Sunday, December 13, 2015

This Week's Oz Short Story

The next of the "Tales from Phunnyland" in The Purple Dragon and Other Fantasies by L. Frank Baum is "The Wicked Wizard and the Princess Truella", in which said Wizard steals the princess's big toe, and she tries to get it back. In many ways, this is an old-fashioned Quest tale, but Baum puts in enough of his own twists to liven things up. How many other stories can you think of where the hero (or in this case, heroine) uses a stick of chewing gum to solve a problem? Truella's initial journey to consult the sorceress Maetta is suggested by Prince Timtom, and his story and how he won the heart of Princess Pattycake are alluded to, but sadly that story is not in this collection, which is too bad as it's a fun one. I was struck by how Maetta knew exactly what to give Truella that would help her defeat the Wizard, and with nothing left over. I guess that's the sort of thing that happens in these types of stories. I was also struck by how Baum reused many elements of this story in his later works, notably Rinkitink in Oz. Some of the Wizard's confrontation reminds me of Ugu in his wicker castle in The Lost Princess of Oz, and perhaps Truella using a stork as a mount to see Maetta may have inspired Glinda's swan chariot. Anyway, I enjoyed visiting this one again.

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