Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Latest Oz Short Story

Yup, still working my way through The Purple Dragon and Other Fantasies by L. Frank Baum. I finished "Tales from Phunnyland" last weekend, and so "Old King Cole" was the first story from the second section, "Tales from Mother Goose". These are, of course, taken from Mother Goose in Prose, Baum's first published book. While reading "Old King Cole", I was reminded of how Bud became King of Noland in Queen Zixi of Ix, as Cole's kingship is equally random. In both this story and Queen Zixi, however, the odd ways of finding a king seem to work out, for both show some wise outside-of-the-box thinking in how to deal with both settling disputes and matters of court, and both have lasting positive reputations. Baum is well known for borrowing liberally from himself, and this may be one of the earliest examples. "Old King Cole" is a delightful little story, if somewhat slight, and does a nice job explaining who Old King Cole is and how he came to call for all that stuff. He also reminds me of Rinkitink and some of Baum's other king (and, come to think of it, some of Thompson's, too).

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