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Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse

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"Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse"
is an Oz short story written by L. Frank Baum, and first published in 1913. It is one of the six Little Wizard Stories of Oz.


In her Magic Picture, Princess Ozma sees that two small children have gotten lost in a forest in the far west of Oz. She sends her old friends Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse to rescue them. Knowing Jack's limitations, she draws a detailed map so that he can find the missing "babes in the woods" — and the first part of the mission is indeed successful. When Jack discovers the children, though, he finds that they have been tied to a squirrels. The Squirrel King complains that the boy and girl have been raiding his subjects' hoards of nuts; the children explain that they only did it to satisfy their hunger. Jack unties the children, and ignores the barrage of nuts thrown at him by the assembled squirrels; but then the animals knock down a dead tree limb, which shatters Jack's pumpkin head.

The Sawhorse steps into the leadership gap: he has the children mount him with Jack's headless stick body, and takes them all away from the angry squirrels. But without Jack's map, the party quickly gets lost. Ozma, wisely monitoring the situation from afar, sends the Wizard to the rescue the rescuers. The Wizard restores the children to their parents, and takes Jack back to his pumpkin patch. A quick carving job supplies Jack with a fresh new head.


Jack endures a similar, though even more prolonged, headless episode in The Runaway in Oz.

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