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A tale from Oz

Timothy Kincaid

April 27th, 2013

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The Marvelous Land of Oz was the first of many sequels L Frank Baum wrote based on the characters he introduced in his masterpiece. The 1904 story tells the tale of a boy named Tip and his adventures in Oz with the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and other characters he met along the way.

The Emerald City is conquered in turn by two opposing armies of girls, as Glenda seeks to find Princess Ozma, who was hidden away by the Wizard when he stole the throne from her father.

But at the end, before the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow go off to never again be parted, a most amazing discovery is made:

“Yes,” said the old Witch, nodding her head; “that is the Princess Ozma—the child brought to me by the Wizard who stole her father’s throne. That is the rightful ruler of the Emerald City!” and she pointed her long bony finger straight at the boy.”

“I!” cried Tip, in amazement. “Why, I’m no Princess Ozma—I’m not a girl!”

Glinda smiled, and going to Tip she took his small brown hand within her dainty white one.

“You are not a girl just now” said she, gently, “because Mombi transformed you into a boy. But you were born a girl, and also a Princess; so you must resume your proper form, that you may become Queen of the Emerald City.”

“Oh, let Jinjur be the Queen!” exclaimed Tip, ready to cry. “I want to stay a boy, and travel with the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, and the Woggle-Bug, and Jack—yes! and my friend the Saw-Horse—and the Gump! I don’t want to be a girl!”

“Never mind, old chap,” said the Tin Woodman, soothingly; “it don’t hurt to be a girl, I’m told; and we will all remain your faithful friends just the same. And, to be honest with you, I’ve always considered girls nicer than boys.”

“They’re just as nice, anyway,” added the Scarecrow, patting Tip affectionately upon the head.

“And they are equally good students,” proclaimed the Woggle-Bug. “I should like to become your tutor, when you are transformed into a girl again.”

“But—see here!” said Jack Pumpkinhead, with a gasp: “if you become a girl, you can’t be my dear father any more!”

“No,” answered Tip, laughing in spite of his anxiety. “and I shall not be sorry to escape the relationship.” Then he added, hesitatingly, as he turned to Glinda: “I might try it for awhile,-just to see how it seems, you know. But if I don’t like being a girl you must promise to change me into a boy again.”

“Really,” said the Sorceress, “that is beyond my magic. I never deal in transformations, for they are not honest, and no respectable sorceress likes to make things appear to be what they are not. Only unscrupulous witches use the art, and therefore I must ask Mombi to effect your release from her charm, and restore you to your proper form. It will be the last opportunity she will have to practice magic.”

“Now that the truth about Princes Ozma had been discovered, Mombi did not care what became of Tip; but she feared Glinda’s anger, and the boy generously promised to provide for Mombi in her old age if he became the ruler of the Emerald City. So the Witch consented to effect the transformation, and preparations for the event were at once made.”

“Glinda ordered her own royal couch to be placed in the center of the tent. It was piled high with cushions covered with rose-colored silk, and from a golden railing above hung many folds of pink gossamer, completely concealing the interior of the couch.

The first act of the Witch was to make the boy drink a potion which quickly sent him into a deep and dreamless sleep. Then the Tin Woodman and the Woggle-Bug bore him gently to the couch, placed him upon the soft cushions, and drew the gossamer hangings to shut him from all earthly view.”

“The Witch squatted upon the ground and kindled a tiny fire of dried herbs, which she drew from her bosom. When the blaze shot up and burned clearly old Mombi scattered a handful of magical powder over the fire, which straightway gave off a rich violet vapor, filling all the tent with its fragrance and forcing the Saw-Horse to sneeze—although he had been warned to keep quiet.”

“Then, while the others watched her curiously, the hag chanted a rhythmical verse in words which no one understood, and bent her lean body seven times back and forth over the fire. And now the incantation seemed complete, for the Witch stood upright and cried the one word “Yeowa!” in a loud voice.

The vapor floated away; the atmosphere became, clear again; a whiff of fresh air filled the tent, and the pink curtains of the couch trembled slightly, as if stirred from within.”

“Glinda walked to the canopy and parted the silken hangings. Then she bent over the cushions, reached out her hand, and from the couch arose the form of a young girl, fresh and beautiful as a May morning. Her eyes sparkled as two diamonds, and her lips were tinted like a tourmaline. All adown her back floated tresses of ruddy gold, with a slender jeweled circlet confining them at the brow. Her robes of silken gauze floated around her like a cloud, and dainty satin slippers shod her feet.”

“At this exquisite vision Tip’s old comrades stared in wonder for the space of a full minute, and then every head bent low in honest admiration of the lovely Princess Ozma. The girl herself cast one look into Glinda’s bright face, which glowed with pleasure and satisfaction, and then turned upon the others. Speaking the words with sweet diffidence, she said:

“I hope none of you will care less for me than you did before. I’m just the same Tip, you know; only—only—”

“Only you’re different!” said the Pumpkinhead; and everyone thought it was the wisest speech he had ever made.”

Have a magical weekend.

Comments

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Rob
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

Can you imagine the controversy that storyline would cause if it was written today?

Regan DuCasse
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

I told several people that they’ve have to read the entire trilogy of the Oz stories to know that Dorothy is TRANSGENDERED!!!

A lot of people didn’t know there were three books. I read all of them when I was about nine years old.

Steve
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

Wait, Dorothy? I think you mean Tip/Ozma.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

There were in total 14 Oz books written by Baum along with a few dozen more by other authors.

james
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

Can we start a Box Turtle Bulletin Frank Baum Book Club and read them all and discuss them? Doesn’t that sound fun, boys and girls?

Sam
April 28th, 2013 | LINK

I’m not sure what this has to do with gay people or why you would think that it does. I hope that you don’t work with any gay and lesbian youth.

Priya Lynn
April 28th, 2013 | LINK

Gotta love those trans-haters.

octobercountry
April 28th, 2013 | LINK

Columnist Mari Ness did a very amusing re-read of the entire Oz series (including this book, of course), in which she comments on some of the odder portions of the stories. (I got a kick out of the way she pointed out how SO MANY of the books feature “Ozma fail”—Ozma turned out to be an extremely incompetent leader!)

If you’d like to give these essays a look, you can find the complete listing here:

http://www.tor.com/features/series/oz-reread

StraightGrandmother
April 28th, 2013 | LINK

Tim,
I really enjoyed that. Many thanks! I am positive that whatever youth you interact with in your life, are much richer for having you in their lives.

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