But now the sunflowers suddenly stopped their rapid whirling, and the travelers plainly saw a girl's face appear in the center of each flower. These lovely faces looked upon the astonished band with mocking smiles, and then burst into a chorus of merry laughter at the dismay their appearance caused.
"Stop! stop!" cried Tip, seizing the Woodman's arm; "they're alive! they're girls!"
At that moment the flowers began whirling again, and the faces faded away and were lost in the rapid revolutions.
The Tin Woodman dropped his axe and sat down upon the ground.
"It would be heartless to chop down those pretty creatures," said he, despondently. "and yet I do not know how else we can proceed upon our way"
"They looked to me strangely like the faces of
138 the Army of Revolt," mused the Scarecrow. "But I cannot conceive how the girls could have followed us here so quickly."
"I believe it's magic," said Tip, positively, "and that someone is playing a trick upon us. I've known old Mombi do things like that before. Probably it's nothing more than an illusion, and there are no sunflowers here at all."
"Then let us shut our eyes and walk forward," suggested the Woodman.
"Excuse me," replied the Scarecrow. "My eyes are not painted to shut. Because you happen to have tin eyelids, you must not imagine we are all built in the same way."
"And the eyes of the Saw-Horse are knot eyes," said Jack, leaning forward to examine them.
"Nevertheless, you must ride quickly forward," commanded Tip, "and we will follow after you and so try to escape. My eyes are already so dazzled that I can scarcely see."
So the Pumpkinhead rode boldly forward, and Tip grasped the stub tail of the Saw-Horse and followed with closed eyes. The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman brought up the rear, and before they had gone many yards a Joyful shout from Jack announced that the way was clear before them.
Then all paused to look backward, but not a trace of the field of sunflowers remained.
More cheerfully, now they proceeded upon their Journey; but old Mombi had so changed the appearance of the landscape that they would surely have been lost had not the Scarecrow wisely concluded to take their direction from the sun. For no witch-craft could change the course of the sun, and it was therefore a safe guide.
However, other difficulties lay before them. The Saw-Horse stepped into a rabbit hole and fell to the ground. The Pumpkinhead was pitched high into the air, and his history would probably have ended at that exact moment had not the Tin Woodman skillfully caught the pumpkin as it descended and saved it from injury.
Tip soon had it fitted to the neck again and replaced Jack upon his feet. But the Saw-Horse did not escape so easily. For when his leg was pulled from the rabbit hole it was found to be broken short off, and must be replaced or repaired before he could go a step farther.
"This is quite serious," said the Tin Woodman." If there were trees near by I might soon manufacture another leg for this animal; but I cannot see even a shrub for miles around."
140 Full page line-art drawing.
THE TIN WOODMAN SKILLFULLY CAUGHT THE PUMPKIN
"And there are neither fences nor houses in this part of the land of Oz," added the Scarecrow, disconsolately.
"Then what shall we do?" enquired the boy.
"I suppose I must start my brains working," replied his Majesty the Scarecrow; "for experience has, taught me that I can do anything if I but take time to think it out."
"Let us all think," said Tip; "and perhaps we shall find a way to repair the Saw-Horse."
So they sat in a row upon the grass and began to think, while the Saw-Horse occupied itself by gazing curiously upon its broken limb.
"Does it hurt?" asked the Tin Woodman, in a soft, sympathetic voice.
"Not in the least," returned the Saw-Horse; "but my pride is injured to find that my anatomy is so brittle."
For a time the little group remained in silent thought. Presently the Tin Woodman raised his head and looked over the fields.