Sunday, February 28, 2016

This Week's Oz Short Story

In The Purple Dragon and Other Fantasies by L. Frank Baum, I've started the section of selections from Animal Fairy Tales. This was Baum's last major series of short stories, written in 1905 (although not published in a collected edition until 1969), and it shows, as he is a more assured writer, willing to take a little time and develop his story. Nevertheless, upon rereading "The Forest Oracle", I noticed two major Baum tropes. One is the gullibility of people to believe anything they think is wisdom, as shown in both "The Wond'rous Wise Man" and "Three Wise Men of Gotham" in this book; and also the opportunist using trickery and flimflam to their advantage, seen in both the incident with Kwytoffle the Tyrant in The Enchanted Island of Yew and the Wizard of Oz himself, hiding behind his various disguises. But in his story, not only is Chip-Cheloogoo, the protagonist, a chimpanzee, but when he discovers the true nature of the forest oracle, instead of exposing him, he tricks him into leaving and takes over the job himself!

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