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even though the Tin Woodman had no heart, he knew it was wrong for the wildcat to kill such a harmless creature. With his finely honed axe, he found himself in a perfect position to mete out a little justice. Just as the odious brute ran by, the Tin Woodman lifted his blade, and with one sharp, perfectly aimed blow, cleanly decapitated him.

Now that the mouse was safe, it stopped short, turned around, and walked slowly back to the Tin Woodman. “Thank you for saving my life,” it said in a high, squeaky voice.

“Because I have no heart,” the Tin Woodman explained, “I must always be extra careful to help all those in need, even if they are only mice.

The mouse bristled and said, “Only mice! Why, I am the Queen—the Queen of all the mice!”

With sincere reverence, the Tin Woodman bowed and humbly said, “Yes, Your Majesty.”

“You have done a great and brave thing in saving my life,” the Queen said. And as she said this, many other mice came running up. Without leaving out the lurid details, the Queen told them how the Tin Woodman had saved her life, and they all listened with morbid fascination. Then, in an imperious tone, she instructed her minions to forever after serve the Tin Woodman and obey his slightest wish! In giving obeisance to the Queen, the tiny subjects bowed so low that they appeared to be standing on their heads!

“Is there anything we can do to repay you for saving our Queen?” one of the bigger mice deferentially asked the Tin Woodman.

“Nothing that I can think of,” he answered.

But the Scarecrow, who was trying to think but couldn’t because he had no brain, said, “Yes. You can save our friend the Lion who is asleep in the poppy field.” And when the mice heard the word “Lion,” their little bodies convulsed apoplectically and their faces turned ashen.

“L-L-L-Lion?” they all stammered, quavering with fear.

The Scarecrow made a quelling motion and said, “This Lion is a coward, and he would never hurt you.”

His words seemed to pacify them somewhat. The mice huddled together and, using their peculiar mouse patois, discussed the situation. The Scarecrow strained to hear what they were saying, but their squeaky, argotic speech was all but indecipherable. Finally, the Queen came forward and said, “Very well. What can we do to help?”

Encouraged by her acquiescence, the Scarecrow quickly answered, “Do you have many subjects who will obey you?” And when the Queen told him there were thousands, the Scarecrow asked the Queen to summon all her followers and have each one bring a long piece of string.

Immediately, the Queen peremptorily ordered her acolytes to spread the word. Now, with the conscription decreed, the Scarecrow turned his attention to the Tin Woodman. With military precision he said, “Go with your axe to the trees by the river and build a truck that will carry the Lion.”

The Tin Woodman worked as quickly as he could, chopping away leaves and branches,

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