When this had been accomplished he stuffed the Scarecrow into symmetrical shape and smoothed out his face so that he wore his usual gay and charming expression.
"Thank you very much," said the monarch, brightly, as he walked about and found himself to be well balanced. "There are several distinct advantages in being a Scarecrow. For if one has friends near at hand to repair damages, nothing very serious can happen to you."
"I wonder if hot sunshine is liable to crack pumpkins," said Jack, with an anxious ring in his voice.
"Not at all -- not at all!" replied the Scarecrow, gaily." All you need fear, my boy, is old age. When your golden youth has decayed we shall quickly part company -- but you needn't look forward to it; we'll discover the fact ourselves, and notify you. But come! Let us resume our journey. I am anxious to greet my friend the Tin Woodman."
So they remounted the Saw-Horse, Tip holding to the post, the Pumpkinhead clinging to Tip, and the Scarecrow with both arms around the wooden form of Jack.
115 Full page line-art drawing.
TIP STUFFS THE SCARECROW WITH DRY STRAW.
"Go slowly, for now there is no danger of pursuit," said Tip to his steed.
"All right!" responded the creature, in a voice rather gruff.
"Aren't you a little hoarse?" asked the Pumpkinhead politely.
The Saw-Horse gave an angry prance and rolled one knotty eye backward toward Tip.
"See here," he growled, "can't you protect me from insult?"
"To be sure!" answered Tip, soothingly. "I am sure Jack meant no harm. And it will not do for us to quarrel, you know; we must all remain good friends."
"I'll have nothing more to do with that Pumpkinhead," declared the Saw- Horse, viciously. "he loses his head too easily to suit me."
There seemed no fitting reply to this speech, so for a time they rode along in silence.
After a while the Scarecrow remarked:
"This reminds me of old times. It was upon this grassy knoll that I once saved Dorothy from the Stinging Bees of the Wicked Witch of the West."
"Do Stinging Bees injure pumpkins?" asked Jack, glancing around fearfully.
"They are all dead, so it doesn't matter," replied
117 the Scarecrow." And here is where Nick Chopper destroyed the Wicked Witch's Grey Wolves."
"Who was Nick Chopper?" asked Tip.
"That is the name of my friend the Tin Woodman, answered his Majesty.