The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – 16 – The Magic Art of the Great Humbug

Chapter 16 – The Magic Art of the Great Humbug

The next morning, the scarecrow said to his friends:

“Congratulate me. I am going to Oz to get my brains at last. When I return, I will be a real man.”

“I have always liked you as you were,” said Dorothy simply.

“It is kind of you to like a scarecrow,” he replied. “But surely you will respect me more when you hear the wonderful thoughts that my new brain will think.”

Then he said goodbye to them all in a cheerful voice and went to the Throne Room, where he rapped on the door.

“Come in,” said Oz.

The scarecrow went in and found the little man sitting down by the window, deep in thought.

“I have come for my brain,” said the scarecrow, a little uneasily.

“Oh yes, sit down in that chair, please,” replied Oz. “You must excuse me for taking off your head, but it is necessary to put in your brain.”

“That’s all right,” said the scarecrow. “You are welcome to take off my head, as long as it will be better when you put it on again.”

So the wizard unfastened his head and emptied out the straw. Then he entered the back room and measured out some flour, which he mixed with many pins and needles. He shook the mixture up and filled the top of the scarecrow’s head with it. Then he stuffed the rest of the space with straw, to hold it in place.

When he had fastened the scarecrow’s head on his body again, he said, “Hereafter, you will be a great man, because I have given you a big brain.”

The scarecrow was both pleased and proud at the fulfillment of his greatest wish. He thanked Oz warmly and went back to his friends.

Dorothy looked at him curiously. His head was bulging at the top with brains.

“How do you feel?” she asked.

“I feel wise indeed,” he answered honestly. “When I get used to my brain, I will know everything.”

“Why are those needles and pins sticking out of your head?” asked the tin man.

“That is proof that he is sharp,” remarked the lion.

“Well, I must go to Oz and get my heart,” said the tin man. So he walked to the Throne Room and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” called Oz, and the tin man entered and said, “I have come for my heart.”

“Very well,” answered the little man. “But I will have to cut a hole in your chest, so I can put your heart in the right place. I hope it won’t hurt you.”

“Oh, no,” answered the tin man. “I won’t feel it at all.”

So Oz cut a small, square hole in the left side of the tin man’s chest. Then, he took out a pretty heart from a drawer. It was made entirely of silk and stuffed with sawdust.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he asked.

“It is, indeed!” replied the tin man, who was very happy. “But, is it a kind heart?”

“Oh, very!” answered Oz. He put the heart in the tin man’s chest and replaced the square of tin, patching it neatly together where it had been cut.

“There,” he said, “no you have a heart that any man would be proud of. I’m sorry I had to put a patch on your chest, but it couldn’t be helped.”

“Don’t worry about the patch,” exclaimed the happy tin man. “I am very grateful to you, and I will never forget your kindness.”

“Don’t mention it,” replied Oz.

Then the tin man went back to his friends, who congratulated him.

The lion now walked to the Throne Room and knocked at the door.

“Come in,” said Oz.

“I have come for my courage,” announced the lion, entering the room.

“Very well,” answered the little man, “I will get it for you.”

He went to a cupboard and reached up to a high shelf. He took down a square green bottle and poured the contents into a greenish gold dish. He placed it before the lion, who sniffed at it as if he didn’t like it. The wizard said, “Drink.”

“What is it?” asked the lion.

“Well,” answered Oz, “it isn’t anything now. But once you drink it, it will become courage. Therefore, I advise you to drink it as soon as possible.”

The lion didn’t hesitate and drank until the dish was empty.

“How do you feel now?” asked Oz.

“Full of courage,” replied the lion, who went joyfully back to his friends to tell them about his good fortune.

Oz, left alone, smiled to think of his success in give it the scarecrow, the tin man and the lion exactly what they thought they wanted. “How can I help being a humbug,” he said, “when all these people make me do things that are impossible? It was easy to make them happy because they imagined that I could do anything. But it will take more than imagination to carry Dorothy back to Kansas. I’m not sure how it can be done.”


Published by Judy Shinohara

Hello! I’m Judy, living in Osaka! I love teaching English to my students. In my free time, I enjoy simple gardening, reading and writing, art, and watching Netflix.

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