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and forests, all the while diligently scouring the landscape, until they at last found the tree whose top branches held the Scarecrow’s clothes. It was a very tall, narrow tree, and its trunk was so smooth that no one could climb it.

Studying the scene from all angles, the same sarcastic wise guy who had earlier made an unsuccessful crack during the Tin Woodman’s rescue now quipped, “We’ve just found the proverbial haystack in a needle!” He was so smugly delighted with his clever inversion of the well-known phrase that he didn’t care that no one seemed to appreciate his rapier wit. In fact, no one even heard him because they were all too busy trying to figure out how to get the Scarecrow down. Then, with a mental acuity redolent of the Scarecrow’s, the Tin Woodman announced, “I’ll chop down the tree, and then we’ll be able to get the clothes.”

As soon as he had spoken, he began to chop, and in a short time the tree began to totter, then fell over with a crash. When the Scarecrow’s sodden, derelict garments fell out of the branches and onto the ground, Dorothy picked them up and had the Winkies carry them back to the castle, where they were cleaned, dried, and stuffed with nice, new straw. And suddenly, there stood our epitome of bedraggled inelegance, the Scarecrow, resurrected and as good as ever, thanking them over and over for saving him!

But then Dorothy thought of Aunt Em and of Kansas and realized that their Odyssean quest, however peripatetic, must continue. “We must go back to the Wizard and claim his promise,” she asserted.

They called all the Winkies together and regretfully told them they were leaving, and the Winkies were sorry to have them go. They had grown so fond of the Tin Woodman, in fact, that they begged him to stay and rule over them and the Land of the West, promising to comport themselves in an appropriately submissive manner. But finding he was determined to leave with the others, they accepted his decision stoically and gave him a brand-new oilcan as a going-away gift. Then every one of the travelers shook hands with the Winkies until their arms ached.

Before leaving, Dorothy went to the Witch’s cupboard to fill her basket with food for the journey, and there she saw the Golden Cap. Leery of anything that belonged to one as wicked as the Witch, a fearful indecision took possession of her. But then our doughty little heroine suddenly tried it on and found that it fit her perfectly. Of course, Dorothy didn’t know anything about the magic of the Cap, but she saw that it was pretty, so she decided to wear it. Then, ending their sojourn in the West, the travelers started their journey back toward the Emerald City and the Great Wizard.

Chapter 18 “The Discovery”

At the suggestion of the Scarecrow, the nomadic foursome walked toward the rising sun, and they spent three mostly uneventful days

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