Monday, July 03, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

Yeah, I'm a little behind. But being at an Oz Convention over the weekend will do that to you. Fortunately I'm pretty much free of major non-career obligations for the rest of the summer, and so I should be able to maintain a regular schedule. So this week's short story is from the 1980 edition of Oziana, marking the end of that journal's first decade. The first story is "How the Cowardly Lion Met the Hungry Tiger" by Judy Bieber (who I got to meet in person that same year at my very first Oz convention), with illustrations by Jay Kelly. The Cowardly Lion, on a visit to a large forest in the Gillikin Country, meets up with a large tiger who's always hungry, and the two of them stumble onto a plot by the wicked wizard Ragej to take over Oz. They decide to do something about it, but their plan goes awry and the Hungry Tiger is transformed into a canary in a cage. So it is up to another new friend, the leopard Gugu, to help the Cowardly Lion finish off Ragej and disenchant all the animals turned into canaries. They succeed, of course, and the Lion takes his friend the Hungry Tiger to the Emerald City, leaving Gugu behind to become king of the forest.

I enjoyed this a lot, and my only two quibbles are both background issues. The first is that it is widely believed by many now that the tiger that Dorothy and her friends meet on the way to Glinda's towards the end of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the Hungry Tiger. However, although first proposed by Jack Snow in Who's Who in Oz, it hadn't gained a lot of traction by 1980. In fact, it's only a theory, there's no real evidence in Wonderful Wizard that that is indeed the Hungry Tiger. My second quibble is that, as far as I can recall, Gugu doesn't recognize the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger when they meet in The Magic of Oz, nor they him. But I don't have my copy of Magic here to check, so perhaps it could be interpreted a little more ambiguously.

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