19. Attacked by the Fighting Trees
The next morning Dorothy kissed the pretty green girl good-bye, and they all shook hands with the soldier with the green whiskers, who had walked with them as far as the gate. When the Guardian of the Gate saw them again he wondered greatly that they could leave the beautiful City to get into new trouble. But he at once unlocked their spectacles, which he put back into the green box, and gave them many good wishes to carry with them.
“You are now our ruler,” he said to the Scarecrow; “so you must come back to us as soon as possible.”
“I certainly shall if I am able,” the Scarecrow replied; “but I must help Dorothy to get home, first.”
As Dorothy bade the good-natured Guardian a last farewell she said:
“I have been very kindly treated in your lovely City, and everyone has been good to me. I cannot tell you how grateful I am.”
“Don’t try, my dear,” he answered. “We should like to keep you with us, but if it is your wish to return to Kansas, I hope you will find a way.” He then opened the gate of the outer wall, and they walked forth and started upon their journey.
The sun shone brightly as our friends turned their faces toward the Land of the South. They were all in the best of spirits, and laughed and chatted together. Dorothy was once more filled with the hope of getting home, and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman were glad to be of use to her. As for the Lion, he sniffed the fresh air with delight and whisked his tail from side to side in pure joy at being in the country again, while Toto ran around them and chased the moths and butterflies, barking merrily all the time.
“City life does not agree with me at all,” remarked the Lion, as they walked along at a brisk pace. “I have lost much flesh since I lived there, and now I am anxious for a chance to show the other beasts how courageous I have grown.”
They now turned and took a last look at the Emerald City. All they could see was a mass of towers and steeples behind the green walls, and high up above everything the spires and dome of the Palace of Oz.
“Oz was not such a bad Wizard, after all,” said the Tin Woodman, as he felt his heart rattling around in his breast.
“He knew how to give me brains, and very good brains, too,” said the Scarecrow.
“If Oz had taken a dose of the same courage he gave me,” added the Lion, “he would have been a brave man.”
Dorothy said nothing. Oz had not kept the promise he made her, but he had done his best, so she forgave him. As he said, he was a good man, even if he was a bad Wizard.
The first day’s journey was through the green fields and bright flowers that stretched about the Emerald City on every side. They slept that night on the grass, with nothing but the stars over them; and they rested very well indeed.
In the morning they traveled on until they came to a thick wood. There was no way of going around it, for it seemed to extend to the right and left as far as they could see; and, besides, they did not dare change the direction of their journey for fear of getting lost. So they looked for the place where it would be easiest to get into the forest.
The Scarecrow, who was in the lead, finally discovered a big tree with such wide-spreading branches that there was room for the party to pass underneath. So he walked forward to the tree, but just as he came under the first branches they bent down and twined around him, and the next minute he was raised from the ground and flung headlong among his fellow travelers.
This did not hurt the Scarecrow, but it surprised him, and he looked rather dizzy when Dorothy picked him up.
“Here is another space between the trees,” called the Lion.
“Let me try it first,” said the Scarecrow, “for it doesn’t hurt me to get thrown about.” He walked up to another tree, as he spoke, but its branches immediately seized him and tossed him back again.
“This is strange,” exclaimed Dorothy. “What shall we do?”
“The trees seem to have made up their minds to fight us, and stop our journey,” remarked the Lion.
“I believe I will try it myself,” said the Woodman, and shouldering his axe, he marched up to the first tree that had handled the Scarecrow so roughly. When a big branch bent down to seize him the Woodman chopped at it so fiercely that he cut it in two. At once the tree began shaking all its branches as if in pain, and the Tin Woodman passed safely under it.
“Come on!” he shouted to the others. “Be quick!” They all ran forward and passed under the tree without injury, except Toto, who was caught by a small branch and shaken until he howled. But the Woodman promptly chopped off the branch and set the little dog free.
The other trees of the forest did nothing to keep them back, so they made up their minds that only the first row of trees could bend down their branches, and that probably these were the policemen of the forest, and given this wonderful power in order to keep strangers out of it.
The four travelers walked with ease through the trees until they came to the farther edge of the wood. Then, to their surprise, they found before them a high wall which seemed to be made of white china. It was smooth, like the surface of a dish, and higher than their heads.
“What shall we do now?” asked Dorothy.
“I will make a ladder,” said the Tin Woodman, “for we certainly must climb over the wall.”
• ANALYZING THE SCENE •
A Story Event is an active change of universal human value for one or more characters as a result of conflict (one character’s desires clash with another’s or an environmental shift changes the universal human value).
A Working Scene contains at least one Story Event. To determine a scene’s Story Event, answer these four Socratic questions:
1. What are the characters literally doing—that is, what are their micro on-the-ground actions?
Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Lion are back on the road on their way to see Glinda the Good Witch.
2. What is the essential tactic of the characters—that is, what macro behaviors are they employing that are linked to a universal human value?
The group is operating at peak efficiency as a collective with a sum greater than its individual parts.
3. What universal human values have changed for one or more characters in the scene? Which one of those value changes is most important and should be included in the Story Grid Spreadsheet?
When in doubt, the Story Grid rule of thumb is to highlight the value that best aligns with the progress of the global human value at stake in the story. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an Action Story, which has a global value at stake of Life/Death. Throughout the Story Grid Spreadsheet, we’ll track the ways life is threatened or enhanced scene by scene.
The value shift is clear, “Stymied to Remedied.”
4. What Story Event sums up the scene’s on-the-ground actions, essential tactics, and value change? We will enter that event in the Story Grid Spreadsheet.
The group travels toward Glinda and must overcome guardian trees. They then face the hurdle of getting over a porcelain wall.
HOW THE SCENE ABIDES THE FIVE COMMANDMENTS OF STORYTELLING
Inciting Incident: Dorothy and her companions leave Emerald City.
Turning Point Progressive Complication: The group comes to a forest and is met by aggressive trees that will not allow them to enter.
Crisis: Best Bad Choice: If the team does not get through the forest, they will not meet Glinda. If they try to get into the forest, they will be possibly hurt.
Climax: The Tin Woodman cuts the arms of the trees that try to grab them and gets them into the forest’s safe zone.
Resolution: The team comes to another obstacle after they’ve gone through the forest.