"As for me," said the Woggle-Bug, "I think that I could live for some time on Jack Pumpkinhead. Not that I prefer pumpkins for food; but I believe they are somewhat nutritious, and Jack's head is large and plump."
"How heartless!" exclaimed the Tin Woodman, greatly shocked. "Are we cannibals, let me ask? Or are we faithful friends?"
"I see very clearly that we cannot stay shut up in this palace," said the Scarecrow, with decision. "So let us end this mournful talk and try to discover a means to escape."
At this suggestion they all gathered eagerly around the throne, wherein was seated the Scarecrow, and as Tip sat down upon a stool there fell from his pocket a pepper-box, which rolled upon the floor.
"What is this?" asked Nick Chopper, picking up the box.
"Be careful!" cried the boy. "That's my Powder of Life. Don't spill it, for it is nearly gone."
"And what is the Powder of Life?" enquired the Scarecrow, as Tip replaced the box carefully in his pocket.
"It's some magical stuff old Mombi got from a
185 crooked sorcerer," explained the boy. "She brought Jack to life with it, and afterward I used it to bring the Saw-Horse to life. I guess it will make anything live that is sprinkled with it; but there's only about one dose left."
"Then it is very precious," said the Tin Woodman.
"Indeed it is," agreed the Scarecrow. "It may prove our best means of escape from our difficulties. I believe I will think for a few minutes; so I will thank you, friend Tip, to get out your knife and rip this heavy crown from my forehead."
Tip soon cut the stitches that had fastened the crown to the Scarecrow's head, and the former monarch of the Emerald City removed it with a sigh of relief and hung it on a peg beside the throne.
"That is my last memento of royalty" said he; "and I'm glad to get rid of it. The former King of this City,
186 who was named Pastoria, lost the crown to the Wonderful Wizard, who passed it on to me. Now the girl Jinjur claims it, and I sincerely hope it will not give her a headache."
"A kindly thought, which I greatly admire," said the Tin Woodman, nodding approvingly.
"And now I will indulge in a quiet think," continued the Scarecrow, lying back in the throne.
The others remained as silent and still as possible, so as not to disturb him; for all had great confidence in the extraordinary brains of the Scarecrow.
And, after what seemed a very long time indeed to the anxious watchers, the thinker sat up, looked upon his friends with his most whimsical expression, and said:
"My brains work beautifully today. I'm quite proud of them. Now, listen! If we attempt to escape through the doors of the palace we shall surely be captured. And, as we can't escape through the ground, there is only one other thing to be done. We must escape through the air!"
He paused to note the effect of these words; but all his hearers seemed puzzled and unconvinced.
"The Wonderful Wizard escaped in a balloon," he continued. "We don't know how to make a balloon, of course; but any sort of thing that can
187 fly through the air can carry us easily. So I suggest that my friend the Tin Woodman, who is a skillful mechanic, shall build some sort of a machine, with good strong wings, to carry us; and our friend Tip can then bring the Thing to life with his magical powder."
"Bravo!" cried Nick Chopper.
"What splendid brains!" murmured Jack.
"Really quite clever!" said the Educated Woggle-Bug.
"I believe it can be done," declared Tip; "that is, if the Tin Woodman is equal to making the Thing."
"I'll do my best," said Nick, cheerily; "and, as a matter of fact, I do not often fail in what I attempt. But the Thing will have to be built on the roof of the palace, so it can rise comfortably into the air."
"To be sure," said the Scarecrow.
"Then let us search through the palace," continued the Tin Woodman, "and carry all the material we can find to the roof, where I will begin my work."
"First, however," said the Pumpkinhead, "I beg you will release me from this horse, and make me another leg to walk with.