“Now Tiktok,” said Dorothy, “the first thing to be done is to find a way for us to escape from these rocks. The Wheelers are down below, you know, and threaten to kill us.”
“There is no rea-son to be a-fraid of the Wheel-ers,” said Tiktok, the words coming more slowly than before.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Be-cause they are ag-g-g—gr-gr-r-r-“
He gave a sort of gurgle and stopped short, waving his hands frantically until suddenly he became motionless, with one arm in the air and the other held stiffly before him with all the copper fingers of the hand spread out like a fan.
“Dear me!” said Dorothy, in a frightened tone. “What can the matter be?”
“He’s run down, I suppose,” said the hen, calmly. “You couldn’t have wound him up very tight.”
“I didn’t know how much to wind him,” replied the girl; “but I’ll try to do better next time.”
She ran around the copper man to take the key from the peg at the back of his neck, but it was not there.
“It’s gone!” cried Dorothy, in dismay.
“What’s gone?” asked Billina.
“It probably fell off when he made that low bow to you,” returned the hen. “Look around, and see if you cannot find it again.”
Dorothy looked, and the hen helped her, and by and by the girl discovered the clock-key, which had fallen into a crack of the rock.
At once she wound up Tiktok’s voice, taking care to give the key as many turns as it would go around. She found this quite a task, as you may imagine if you have ever tried to wind a clock, but the machine man’s first words were to assure Dorothy that he would now run for at least twenty-four hours.
“You did not wind me much, at first,” he calmly said, “and I told you that long sto-ry a-bout King Ev-ol-do; so it is no won-der that I ran down.”
She next rewound the action clock-work, and then Billina advised her to carry the key to Tiktok in her pocket, so it would not get lost again.
“And now,” said Dorothy, when all this was accomplished, “tell me what you were going to say about the Wheelers.”
“Why, they are noth-ing to be fright-en’d at,” said the machine. “They try to make folks be-lieve that they are ver-y ter-ri-ble, but as a mat-ter of fact the Wheel-ers are harm-less e-nough to an-y one that dares to fight them. They might try to hurt a lit-tle girl like you, per-haps, be-cause they are ver-y mis-chiev-ous. But if I had a club they would run a-way as soon as they saw me.”
“Haven’t you a club?” asked Dorothy.
“No,” said Tiktok.
“And you won’t find such a thing among these rocks, either,” declared the yellow hen.
“Then what shall we do?” asked the girl.
“Wind up my think-works tight-ly, and I will try to think of some oth-er plan,” said Tiktok.
So Dorothy rewound his thought machinery, and while he was thinking she decided to eat her dinner. Billina was already pecking away at the cracks in the rocks, to find something to eat, so Dorothy sat down and opened her tin dinner-pail.
In the cover she found a small tank that was full of very nice lemonade. It was covered by a cup, which might also, when removed, be used to drink the lemonade from. Within the pail were three slices of turkey, two slices of cold tongue, some lobster salad, four slices of bread and butter, a small custard pie, an orange and nine large strawberries, and some nuts and raisins. Singularly enough, the nuts in this dinner-pail grew already cracked, so that Dorothy had no trouble in picking out their meats to eat.
She spread the feast upon the rock beside her and began her dinner, first offering some of it to Tiktok, who declined because, as he said, he was merely a machine. Afterward she offered to share with Billina, but the hen murmured something about “dead things” and said she preferred her bugs and ants.
“Do the lunch-box trees and the dinner-pail trees belong to the Wheelers?” the child asked Tiktok, while engaged in eating her meal.
“Of course not,” he answered. “They be-long to the roy-al fam-il-y of Ev, on-ly of course there is no roy-al fam-il-y just now be-cause King Ev-ol-do jumped in-to the sea and his wife and ten chil-dren have been trans-formed by the Nome King. So there is no one to rule the Land of Ev, that I can think of. Per-haps it is for this rea-son that the Wheel-ers claim the trees for their own, and pick the lunch-eons and din-ners to eat them-selves. But they be-long to the King, and you will find the roy-al “E” stamped up-on the bot-tom of ev-er-y din-ner pail.”
Dorothy turned the pail over, and at once discovered the royal mark upon it, as Tiktok had said.
“Are the Wheelers the only folks living in the Land of Ev?” enquired the girl.
“No; they on-ly in-hab-it a small por-tion of it just back of the woods,” replied the machine. “But they have al-ways been mis-chiev-ous and im-per-ti-nent, and my old mas-ter, King Ev-ol-do, used to car-ry a whip with him, when he walked out, to keep the crea-tures in or-der. When I was first made the Wheel-ers tried to run o-ver me, and butt me with their heads; but they soon found I was built of too sol-id a ma-ter-i-al for them to in-jure.”
“You seem very durable,” said Dorothy. “Who made you?”
