Chapter 7 – The Journey to the Great Oz
They were forced to camp out that night under a large tree in the forest because there were no houses near. The tree was a good covering to protect them from the dew. The tin man chopped a great pile of wood with his ax, and Dorothy built a splendid fire that warmed her and made her feel less lonely. She and Toto ate the last of their bread, and now she did not know what they would do for breakfast.
“If you wish,” said the lion, “I will go into the forest and kill a deer for you. You can roast it by the fire, since you humans are so peculiar that you prefer cooked food. And then, you will have a very good breakfast.”
“Don’t! Please don’t,” begged the tin man. “I will certainly weep if you killed a poor deer, and then my jaws would rust again.”
“But the lion went away into the forest and found his own dinner. No one ever knew what it was, because he didn’t tell anyone. And the scarecrow found a tree full of nuts and filled Dorothy’s basket with them, so that she would not be hungry for a long time. She thought this was very kind and thoughtful of the scarecrow, but she laughed at the awkward way that he picked up the nuts. His padded hands were so clumsy and the nuts were so small that he dropped almost half of the nuts. But the Scarecrow did not mind how long it took to fill the basket, because he wanted to stay away from the fire. He feared a spark might get into his straw and burn him up. So he kept a good distance away from the flames. He only came near to cover Dorothy with dry leaves when she lied down to sleep. The leaves kept her very snug and warm, and she slept soundly until morning.
When it was daylight, the girl washed herself in a little brook, and soon after, they all started walking toward the Emerald City.
This was going to be an eventful day for the travelers. They had hardly been walking for an hour when they saw a big ditch in front of them. The ditch was very deep and wide. It divided the road. It also divided the forest as far as they could see on either side. They walked up to the edge and looked down. It was deep and there were many big, jagged rocks at the bottom. The sides were so steep that none of them could climb down. For a moment, it seemed that their journey must end.
“What should we do?” asked Dorothy in despair.
“I don’t have the faintest idea,” said the tin man, and the lion shook his shaggy head.
But the scarecrow said, “We can not fly. That is certain. Neither can we climb down into this great ditch. Therefore, if we can not jump over it, we must stop our journey.”
“I think I could jump over it,” said the cowardly lion after he measured the distance carefully in his mind.
“Then we are all right,” answered the scarecrow, “because you can carry us all over on your back, one at a time.”
“Well, I’ll try it,” said the lion. “Who will go first?”
“I will,” declared the scarecrow, “because if you found that you could not jump over the ditch, Dorothy would be killed, or the tin man would be badly dented on the rocks below. But if I am on your back, it will not matter so much, because the fall will not hurt me at all.”
“I am terribly afraid of falling, myself,” said the cowardly lion, “but I suppose there is nothing to do but to try it. So get on my back and we will make the attempt.”
The scarecrow sat on the lion’s back, and the big beast walked to the edge of the ditch and crouched down.
“Why don’t you run and jump?” asked the scarecrow.
“Because that isn’t the way we lions do these things,” he replied. Then, giving a great spring, he shot through the air and landed safely on the other side. They were all greatly pleased to see how easily he did it. After the scarecrow had got down from his back, the lion sprang across the ditch again.
Dorothy thought she should go next, so she took Toto in her arms and climbed on the lion’s back, holding his mane tightly with one hand. The next moment, it seemed like she were flying through the air, and then, before she had time to think about it, she was safe on the other side. The lion went back a third time and got the tin man. They all sat down together for a few moments to give the lion a chance to rest. His great leaps had made the lion breath hard, and he panted like a big dog that was tired.
On the this side of the ditch, the forest was very thick, and it was dark and gloomy. After the the lion had rested, they started down the yellow brick road again. Each of them wondered in their own mind: Will we ever come to the end of the woods and reach the bright sunshine again? To add to their discomfort, they soon heard strange noises in the deep forest, and the lion whispered to them that Kalidahs lived in this part of the country.
“What are the Kalidahs?” asked the girl.
“They are monstrous beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers,” replied the lion, “and with claws so long and sharp that they could easily tear me into two pieces. I am terribly afraid of the Kalidahs.”
“I’m not surprised that you are afraid,” said Dorothy. “They must be dreadful beasts.”
The lion was about to reply when suddenly, they came to another ditch across the road. But this one was so broad and deep that the lion knew at once that he could not leap across it.
So they sat down to consider what they should do, and after serious thought, the scarecrow said:
“Here is a great tree, standing close to the ditch. If the tin man can chop it down so that it will fall to the other side, we can walk across it like a bridge.”
“That is a first-rate idea,” said the lion. “I almost suspect that you have brains in your head, instead of straw.”
The tin man got to work at once. His ax was so sharp that the tree was soon almost chopped through. The lion put his strong front legs against the tree and pushed with all his strength. The big tree tipped and tell with a crash across the ditch, with its top branches on the other side.
They had just started to cross this bridge when a sharp growl made them look up. To their horror, they saw two great beasts running toward them. Their bodies like bears and their heads like tigers.
“They are the Kalidahs!” said the cowardly lion, beginning to tremble.
“Quick!” cried the scarecrow. “Let’s cross over.”
So Dorothy went first, holding Toto in her arms. The tin man followed and the scarecrow came next. The lion, although he was certainly afraid, turned to face the Kalidahs, and then he gave a roar that was so loud and terrible that Dorothy screamed and the scarecrow fell over backward. Even the fierce beasts stopped and looked at him in surprise.
But, realizing that they were bigger than the lion, and remembering that there were two of them, and only one lion, the Kalidahs again rushed forward. The lion crossed over the tree and turned to see what they would do next. Without stopping, the fierce beasts also began to cross the tree. And the lion said to Dorothy:
“We will lose, because they will surely tear us to pieces with their sharp claws. But stand close behind me, and I will fight them as long as I am alive.”
“Wait a minute!” called the scarecrow. He had been thinking of what to do, and now he asked the tin man to chop away the end of the tree that rested on their side of the ditch. The tin man began to use his ax at once, and just as the two Kalidahs were nearly across, the tree fell with a crash into the ditch, carrying the ugly, growling beasts with it. Both were dashed to pieces on the sharp rocks at the bottom.
“Well,” said the cowardly lion, breathing out a long breathe of relief, “I see we are going to continue living a little longer. I am glad for that, because it must be very uncomfortable to be dead. Those creatures frightened me so badly that my heart is still beating hard.”
“Ah,” said the tin man sadly, “I wish I had a heart to beat.”
This adventure made the travelers more anxious than ever to get out of the forest. They walked so fast that Dorothy became tired and had to ride on the lion’s back. To their great joy, as they walked, the trees became thinner and thinner. In the afternoon, they came to a wide river. It flowed swiftly. On the other side of the water, they could see the yellow brick road continue through a beautiful country with green fields and bright flowers. The road was bordered with trees that had delicious fruits. They were very pleased to see this delightful country in front of them.
“How will we cross the river?” asked Dorothy.
“That is easily done,” replied the scarecrow. “The tin man must build us a raft, so that we can float to the other side.”
So the tin man took his ax and began to chop down small trees to make a raft. While he was busy, the scarecrow found a tree full of fine fruit. This pleased Dorothy, who had eaten nothing but nuts all day, and she ate a big meal of the fruits.
But it takes time to make a raft, even when the builder is as industrious and strong as the tin man. When night came, the work was not done yet. So they found a cozy place under the trees and slept well until the morning. Dorothy dreamed of the Emerald City and the good Wizard Oz who would soon send her back to her own home again.