With today's reading of "The Enchanted Buffalo", I have come to the end at last of The Purple Dragon and Other Fantasies by L. Frank Baum, a book I've waited nearly forty years to own. And it may have ended with the finest story in the book, as "The Enchanted Buffalo" is a very well told tale of power and rank and privilege, the price some people are willing to pay for them, and the true costs. The king of the Okolom tribe of buffaloes — the largest and noblest tribe on the prairies — has lost its king, and the arrogant Barrag uses magic to become the new king. He fails to account for Oknu, the old king's son, however, and the tribe decides that they will acknowledge Barrag for now, until Oknu is big enough to challenge him. But Barrag enters into a bargain that proves to be his downfall.
It's not that I hadn't read any of these stories before. In fact, I've read some of them many times before. But having them in this handsome volume, with insights from editor David L. Greene and new illustrations by Tim Kirk, is good to have.
I had originally planned to take some time out of my short story reading, so that I can concentrate on other things for a bit. But an opportunity came up, and I decided to start up a big project I've been thinking of while continuing my short story reading with&ellips; But no, that can wait until next week!