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I can put your heart in the right place.” Oz took a pair of tinsmith’s shears and cut a small, square hole in the left side of the Tin Woodman’s chest. Then, going to a chest of drawers, he took out a shiny, japanned box. Opening it, he revealed a pretty, red heart, made entirely of silk and stuffed with sawdust. “Isn’t it a beauty?” he asked.

“It is, indeed!” replied the Woodman, who was greatly pleased. “But is it a kind heart?”

“Oh, very!” answered Oz. He was about to say that it was a heart of gold, but since he detested hackneyed expressions, he said nothing as he carefully placed the sawdust-filled silk in the Tin Woodman’s chest and then replaced the square of tin, soldering it neatly together where it had been cut.

“There,” he said, “now you have a heart that any man might be proud of.” Then, with currents of bliss flowing ineffably from his metal body, the Tin Woodman, wallowing in bathos, mawkishly acknowledged Oz’s kindness in a treacly but heartfelt little speech.

“And now,” said Dorothy, who’d been waiting patiently, “how am I going to get back to Kansas? I don’t suppose you have anything in your bag of tricks for me.”

Oz, whose facile tongue could have easily delivered another old saw, instead pondered his success in giving the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Woodman exactly what they thought they wanted. It was easy to make them happy, he thought to himself, because they imagined I could do anything. But it will take more than a few platitudinous pronouncements to get Dorothy back to Kansas.

“I guess I’ll have to think about that for a few days,” he finally answered. When Dorothy just stared at him, he added, “I know that sounds equivocal and dilatory, but none of my legerdemain will carry you over the desert. In the meantime you can all stay in the Palace as my guests.” Then he suddenly became pensive.

“Please keep my secret,” he entreated, “and tell no one I’m a fake. Of course, it’s not that I’m loath to admit my mistakes, but you know how fickle public opinion can be. If I were debunked, the press—those purveyors of worthless tripe—would traduce my character…they’d flagellate me. Of course, any claims of serious malfeasance on my part ultimately would be refuted, so I’m in no danger of being—to use criminal parlance—sent up the river. But I’d be mired in controversy, forced to endlessly parry any derogatory remark thrust at me. Obloquy would naturally accrete around me, and my reputation would be forever tainted.” He felt a thick web of calumny tighten around him as he realized that his story, if it were to get out, would become fodder for the eager journalistic gristmill. “I can see it now—yellow rags spewing acrid vitriol in purple prose. I’d be a laughingstock. I’d be reviledlambastedpilloriedostracized!” When he paused momentarily to dwell on the consequences of perdition and imagined himself living on the street

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