Study Guide

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Chapter 12

By L. Frank Baum

Chapter 12

The Search for the Wicked Witch

  • The soldier leads the gang back to the gate. They give back their special glasses and set off on their way. They ask for the directions and are told to head west…which makes sense, given they're looking for the Wicked Witch of the West. Right?
  • Dorothy notices that her new green dress has turned white. Interesting.
  • As Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion sleep that night (the Scarecrow and the tin man never sleep), the wicked witch sees them through her psychic eye device. She instantly orders a huge wolf pack to go eat them. She doesn't even want to make them her slaves.
  • But the Scarecrow and the tin man are awake, and they hear the wolves coming. The tin man chops them all to death with his axe.
  • Dorothy is a little freaked out when she wakes up to a pile of 40 wolf corpses.
  • The witch is super mad about her wolves, so she sends a murder of crows to peck them to death. This time the Scarecrow steps up. He tells everyone to lie down on the ground. When the crows fly at him, he breaks their necks. All forty of them.
  • The wicked witch isn't too happy about this turn of events, either. Next, she sends a swarm of bees to sting the travelers to death.
  • This time the tin man scatters all the Scarecrow's stuffing over Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion to protect them. (It's the scarecrow's plan, so no hating on the tin man.) When the bees try to sting the tin man, their stingers break off and they die.
  • The gang puts the Scarecrow back together, and they all carry on their way. Meanwhile, the wicked witch is madder than ever. She calls in the Winkies.
  • The Winkies, despite their sort of silly sounding name, carry some pretty nasty sharp weapons. They go to attack the gang, but the Lion scares them off.
  • Her resources depleted, the witch decides to call in the experts: the Winged Monkeys. She has some sort of crazy Golden Cap that calls them, and they have to obey her orders.
  • The witch has used the Winged Monkeys twice before: once to enslave the Winkies and once to drive the Great Oz out of the West. This will be her third and last time using their services, according to the rules of the Golden Cap.
  • She calls the monkeys, and their leader agrees that they will destroy the travelers. Uh oh!
  • The Winged Monkeys are more effective than all the other animal attackers. They quickly dispatch with the Scarecrow and the tin man. Then they take Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion to the witch's palace.
  • (By the way, they can't hurt Dorothy because of that special mark she has from the good witch's kiss.)
  • One of the monkeys tells the witch about the mark. Then they say will never see the witch again.
  • The wicked witch is a bit worried about the mark. She knows it makes her powerless over Dorothy. She also worries about Dorothy's silver shoes, which she knows to be powerful.
  • Then the witch realizes that Dorothy has no clue about the mark or the shoes, so she makes her a slave. Dorothy gets right to work.
  • The witch tries to starve the Lion, who she's keeping in a pen outside. But Dorothy sneaks him food at night.
  • The witch can't hurt Dorothy, but she can threaten her. This is effective because Dorothy doesn't realize that she can't be harmed.
  • The witch has an eye on Dorothy's silver shoes. She wants them bad. The only problem is Dorothy only takes them off when she's in the bath, and the witch is deathly afraid of water.
  • Finally, the witch has an idea: she'll trip Dorothy and steal one of her shoes when it flies off during the fall. Somehow, this plan works.
  • When Dorothy asks for her shoe back, the witch just taunts her. Dorothy gets so mad that she picks up a bucket of water and tosses it at her. D'oh!
  • The witch starts melting. So that's why she was so afraid of water.
  • Dorothy had no idea the water would make the witch melt. But that doesn't matter, and the witch melts away.
  • Good riddance.