Monday, January 16, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

Continuing my reading of the 1974 edition of Oziana, "Jimmy Bulber of Oz" may be the oldest Oz short story not penned by a Royal Historian. Frank J. Baum, L. Frank Baum's son, wrote it about Zoru the Witch, who was mentioned but not encountered in his novel The Laughing Dragon of Oz. Speculation is that the younger Baum wrote it to secure a trademark on the word Oz, wanting to become Royal Historian himself, but his mother and the publishers weren't going to have that. Anyway, Zoru wants to enchant people who come to her forest. The only problem is, her forest is so old and dark that nobody wants to come to her forest. So she decides to bring light to the forest, and so creates a man with a giant light bulb for a head. A mischievous nome (clearly not the same as the ones from the Oz books) brings him to life and gives him the name Jimmy Bulber. Jimmy wanders off to find adventures… and that's where things end. Not a lot, but a nice little read. I am glad Frank J. Baum did not succeed in his quest to become Royal Historian, because he just doesn't have his fathers flair, imagination, or gift for writing, nor does he really seem to understand Oz. But I am at least glad this story has an outlet and made its way out to the wider world.

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