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 our Queen?"
"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."