After considering the matter carefully, Tip decided that the
best place to locate Jack would be at the bend in the road, a
little way from the house. So he started to carry his man there,
but found him heavy and rather awkward to handle. After dragging
the creature a short distance Tip stood him on his feet, and by
first bending the joints of one leg, and then those of the other,
at the same time pushing from behind, the boy managed to induce
Jack to walk to the bend in the road. It was not accomplished
without a few tumbles, and Tip really worked harder than he ever
had in the fields or forest; but a love of mischief urged him on,
and it pleased him to test the cleverness of his workmanship.
"Jack's all right, and works fine!" he said to himself, panting
with the unusual exertion. But just then he discovered the man's
left arm had fallen off in the journey so he went back to find it,
and afterward, by whittling a new and stouter pin for the
shoulder-joint, he repaired the injury so successfully that the arm
was stronger than before. Tip also noticed that Jack's pumpkin head
had twisted around until it faced his back; but this was easily
remedied. When, at last, the man was set up facing the turn in the
path where old Mombi was to appear, he looked natural enough to be
a fair imitation of a Gillikin farmer,—and unnatural enough to
startle anyone that came on him unawares.
As it was yet too early in the day to expect the old woman to
return home, Tip went down into the valley below the farm-house and
began to gather nuts from the trees that grew there.
However, old Mombi returned earlier than usual. She had met a
crooked wizard who resided in a lonely cave in the mountains, and
had traded several important secrets of magic with him. Having in
this way secured three new recipes, four magical powders and a
selection of herbs of wonderful power and potency, she hobbled home
as fast as she could, in order to test her new sorceries.
So intent was Mombi on the treasures she had gained that when
she turned the bend in the road and caught a glimpse of the man,
she merely nodded and said:
"Good evening, sir."
But, a moment after, noting that the person did not move or
reply, she cast a shrewd glance into his face and discovered his
pumpkin head elaborately carved by Tip's jack-knife.
"Heh!" ejaculated Mombi, giving a sort of grunt; "that rascally
boy has been playing tricks again! Very good! ve—ry good! I'll beat
him black-and-blue for trying to scare me in this fashion!"
Angrily she raised her stick to smash in the grinning pumpkin
head of the dummy; but a sudden thought made her pause, the
uplifted stick left motionless in the air.
"Why, here is a good chance to try my new powder!" said she,
eagerly. "And then I can tell whether that crooked wizard has
fairly traded secrets, or whether he has fooled me as wickedly as I
So she set down her basket and began fumbling in it for one of
the precious powders she had obtained.
While Mombi was thus occupied Tip strolled back, with his
pockets full of nuts, and discovered the old woman standing beside
his man and apparently not the least bit frightened by it.
At first he was generally disappointed; but the next moment he
became curious to know what Mombi was going to do. So he hid behind
a hedge, where he could see without being seen, and prepared to
After some search the woman drew from her basket an old
pepper-box, upon the faded label of which the wizard had written
with a lead-pencil:
"Powder of Life."
"Ah—here it is!" she cried, joyfully. "And now let us see if it
is potent. The stingy wizard didn't give me much of it, but I guess
there's enough for two or three doses."
Tip was much surprised when he overheard this speech. Then he
saw old Mombi raise her arm and sprinkle the powder from the box
over the pumpkin head of his man Jack. She did this in the same way
one would pepper a baked potato, and the powder sifted down from
Jack's head and scattered over the red shirt and pink waistcoat and
purple trousers Tip had dressed him in, and a portion even fell
upon the patched and worn shoes.
Then, putting the pepper-box back into the basket, Mombi lifted
her left hand, with its little finger pointed upward, and said:
Then she lifted her right hand, with the thumb pointed upward,
Then she lifted both hands, with all the fingers and thumbs
spread out, and cried:
Jack Pumpkinhead stepped back a pace, at this, and said in a
"Don't yell like that! Do you think I'm deaf?"
Old Mombi danced around him, frantic with delight.
"He lives!" she screamed: "He lives! he lives!"
Then she threw her stick into the air and caught it as it came
down; and she hugged herself with both arms, and tried to do a step
of a jig; and all the time she repeated, rapturously:
"He lives!—he lives!—he lives!"
Now you may well suppose that Tip observed all this with
At first he was so frightened and horrified that he wanted to
run away, but his legs trembled and shook so badly that he
couldn't. Then it struck him as a very funny thing for Jack to come
to life, especially as the expression on his pumpkin face was so
droll and comical it excited laughter on the instant. So,
recovering from his first fear, Tip began to laugh; and the merry
peals reached old Mombi's ears and made her hobble quickly to the
hedge, where she seized Tip's collar and dragged him back to where
she had left her basket and the pumpkinheaded man.
