Monday, September 1, 2003


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Woggle-Bug Book, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the South Seas, etc.

An episode from the Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz comic page, February 19, 1905.
[This story takes place during the visit of a group of Oz characters to the United States of America.]

Mr. Jubb was a very small man, who was ashamed of his size, for Mrs. Jubb was so large that she seemed a giantess beside him, whenever they walked out together. Naturally, Mrs. Jubb was also ashamed of being so exceedingly big, and so it was that this otherwise happy couple were rendered constantly miserable by their disparity of size.

Therefore, Mr. Jubb went to the Wogglebug one day and said: "O, Wise and Considerate Insect! Will you not make me taller and my wife shorter, so that we will become properly mated?" And, after some thought, the Wogglebug replied: "It seems to me that your request is only reasonable. So, here in this roll you will find four lozenges that are quite pleasant to take. Eat the first lozenge, and you will begin to grow big. When you are big enough, then eat the second lozenge, which will cause you to stop growing. The other two are for your wife. When she eat the first she will begin to grow small, and when she is small enough to suit her fancy, she must eat the last lozenge, which will cause her to remain always just that size. Do you understand the directions?"

"Yes," returned the little man, "but how about my clothes? Will they grow with me?"

"To be sure," answered the Wogglebug; "that is one of the great merits of these magic lozenges."

"Thank you! Thank you very much, indeed!" cried the delighted Mr. Jubb, and he took the roll of lozenges and hastened home with them.

Now, the Jubbs had a little girl, named Eliza, who was taller than her father and shorter than her mother, and had a strange habit of getting into mischief.

While Mr. Jubb was explaining to his wife about the wonderful lozenges which the Wogglebug had given him, Eliza saw them lying upon the parlor table, and carried them away with her, thinking they were candy.

She ate the first lozenge as she walked down the lane back of her house, and before she realized what had happened she found she was tall enough to look over the high hedge beside the lane. This made her pause in surprise; but she continued to grow, and now could look right into the middle of a cherry tree. Indeed, it startled the child to find herself so big, and she began to be much alarmed as she realized she was still growing.

The tops of the houses were on a level with her chin by this time, and her feet had become so big that she stepped one foot over into the next street, to keep from getting crowded in the lane.

It was now that Mr. Jubb ran out of the house, crying: "Where's my lozenges? Where's Eliza?" But there was no need to ask the last question--for there stood Eliza--'most as big as a mountain, so that no one could fail to see her. She was crying, too, she was so frightened, and one of her teardrops splashed down upon poor Mr. Jubb's head and nearly drowned him, before he could scramble out of the pond it made.

"Eat another lozenge!" he screamed, knowing quite well what had caused Eliza to grow; but the girl'head was so high in the air that she could not hear him.

Still she grew--bigger and bigger every minute! All the village people were in the streets watching her, and Eliza was afraid of hurting them; for her left heel had already crowded a barn from its foundation and her right toes were spreading into Deacon Migg's orchard and breaking down the trees.

What lucky idea induced the girl to eat the next lozenge just then I do not know, but she did eat it--and stopped growing--which was certainly a fortunate thing.

Little Mr. Jubb, anxious and distressed, now tried to tell the child to eat another of the lozenges, knowing it would cause her to grow small again. But she could not hear him from her elevation, although he used a megaphone, and she was afraid to stoop lest she might lose her balance and fall upon the town--which would have caused terrible havoc. So her father out the hook-and-ladder company, and climbed up the dizzy height until he was close to the hand that hung down at her side. Then the girl took the little man carefully in her fingers and raised him up to her ear, where he at once shouted: "Eat the next lozenge--quick!"

Without hesitation she obeyed, and began to grow small as rapidly as she had grown big. She replaced her father upon the top round of the ladder, and he hurriedly descended to the ground, amidst the cheers of the spectators.

Smaller and smaller now grew Eliza, until she had to step her right foot back into the lane again. By and by she was no bigger than her mother, and finally she reached her former size--the size she had been before she fooled with the magic lozenges.

Then her father commanded her to eat the last of the lozenges, and she obeyed--to the great relief of her distressed and loving parents and the satisfaction of the crowd.

Of course, this ended Eliza's astonishing exhibition of magic, and afterward her father and mother were so glad to have their child restored to them that they agreed not to mourn over the loss of the lozenges, but to gladly remain the sizes that nature had made them, and be content with their lot.

And the Wogglebug said to himself: "I am often sorry for those poor mortals, but perhaps it is a fortunate thing that foolish and careless people do not understand the grave and important Secrets of Magic." 

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 22, 1917.

The Puzzle Corner

A surprising number of you guessed all the flowers in the Forgetful Poet's riddle bouquet. Here they are: Phlox, hollyhocks, marigold, rose and forget-me-not. He says he cannot refrain from writing poetry in the spring, that he just bubbles over with verses. Some of these sound as if they had bubbled over, and I hope you can find out what is the matter. Some of the words seem to be out of their lines, or something.

A Word on Spring

Delightful spring is here again,
The baseball blossoms fall.
And from on hat rack comes the
Robin's cheery spring time call!

The boys play fruit tree on the lot,
And from the elm tree swing
The hats and mitts and roller skates
That prove that it is spring.

Each maiden has a lovely swim
To hat the boys are going,
The careless find the newly painted
Fences most annoying!

I'm feeling awfully fit and trim
And ready for vacation
And send my love to all of you
The pride of this great nation!

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2003 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.