“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.
“I might have stood there always if you had not come along,” he said; “so you have certainly saved my life. How did you happen to be here?”
“We are on our way to the Emerald City to see the Great Oz,” she answered, “and we stopped at your cottage to pass the night.”