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Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

By: L. Frank Baum

Its publication soon after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake got readers instantly hooked on the story in which Dorothy and her friends sink into the bowels of the earth, following a devastating earthquake in California. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is the fourth in the series of books written by American children's author L. Frank Baum. In this novel, Dorothy visits her Uncle Henry in his California ranch. She, her friends, her cousins and a few pets are traveling in a buggy when the earth suddenly splits open and the entire lot falls into the crack. From here on, a series of adventures follows, with the children having bizarre encounters in the Land of the Mangaboos which is inhabited by the Vegetable People. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz suddenly makes his appearance and together, they all travel onto further amazing countries. Princess Ozma appears to rescue Dorothy and her companions as they meet one disaster after another.

Dorothy Gale is gladly joining her Uncle Henry in California to visit relatives who live at Hugson's Ranch, after their vacation from Australia in Ozma of Oz. Dorothy meets Hugson's nephew who is her second cousin, Zeb of Hugson's Ranch. Dorothy, Eureka (her cat) and Zeb are riding a buggy being pulled by a cab-horse named Jim when a violent earthquake strikes. A crevice opens in the ground beneath them and they fall deep into the Earth.

Dorothy, Eureka, Jim, Zeb, and the buggy land in the underground Land of the Mangaboos, a race of vegetable people who grow on vines. The Mangaboos accuse them of causing the earthquake, which has damaged many of their glass buildings. Just as they are about to be sentenced to death by the Mangaboos, a hot air balloon randomly descends, and in the basket is the former Wizard of Oz, whom Dorothy last saw as he floated away into the sky from the Emerald City at the end of the earlier book The Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard demonstrates his (humbug) magic powers, first, by "conjuring" nine tiny, mouse-sized piglets (actually taking them from his pocket by sleight-of-hand), and then, by lighting a fire, which is a phenomenon unknown to the Mangaboos. Impressed, the Mangaboo prince gives him a temporary job as court wizard, but the death sentence is only postponed until a new, native Mangaboo wizard grows ripe enough to serve. Eureka asks for permission to eat one of the piglets, but the Wizard angrily refuses to allow this. The Mangaboo people eventually drive the travelers out of their country into a dark tunnel, which leads to another kingdom.

They pass through the tunnel into a beautiful green valley. They enter a seemingly empty cottage and are welcomed by invisible people, for they have entered the Valley of Voe, whose inhabitants are able to remain invisible by eating a magic fruit, and use their invisibility to hide from marauding bears. In order to avoid being eaten by the bears, the travelers move on.

The companions climb Pyramid Mountain, and meet the Braided Man, a manufacturer of holes, flutters (guaranteed to make any flag flutter on a windless day), and rustles for silk dresses. After exchanging gifts with him, the travelers continue upwards into the Land of the Gargoyles, which are hostile, silent, flying monsters made of wood. The travelers are able, at first, to repel their attack successfully because the Gargoyles are frightened by loud noises. However, the travelers are soon out of breath and unable to make more noise, so the Gargoyles capture them. After recuperating from the fight, the travelers manage to escape, and enter another tunnel.

After a close encounter with a family of baby dragons, they find themselves trapped in a cave with no exit. The Wizard, Zeb, and the animals all fear that they will die of thirst, but Dorothy reveals that she has an arrangement with Princess Ozma: each day at four o'clock, Ozma uses her magic picture to see what Dorothy is doing, and if Dorothy gives a certain visual hand-signal, Ozma will use her magic belt to transport Dorothy out of danger to the Emerald City. In this way, the travelers are rescued.

Soon after renewing his acquaintance with the Emerald City staff and making the acquaintance of Ozma and her courtiers, the Wizard elects to remain in Oz permanently, planning to learn real magic from Glinda the good witch. He demonstrates his piglet-trick in a magic show, and gives one of the piglets to Ozma as a pet. The others stay for an extended visit, whose highlights include a race between the wooden Saw-Horse and Jim, which the Sawhorse wins. Eureka is accused of eating Ozma's pet piglet. In fact, Eureka is innocent and the piglet is alive and well, but the obstinate Eureka enjoys being the center of the court's attention, and does not try to prove her innocence until the trial is over. After the piglet is restored to Ozma and Zeb and Jim decide they've had enough of fairyland, Ozma then uses the Magic Belt to send Dorothy and Eureka back to Kansas, and Zeb and Jim back to California.

 

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

English

Published In

1908

Author

L. Frank Baum

United States

Baum's avowed intentions with the Oz books and his other fairy tales was to retell tales such as those which are found in the works of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, make them in an A...

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