“The firm of Smith & Tin-ker, in the town of Ev-na, where the roy-al pal-ace stands,” answered Tiktok.
“Did they make many of you?” asked the child.
“No; I am the on-ly au-to-mat-ic me-chan-i-cal man they ev-er com-plet-ed,” he replied. “They were ver-y won-der-ful in-ven-tors, were my mak-ers, and quite ar-tis-tic in all they did.”
“I am sure of that,” said Dorothy. “Do they live in the town of Evna now?”
“They are both gone,” replied the machine. “Mr. Smith was an art-ist, as well as an in-vent-or, and he paint-ed a pic-ture of a riv-er which was so nat-ur-al that, as he was reach-ing a-cross it to paint some flow-ers on the op-po-site bank, he fell in-to the wa-ter and was drowned.”
“Oh, I’m sorry for that!” exclaimed the little girl.
“Mis-ter Tin-ker,” continued Tiktok, “made a lad-der so tall that he could rest the end of it a-gainst the moon, while he stood on the high-est rung and picked the lit-tle stars to set in the points of the king’s crown. But when he got to the moon Mis-ter Tin-ker found it such a love-ly place that he de-cid-ed to live there, so he pulled up the lad-der af-ter him and we have nev-er seen him since.”
“He must have been a great loss to this country,” said Dorothy, who was by this time eating her custard pie.
“He was,” acknowledged Tiktok. “Also he is a great loss to me. For if I should get out of or-der I do not know of an-y one a-ble to re-pair me, be-cause I am so com-pli-cat-ed. You have no i-de-a how full of ma-chin-er-y I am.”
“I can imagine it,” said Dorothy, readily.
“And now,” continued the machine, “I must stop talk-ing and be-gin think-ing a-gain of a way to es-cape from this rock.” So he turned halfway around, in order to think without being disturbed.
“The best thinker I ever knew,” said Dorothy to the yellow hen, “was a scarecrow.”
“Nonsense!” snapped Billina.
“It is true,” declared Dorothy. “I met him in the Land of Oz, and he travelled with me to the city of the great Wizard of Oz, so as to get some brains, for his head was only stuffed with straw. But it seemed to me that he thought just as well before he got his brains as he did afterward.”
“Do you expect me to believe all that rubbish about the Land of Oz?” enquired Billina, who seemed a little cross—perhaps because bugs were scarce.
“What rubbish?” asked the child, who was now finishing her nuts and raisins.
“Why, your impossible stories about animals that can talk, and a tin woodman who is alive, and a scarecrow who can think.”
“They are all there,” said Dorothy, “for I have seen them.”
“I don’t believe it!” cried the hen, with a toss of her head.
“That’s ’cause you’re so ign’rant,” replied the girl, who was a little offended at her friend Billina’s speech.
“In the Land of Oz,” remarked Tiktok, turning toward them, “an-y-thing is pos-si-ble. For it is a won-der-ful fair-y coun-try.”
“There, Billina! what did I say?” cried Dorothy. And then she turned to the machine and asked in an eager tone: “Do you know the Land of Oz, Tiktok?”
“No; but I have heard a-bout it,” said the copper man. “For it is on-ly sep-a-ra-ted from this Land of Ev by a broad des-ert.”
Dorothy clapped her hands together delightedly.
“I’m glad of that!” she exclaimed. “It makes me quite happy to be so near my old friends. The scarecrow I told you of, Billina, is the King of the Land of Oz.”
“Par-don me. He is not the king now,” said Tiktok.
“He was when I left there,” declared Dorothy.
“I know,” said Tiktok, “but there was a rev-o-lu-tion in the Land of Oz, and the Scare-crow was de-posed by a sol-dier wo-man named Gen-er-al Jin-jur. And then Jin-jur was de-posed by a lit-tle girl named Oz-ma, who was the right-ful heir to the throne and now rules the land un-der the ti-tle of Oz-ma of Oz.”
“That is news to me,” said Dorothy, thoughtfully. “But I s’pose lots of things have happened since I left the Land of Oz. I wonder what has become of the Scarecrow, and of the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. And I wonder who this girl Ozma is, for I never heard of her before.”
But Tiktok did not reply to this. He had turned around again to resume his thinking.
Dorothy packed the rest of the food back into the pail, so as not to be wasteful of good things, and the yellow hen forgot her dignity far enough to pick up all of the scattered crumbs, which she ate rather greedily, although she had so lately pretended to despise the things that Dorothy preferred as food.
By this time Tiktok approached them with his stiff bow.
“Be kind e-nough to fol-low me,” he said, “and I will lead you a-way from here to the town of Ev-na, where you will be more com-for-ta-ble, and also I will pro-tect you from the Wheel-ers.”
“All right,” answered Dorothy, promptly. “I’m ready!”