"You naughty, sneaking, wicked boy!" she exclaimed, furiously:
"I'll teach you to spy out my secrets and to make fun of me!"
"I wasn't making fun of you," protested Tip. "I was laughing at
old Pumpkinhead! Look at him! Isn't he a picture, though?"
"I hope you are not reflecting on my personal appearance," said
Jack; and it was so funny to hear his grave voice, while his face
continued to wear its jolly smile, that Tip again burst into a peal
Even Mombi was not without a curious interest in the man her
magic had brought to life; for, after staring at him intently, she
"What do you know?"
"Well, that is hard to tell," replied Jack. "For although I feel
that I know a tremendous lot, I am not yet aware how much there is
in the world to find out about. It will take me a little time to
discover whether I am very wise or very foolish."
"To be sure," said Mombi, thoughtfully.
"But what are you going to do with him, now he is alive?" asked
"I must think it over," answered Mombi. "But we must get home at
once, for it is growing dark. Help the Pumpkinhead to walk."
"Never mind me," said Jack; "I can walk as well as you can.
Haven't I got legs and feet, and aren't they jointed?"
"Are they?" asked the woman, turning to Tip.
"Of course they are; I made 'em myself," returned the boy, with
So they started for the house, but when they reached the farm
yard old Mombi led the pumpkin man to the cow stable and shut him
up in an empty stall, fastening the door securely on the
"I've got to attend to you, first," she said, nodding her head
Hearing this, the boy became uneasy; for he knew Mombi had a bad
and revengeful heart, and would not hesitate to do any evil
They entered the house. It was a round, domeshaped structure, as
are nearly all the farm houses in the Land of Oz.
Mombi bade the boy light a candle, while she put her basket in a
cupboard and hung her cloak on a peg. Tip obeyed quickly, for he
was afraid of her.
After the candle had been lighted Mombi ordered him to build a
fire in the hearth, and while Tip was thus engaged the old woman
ate her supper. When the flames began to crackle the boy came to
her and asked a share of the bread and cheese; but Mombi refused
"I'm hungry!" said Tip, in a sulky tone.
"You won't be hungry long," replied Mombi, with a grim look.
The boy didn't like this speech, for it sounded like a threat;
but he happened to remember he had nuts in his pocket, so he
cracked some of those and ate them while the woman rose, shook the
crumbs from her apron, and hung above the fire a small black
Then she measured out equal parts of milk and vinegar and poured
them into the kettle. Next she produced several packets of herbs
and powders and began adding a portion of each to the contents of
the kettle. Occasionally she would draw near the candle and read
from a yellow paper the recipe of the mess she was concocting.
As Tip watched her his uneasiness increased.
"What is that for?" he asked.
"For you," returned Mombi, briefly.
Tip wriggled around upon his stool and stared awhile at the
kettle, which was beginning to bubble. Then he would glance at the
stern and wrinkled features of the witch and wish he were any place
but in that dim and smoky kitchen, where even the shadows cast by
the candle upon the wall were enough to give one the horrors. So an
hour passed away, during which the silence was only broken by the
bubbling of the pot and the hissing of the flames.
Finally, Tip spoke again.
"Have I got to drink that stuff?" he asked, nodding toward the
"Yes," said Mombi.
"What'll it do to me?" asked Tip.
"If it's properly made," replied Mombi, "it will change or
transform you into a marble statue."
Tip groaned, and wiped the perspiration from his forehead with
"I don't want to be a marble statue!" he protested.
"That doesn't matter I want you to be one," said the old woman,
looking at him severely.
"What use'll I be then?" asked Tip. "There won't be any one to
work for you."
"I'll make the Pumpkinhead work for me," said Mombi.
Again Tip groaned.
"Why don't you change me into a goat, or a chicken?" he asked,
anxiously. "You can't do anything with a marble statue."
"Oh, yes, I can," returned Mombi. "I'm going to plant a flower
garden, next Spring, and I'll put you in the middle of it, for an
ornament. I wonder I haven't thought of that before; you've been a
bother to me for years."
At this terrible speech Tip felt the beads of perspiration
starting all over his body, but he sat still and shivered and
looked anxiously at the kettle.
"Perhaps it won't work," he mutttered, in a voice that sounded
weak and discouraged.
"Oh, I think it will," answered Mombi, cheerfully. "I seldom
make a mistake."
Again there was a period of silence a silence so long and gloomy
that when Mombi finally lifted the kettle from the fire it was
close to midnight.
"You cannot drink it until it has become quite cold," announced
the old witch for in spite of the law she had acknowledged
practising witchcraft. "We must both go to bed now, and at daybreak
I will call you and at once complete your transformation into a
With this she hobbled into her room, bearing the steaming kettle
with her, and Tip heard her close and lock the door.
The boy did not go to bed, as he had been commanded to do, but
still sat glaring at the embers of the dying fire.