How would Dorothy get the scarecrow off a pole stuck up his back? Especially if he is much higher than her? What is holding the scarecrow together? Is there any internal structure? If he is mostly hay and you remove his coat, will he fall apart? What can Dorothy use to help her leverage the scarecrow off the post?
This is an ongoing project for NaNoWriMo in which I share my raw writing as I retell The Wizard of Oz. You can read about my original project goals here.
Oz – Chapter 4 continued
The Scarecrow Tells His Story
“Well, I think so,” said the scarecrow, “but I suppose I could be mistaken as I don’t have a brain.
“That’s impossible,” said Dorothy, “everyone has a brain.”
“Not everyone,” he responded sadly.
“You must have a brain,” proclaimed Dorothy, “or how would you be able to talk?”
The scarecrow pulled a bit of straw from his mouth. “The man who made me talked while he worked, I suppose that is how.”
Dorothy looked up at him for a moment. “How long have you been here?”
“Oh, I don’t know. A very long time I would imagine. I watch the sunset every night, but never learned to count.”
“You must be very lonely.”
“Yes, when the man first made me, he was my friend. But then he hung me here. I watch as they plant the seeds and the corn begins to grow. Every year, they come and pick the corn and pull the stalk to dry, but I think they have forgotten me.”
“Can’t you get yourself down?”
The scarecrow reached around with his left arm. “The problem is that I can’t quite reach, and this post goes right up my back. Would you mind, possibly, helping me down? My back has been itchy for as long as I can remember, but my arms are simply not long enough.”
“Yes, of course. Let me see…” She walked around the back of the scarecrow, and just as he had said, the post went straight up the back of his coat and stuck out at the collar. She walked back to the front and looked up at him. “It seems that your coat is keeping you attached. You don’t, perhaps, have anything holding you together? Under your coat?”
“Only straw, I’m afraid.”
“Well, I don’t think that I am tall enough to lift both you and your coat over the post, but I think that, if we were to unbutton your coat, perhaps you would just slip out?”
“I do not know how to unbutton,” responded the Scarecrow.
“Do you mind if I try?” asked Dorothy.
Dorothy stepped closer, “Watch what I am doing so that you can learn and perhaps reach the top buttons yourself. I am afraid that I am too short and won’t be able to reach.” The first two buttons were just above her head. “See, there is a hole in your coat that the button goes through. You must push the button back through the hole, the way that it came.”
The third and fourth required Dorothy to stretch a bit. The fifth, however, was difficult and Dorothy had to stand on her tiptoes. “I’m afraid that I won’t be able to reach the last two, I am very sorry. Do you think, now that you have seen how it is done, that you could try?”
The scarecrow looked down at his chest and began to fumble with his gloved hands. His hands were not coordinated, and he struggled to get the button through the hole. Suddenly the button gave way and the scarecrow slipped down a bit so that his legs hung lower and his sleeves pulled tight at his armpits.
“I moved!” he said happily. Suddenly, the top button tore from the old blue coat and the scarecrow came crashing to the ground, his arms still wrapped in the coat above.
Dorothy jumped back as the poor scarecrow fell, but now rushed forward. Toto, frightened, hung back at the edge of the corn stalks and gave a little yip.
“Poor scarecrow! Oh, your poor arms!”
The scarecrow, however, lay on the ground and smiled. “You have freed me! Thank you. I can not tell you how wonderful it is to not have that stick up my back.”
Dorothy was not sure what to say, for the scarecrow was in pieces. His legs remained stuffed inside his pants, however, the parts of him that had been stuffed into the coat lay scattered, spread out on the ground. There seemed to be a long stick of some sort that had run through the center of his body, connecting his pants to his head. His arms hung limp in the coat and she could see that the coat was hooked on a large nail on the back of the post.
“I’m sorry to say that you seem to have fallen apart,” said Dorothy quietly.
The scarecrow turned his head side to side on the top of the stick and finally seemed to see his arms hanging up above.
“I have been worse,” he said. “If you could just get my coat down? I think that I can be put back together again.”
But try as Dorothy might, she could not get the coat off the nail. She tried pulling on the coat and pushing up on the scarecrow’s arms, but it remained firmly hooked. Finally, she sat down on the ground next to the scarecrow’s head.
