It was facing the Tin Woodman and as the cupboard door swung back, the eyes of the Head slowly opened and looked at him. The Tin Woodman was not at all surprised, for in the Land of Oz one runs into magic at every turn.
"Dear me!" said the Tin Woodman, staring hard. "It seems as if I had met you, somewhere, before. Good morning, sir!"
"You have the advantage of me," replied the Head. "I never saw you before in my life."
"Still, your face is very familiar," persisted the Tin Woodman. "Pardon me, but may I ask if you -- eh -- eh -- if you ever had a Body?"
"Yes, at one time," answered the Head, "but that is so long ago I can't remember it. Did you think," with a pleasant smile, "that I was born just as I am? That a Head would be created without a Body?"
"No, of course not," said the other. "But how came you to lose your body?"
"Well, I can't recollect the details; you'll have to ask Ku-Klip about it," returned the Head. "For, curious as it may seem to you, my memory is not good since my separation from the rest of me. I still possess my brains and my intellect is as good as ever, but my memory of some of the events I formerly experienced is quite hazy."
"How long have you been in this cupboard?" asked the Emperor.
"I don't know."
"Haven't you a name?"
"Oh, yes," said the Head; "I used to be called Nick Chopper, when I was a woodman and cut down trees for a living."
"Good gracious!" cried the Tin Woodman in astonishment. "If you are Nick Chopper's Head, then you are Me -- or I'm You -- or -- or -- What relation are we, anyhow?"
"Don't ask me," replied the Head. "For my part, I'm not anxious to claim relationship with any common, manufactured article, like you. You may be all right in your class, but your class isn't my class. You're tin."
The poor Emperor felt so bewildered that for a time he could only stare at his old Head in silence. Then he said:
"I must admit that I wasn't at all bad looking before I became tin. You're almost handsome -- for meat. If your hair was combed, you'd be quite attractive."
"How do you expect me to comb my hair without help?" demanded the Head, indignantly. "I used to keep it smooth and neat, when I had arms, but after I was removed from the rest of me, my hair got mussed, and old Ku-Klip never has combed it for me."
"I'll speak to him about it," said the Tin Woodman. "Do you remember loving a pretty Munchkin girl named Nimmie Amee?"
"No," answered the Head. "That is a foolish question. The heart in my body -- when I had a body -- might have loved someone, for all I know, but a head isn't made to love; it's made to think."
"Oh; do you think, then?"
"I used to think."
"You must have been shut up in this cupboard for years and years. What have you thought about, in all that time?"
"Nothing. That's another foolish question. A little reflection will convince you that I have had nothing to think about, except the boards on the inside of the cupboard door, and it didn't take me long to think of everything about those boards that could be thought of. Then, of course, I quit thinking."
"And are you happy?"
"Happy? What's that?"
"Don't you know what happiness is?" inquired the Tin Woodman.
"I haven't the faintest idea whether it's round or square, or black or white, or what it is. And, if you will pardon my lack of interest in it, I will say that I don't care."
The Tin Woodman was much puzzled by these answers. His traveling companions had grouped themselves at his back, and had fixed their eyes on the Head and listened to the conversation with much interest, but until now, they had not interrupted because they thought the Tin Woodman had the best right to talk to his own head and renew acquaintance with it.
But now the Tin Soldier remarked:
"I wonder if my old head happens to be in any of these cupboards," and he proceeded to open all the cupboard doors. But no other head was to be found on any of the shelves.
"Oh, well; never mind," said Woot the Wanderer; "I can't imagine what anyone wants of a cast-off head, anyhow."
"I can understand the Soldier's interest," asserted Polychrome, dancing around the grimy workshop until her draperies formed a cloud around her dainty form.