Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Latest Oz Short Story

Continuing L. Frank Baum's The Little Wizard Stories of Oz, I've come to what is probably the most comic story of the collection, "Tiktok and the Nome King". Needing some replacement parts (so much for his one thousand year warranty), Tik-Tok heads to the Nome Kingdom to acquire them. This was probably not the best idea anyone in Oz has ever had, considering the relationship between Oz and the Nomes. In a fit of temper (not a surprise to anyone), the Nome King breaks Tik-Tok. The Nome King commands Kaliko to throw the pieces away, but Kaliko instead reassembles Tik-Tok, replacing worn springs and cracked cogs as needed. Finally whole again, Tik-Tok wanders in to see the Nome King, who thinks he's seeing a ghost! Chaos ensues, but eventually the now-remorseful Nome King learns the truth, and sends Tik-Tok back to Oz with some jewels to appease Ozma, and vows never to get angry again—unless something annoys him, of course.

It's a fun story, maybe the best in the book, but it may have to be seen as an imaginary story, as the Nome King has never been this cordial to Ozma or her subjects. There's also the matter of timing, as there's very little space between the Nome King's appearances that make sense. (Maybe this was actually Kaliko, soon after he became king in, ironically, Tik-Tok of Oz, and it was Klik, from Rinkitink in Oz, who put Tik-Tok together again.) But just the whole ghost story aspect makes this story a gem, and so I can forgive the odd character juxtaposition.

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