Chapter 19 – Attacked by the Fighting Trees
The next morning, Dorothy kissed the pretty green girl goodbye. They all shook hands with the soldier with the green beard, who walked with them as far as the gate. When the Guardian of the Gate saw them again, he wondered greatly why they would want to leave the beautiful city to get into new trouble. He unlocked their green glasses, which he put back into the green box, wished them good luck.
“You are now our ruler,” he said to the scarecrow, “so you must come back to us as soon as possible.”
“I certainly will if I am able to,” the scarecrow replied, “but I must help Dorothy get home, first.”
As Dorothy said goodbye to the good natured guardian, she said:
“You have all treated me very kindly in your lovely city. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.”
“Don’t worry, my dear,” he answered. “We want to keep you with us, but if it is your desire to return to Kansas, I hope you will find a way.” He then opened the gate of the outer wall, and they walked out and started their journey.
The sun shone brightly as the travelers turned their faces toward the Land of the South. They were all in high spirits, and laughed and chatted together. Once more, Dorothy was filled with the hope of getting home, and the scarecrow and the tin man were glad to be of use to her. As for the lion, he sniffed the fresh air with delight and wagged his tail from side to side in pure joy at being in the country again. Toto ran around them and chased the moths and butterflies, barking merrily all the time.
“City life does not agree with me at all,” said the lion, as they walked along quickly. “I have gotten skinny since my stay in the city, and now I am anxious for a chance to show the other beasts how courageous I have become.”
Now they turned and looked at the Emerald City. All they could see was a mass of towers behind the green walls. And high above everything was the dome of the Palace of Oz.
“Oz wasn’t such a bad wizard, after all,” said the tin man, as he felt his heart rattling around in his chest.
“He knew how to give me a brain, and a very good brain, too,” said the scarecrow.
“If Oz had taken a dose of the same courage that he gave me,” added the lion, “he would have been a very brave man.”
Dorothy said nothing. Oz had not kept the promise he made her. But he had done his best, so she forgave him. As he said, he was a good man, even if he was a bad wizard.
The first day’s journey was through the green fields and the bright flowers that surrounded the Emerald City. That night, they slept on the grass, with nothing but the stars over them. They rested very well.
In the morning, they traveled until they came to a thick forest. There was no way around it, because it seemed to extend endlessly to the right and left. And besides, they didn’t dare change the direction of the journey. They didn’t want to get lost again. So they looked for an easy place to enter the forest.
The scarecrow, who was in the lead, finally discovered a big tree with such wide spreading branches that there was space for the party to pass underneath. So he walked forward to the tree, but just as he walked under, the branches bent down and winded around him. The next minute, he was raised from the ground and flung wildly back towards his friends.
This did not hurt the scarecrow, but it surprised him. He looked dizzy when Dorothy picked him up.
“Here is another space between the trees,” called the lion.
“Let me try first,” said the scarecrow, “because it doesn’t hurt me to get thrown around.” He walked up to another tree, but its branches immediately seized him and tossed him back again.
“This is strange,” exclaimed Dorothy. “What should we do?”
“The trees seem to have made up their minds to fight us, and stop our journey,” said the lion.
“I will try next,” said the tin man. Shouldering his ax, he marched up to the first tree that had thrown the scarecrow. When a big brand bent down to seize him, the tin mad chopped at it so fiercely that he cut the branch off. The tree began shaking all its branches as if in pain, and the tin man passed safely under it.
“Come on,” he shouted to the others. “Come quickly!” They all ran forward and passed under the tree without injury, except Toto, who was caught by a small branch and shaken until he howled. But the tin man promptly chopped off the branch and set the little dog free.
The other trees of the forest did nothing to keep them back, so they made up their minds that only the first row of trees could bend down their branches. Probably, these were the police men of the forest and given this wonderful power to keep strangers out of it.
The four travelers walked with ease through the trees until they came to the farther edge of the forest. Then, to their surprise, they found a high wall which seemed to be made of white china. It was smooth, like the surface of a dish, and higher than their heads.
“What do we do now?” asked Dorothy.
“I will make a ladder,” said the tin man, “because we have to climb over this wall.”