The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
5. The Rescue of the Tin Woodman
When Dorothy awoke the sun was shining through the trees and Toto had long been out chasing birds around him and squirrels.
She sat up and looked around her. Scarecrow, still standing patiently in his corner, waiting for her.
“We must go and search for water,” she said to him.
“Why do you want water?” he asked.
“To wash my face clean after the dust of the road, and to drink, so the dry bread will not stick in my throat.”
“It must be inconvenient to be made of flesh,” said the Scarecrow thoughtfully, “for you must sleep, and eat and drink. However, you have brains, and it is worth a lot of bother to be able to think properly.” They left the cottage and walked through the trees until they found a little spring of clear water, where Dorothy drank and bathed and ate her breakfast. She saw there was not much bread
left in the basket, and the girl was thankful the Scarecrow did not have to eat anything, for there was scarcely enough for herself and Toto for the day.
When she had finished her meal, and was about to go back to the road of yellow brick, she was startled to hear a deep groan near by.
“What was that?” she asked timidly.
“I cannot imagine,” replied the Scarecrow; “but we can go and see.” Just then another groan reached their ears, and the sound seemed to come from behind them. They turned and walked through the forest a few steps, when Dorothy discovered something shining in a ray of sunshine that fell between the trees. She ran to the place and then stopped short, with a little cry of surprise.
One of the big trees had been partly chopped through, and standing beside it, with an uplifted axe in his hands, was a man made entirely of tin. His head and arms and legs were jointed upon his body, but he stood perfectly motionless, as if he could not stir at all.
Dorothy looked at him in amazement, and so did the Scarecrow, while Toto barked sharply and made a snap at the tin legs, which hurt his teeth.
“Did you groan?” asked Dorothy.
“Yes,” answered the tin man, “I did. I’ve been groaning for more than a year, and no one has ever heard me before or come to help me.”
“What can I do for you?” she inquired softly, for she was moved by the sad voice in which the man spoke.
“Get an oil-can and oil my joints,” he answered. “They are rusted so badly that I cannot move them at all; if I am well oiled I shall soon be all right again. You will find an oil-can on a shelf in my cottage.” Dorothy at once ran back to the cottage and found the oil-can, and then she returned and asked anxiously, “Where are your joints?”
“Oil my neck, first,” replied the Tin Woodman. So she oiled it, and as it was quite badly rusted the Scarecrow took hold of the tin head and moved it gently from side to side until it worked freely, and then the man could turn it himself.
“Now oil the joints in my arms,” he said. And Dorothy oiled them and the Scarecrow bent them carefully until they were quite free from rust and as good as new.
The Tin Woodman gave a sigh of satisfaction and lowered his axe, which he leaned against the tree.
“This is a great comfort,” he said. “I have been holding that axe in the air ever since I rusted, and I’m glad to be able to put it down at last. Now, if you will oil the joints of my legs, I shall be all right once more.” So they oiled his legs until he could move them freely; and he thanked them again and again for his release, for he seemed a very polite creature, and very grateful.