12 June 2012

The Sawhorse and the Guardian of the Gates

I found this thin little Oz story in a twelve-year-old file on my hard drive.

The Sawhorse clattered to a halt beside the city gate. “Unlock the doors!” he called.

The Guardian of the Gates around the walled metropolis regretfully replied, “Believe me, all this afternoon I’ve tried. The iron bar that holds the doors is stalled, and nobody can leave the Emerald—”

“Who let this happen?”

“I,” the Guardian sighed. “I took a wishing pill to be a bard, completing verses for my tunes. But fate has barred me from the post I was assigned.”

The Sawhorse pawed the ground and pondered hard. “What tune?” he asked.

The Guardian sang. The gates swung free. “But how?”

“You sang your opening line.”
This Guardian is presumably the one in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, who plays the title character a tune on his mouth organ. I’ve theorized elsewhere that he’s not actually the same Guardian of the Gates in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and other books (as shown above, depicted by W. W. Denslow), but rather a temporary substitute. The usual Guardian seems much more dedicated to his job than the one who composes music.

TOMORROW: The secret of this story.

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