“I need something to help me lift the coat from the nail. It needs to be strong because your arms are still stuck inside. A stalk of corn might work, but I’m not sure that I can break it while it’s still green. Do you have any ideas?”
“Would this broomstick work?” He turned his head to look down at his body.
“Oh! I can’t use that, it’s a part of you.”
“It’s not doing me any good laying here on the ground, and it won’t do me any good without my coat. You can just pull it from my head, and put it back in when you are done.”
So Dorothy, feeling very uncomfortable with the whole idea, pulled the broomstick from the scarecrow’s head.
The scarecrow made a slight groan.
“Did I hurt you?” Dorothy asked, terrified to continue.
“No, it feels so good to not have that pressing into my head all the time.”
She placed his head upright on the ground so that he could see what she was doing. The other end was stuck into the top of his pants. Dorothy realized the brush of the broom, old and worn, formed the scarecrow’s hips. She untied a rope that had been wrapped around the waist like a belt, removing the broom. Using the old broom bristles, she was easily able to lift the coat from the nail. As she brought it down, she heard clinking coming from one of the pockets.
“I got it!”
“Oh, thank you!” said the Scarecrow happily.
“Now, to put you back together. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You can’t hurt me. I feel pressure, like the stick in my neck, but I don’t feel pain. It was only that the stick had been there for so long and was such a relief to have a break from it.”
Dorothy put the broom brush back into the pants and secured it with the rope. Then she lay the coat on the ground with the arms sticking out to the sides and lined up the broomstick to the center of the coat. She saw that one of the pockets was bulky as it lay there. Dorothy reached in and pulled out a handful of rocks. “Why do you have a pocket full of rocks?”
“When the man made me, he filled my pockets with rocks to keep the wind from picking me up and blowing me away. Over the years, my aim has become quite good.”
Dorothy remembered the sound of the bird falling dead next to her head.
“Is that how you scared the birds away? Did you throw rocks at them?”
“Yes, they were going to hurt you and your friend.”
“Thank you for saving us.”
She picked up all the straw that had fallen from the ground and began to fill the body of the coat. Because the straw was old, there didn’t seem to be enough to really fill out the chest.
“We need to find you more straw. Perhaps not right away, but soon.” She began to strip the leaves from the surrounding corn. “This will do for now.”
Finally, the legs and the body were stuffed together. The coat was closed. The top button could not be resown, but Dorothy did what she could, peeling twine from the rope at the scarecrow’s waist and wrapping it through the buttonhole.
“Are you ready to put your head back on your body? Perhaps I can make it a bit more comfortable for you?
She took the silk from the surrounding ears of corn and made a cushion at the top of the broom shaft, sliding the scarecrow’s head back on.
“That is quite nice! Thank you,” said the scarecrow. With his arms working again, he pushed himself into a sitting position. “It is smooth when I turn my head! Where were you going when the birds attacked?”
“I was on my way to the Emerald City to see Oz.”
“Who is Oz and what is the Emerald City?”
Dorothy was surprised. The way the Munchkins had sounded, everyone knew of Oz.
“Oz is supposed to be a great wizard and the Emerald City is where he lives. I’m going to ask if he can send me home because I don’t know how to find my way on my own.”
“Can I come with you?” Asked the scarecrow, a bit shyly.
“Of course! I wasn’t going to leave you here in the corn. Not unless you wanted to stay. Perhaps you could ask the wizard for a brain.”
The scarecrow’s torn smile grew across his face. “Do you think that the Wizard would do that for me? I want to be able to learn. I hate that I am a fool.”
“I don’t think that you are a fool, scarecrow. You saved me and you saved my dog, Toto. But I don’t know if the wizard will help you. I don’t know if he’ll help me. I don’t know if they will even let us in to see him. But you already don’t have a brain, so I’m not sure that things can get much worse for you.”
“Fire,” said the scarecrow, looking at his hands.
“Excuse me?” said Dorothy, confused.
“Fire. That is how things could get worse for me.”
“Then I shall do my best to keep you from fire.”
Together they stood and made their way back to the fence. Dorothy climbed over and helped the Scarecrow get through the wooden posts. Toto stood ready, spinning in circles in the direction they were headed. All three headed down the yellow brick road.