Queen of the Field Mice
"We cannot be far from the road of yellow brick, now," remarked the Scarecrow,
as he stood beside the girl, "for we have come nearly as far as the river
carried us away."
The Tin Woodman was about to reply when he heard a low growl, and turning his
head (which worked beautifully on hinges) he saw a strange beast come bounding
over the grass toward them. It was, indeed, a great yellow Wildcat, and the
Woodman thought it must be chasing something, for its ears were lying close to
its head and its mouth was wide open, showing two rows of ugly teeth, while its
red eyes glowed like balls of fire. As it came nearer the Tin Woodman saw that
running before the beast was a little gray field mouse, and although he had no
heart he knew it was wrong for the Wildcat to try to kill such a pretty,
So the Woodman raised his axe, and as the Wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow
that cut the beast's head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his
feet in two pieces.
The field mouse, now that it was freed from its enemy, stopped short; and coming
slowly up to the Woodman it said, in a squeaky little voice:
"Oh, thank you! Thank you ever so much for saving my life."
"Don't speak of it, I beg of you," replied the Woodman. "I have no heart, you
know, so I am careful to help all those who may need a friend, even if it
happens to be only a mouse."
"Only a mouse!" cried the little animal, indignantly. "Why, I am a Queen--the
Queen of all the Field Mice!"
"Oh, indeed," said the Woodman, making a bow.
"Therefore you have done a great deed, as well as a brave one, in saving my
life," added the Queen.
At that moment several mice were seen running up as fast as their little legs
could carry them, and when they saw their Queen they exclaimed:
"Oh, your Majesty, we thought you would be killed! How did you manage to escape
the great Wildcat?" They all bowed so low to the little Queen that they almost
stood upon their heads.
"This funny tin man," she answered, "killed the Wildcat and saved my life. So
hereafter you must all serve him, and obey his slightest wish."
"We will!" cried all the mice, in a shrill chorus. And then they scampered in
all directions, for Toto had awakened from his sleep, and seeing all these mice
around him he gave one bark of delight and jumped right into the middle of the
group. Toto had always loved to chase mice when he lived in Kansas, and he saw
no harm in it.
But the Tin Woodman caught the dog in his arms and held him tight, while he
called to the mice, "Come back! Come back! Toto shall not hurt you."
At this the Queen of the Mice stuck her head out from underneath a clump of
grass and asked, in a timid voice, "Are you sure he will not bite us?"
"I will not let him," said the Woodman; "so do not be afraid."
One by one the mice came creeping back, and Toto did not bark again, although he
tried to get out of the Woodman's arms, and would have bitten him had he not
known very well he was made of tin. Finally one of the biggest mice spoke.
"Is there anything we can do," it asked, "to repay you for saving the life of
"Nothing that I know of," answered the Woodman; but the Scarecrow, who had been
trying to think, but could not because his head was stuffed with straw, said,
quickly, "Oh, yes; you can save our friend, the Cowardly Lion, who is asleep in
the poppy bed."
"A Lion!" cried the little Queen. "Why, he would eat us all up."
"Oh, no," declared the Scarecrow; "this Lion is a coward."
"Really?" asked the Mouse.
"He says so himself," answered the Scarecrow, "and he would never hurt anyone
who is our friend. If you will help us to save him I promise that he shall treat
you all with kindness."
"Very well," said the Queen, "we trust you. But what shall we do?"
"Are there many of these mice which call you Queen and are willing to obey you?"
"Oh, yes; there are thousands," she replied.
"Then send for them all to come here as soon as possible, and let each one bring
a long piece of string."
The Queen turned to the mice that attended her and told them to go at once and
get all her people. As soon as they heard her orders they ran away in every
direction as fast as possible.
"Now," said the Scarecrow to the Tin Woodman, "you must go to those trees by the
riverside and make a truck that will carry the Lion."
So the Woodman went at once to the trees and began to work; and he soon made a
truck out of the limbs of trees, from which he chopped away all the leaves and
branches. He fastened it together with wooden pegs and made the four wheels out
of short pieces of a big tree trunk. So fast and so well did he work that by the
time the mice began to arrive the truck was all ready for them.
They came from all directions, and there were thousands of them: big mice and
little mice and middle-sized mice; and each one brought a piece of string in his
mouth. It was about this time that Dorothy woke from her long sleep and opened
her eyes. She was greatly astonished to find herself lying upon the grass, with
thousands of mice standing around and looking at her timidly. But the Scarecrow
told her about everything, and turning to the dignified little Mouse, he said:
"Permit me to introduce to you her Majesty, the Queen."
Dorothy nodded gravely and the Queen made a curtsy, after which she became quite
friendly with the little girl.
The Scarecrow and the Woodman now began to fasten the mice to the truck, using
the strings they had brought. One end of a string was tied around the neck of
each mouse and the other end to the truck. Of course the truck was a thousand
times bigger than any of the mice who were to draw it; but when all the mice had
been harnessed, they were able to pull it quite easily. Even the Scarecrow and
the Tin Woodman could sit on it, and were drawn swiftly by their queer little
horses to the place where the Lion lay asleep.
After a great deal of hard work, for the Lion was heavy, they managed to get him
up on the truck. Then the Queen hurriedly gave her people the order to start,
for she feared if the mice stayed among the poppies too long they also would
At first the little creatures, many though they were, could hardly stir the
heavily loaded truck; but the Woodman and the Scarecrow both pushed from behind,
and they got along better. Soon they rolled the Lion out of the poppy bed to the
green fields, where he could breathe the sweet, fresh air again, instead of the
poisonous scent of the flowers.
Dorothy came to meet them and thanked the little mice warmly for saving her
companion from death. She had grown so fond of the big Lion she was glad he had
Then the mice were unharnessed from the truck and scampered away through the
grass to their homes. The Queen of the Mice was the last to leave.
"If ever you need us again," she said, "come out into the field and call, and we
shall hear you and come to your assistance. Good-bye!"
"Good-bye!" they all answered, and away the Queen ran, while Dorothy held Toto
tightly lest he should run after her and frighten her.
After this they sat down beside the Lion until he should awaken; and the
Scarecrow brought Dorothy some fruit from a tree near by, which she ate for her