Saturday, February 1, 2020


By L. Frank Baum (maybe)
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc.

Originally published in the Chicago Record-Herald, August 25, 1904.

[The following story is the third in a series of short faux newspaper articles, all uncredited, leading up to and publicizing the debut of L. Frank Baum and Walt McDougall's weekly newspaper comic page Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz (1904-05). The first seventeen episodes of Queer Visitors end with the catch-phrase, "What did the Wogglebug say?" The articles in this series end similarly. This series seems to have been exclusive to the Chicago Record-Herald. A different series of articles, also uncredited—detailing a flight of the Oz characters through outer space—publicized Queer Visitors in newspapers elsewhere. Did L. Frank Baum write these stories? Or did someone at his publisher Reilly & Britton create them? Or did a writer at the Chicago Record-Herald come up with them? Baum did not clip examples for his scrap book, so maybe he isn't the author. The conception of the Land of Oz in these stories diverges from the one Baum later developed in his Oz books, so maybe he isn't the author. They were written before Baum's conception of Oz was fully formed and any differences may mean little, so maybe Baum is the author. Baum's presentation of his Oz characters in Queer Visitors also differed from his later conception, so maybe Baum is the author. Specific details of the Oz characters in these stories match their book counterparts, so maybe Baum is the author. The tone of the stories is as confident and as engaging as Baum's writing could be, so maybe Baum is the author. Maybe we'll never know.]

Advertisement from the Chicago Record-Herald, September 1, 1904.


Former Inhabitants of Land Remember Jack Pumpkinhead and His Plight and Wonder “What Did the Woggle Bug Say?”

Children who formerly lived in Oz are expressing fear lest accident befall some of the less clever members of the party which is coming from the marvelous land to Chicago. They recall the scrape their old friend Jack Pumpkinhead, in particular, got into at the time of Princess Ozma’s coronation, and they hope his comrades will see to his safety on State street.

It seems that he was intrusted with the crown to take back to the palace after the coronation. “It’s easy,” he thought, trundling off confidently with the silver wheelbarrow, in which was the crown, covered with cloth of gold. He had not gone far, however, before he met a wayfarer, also pushing a silver barrow, in which lay something hidden by gold cloth. Jack stopped, wondering.

“Have you got a crown too?” he asked.

“I should say so,” said the stranger, “and it’s worth five million dollars.”

“This one is only worth one million,” said Jack disgustedly.

“Well, you’re such a fine fellow that I’ll give you this crown in place of yours,” declared the other. “Think how pleased the princess will be.”

“Splendid,” cried silly Jack, seizing the barrow and running off, with never a look at the supposed crown.

The instant he reached the palace the royal chamberlain dashed down the steps.

“Delighted to see you,” cried the chamberlain, and threw back the cloth of gold. He and Jack both bellowed. Nothing was there but a huge jam tart.

Jack was instantly dragged before the lord high chancellor.

“You’re sentenced to be fed on dry soda crackers for the rest of your life,” shouted the chancellor, “unless someone answers this riddle. If a green sugar chicken costs seven cents how many blue gingerbread apples can you get for a dollar?”

The Woggle Bug sprang forward. He spoke to the chancellor.

“Correct,” pronounced the great dignitary, nodding his head.

“What did the Woggle Bug say?” demanded grateful Jack.

The chancellor only laughed.

Advertisement from the Chicago Record-Herald, August 30, 1904.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 17, 1917.

The Troubadour of Supposyville

The troubadour sang blithely
As he passed the castle gate;
The Queen leaned out the casement
And entreated him to wait;
So, springing from his saddle,
He struck his sweet guitar;
The little birds a-hearing him
Sang loudly near and far;
And, just as he had ended up
His merry, merry lay,
Down tripped the Queen, and, if it were
Not too far from his way,
Begged that he take some posies
To poor lame old Mistress Sue,
And leave her pony at the blacksmith’s,
“See, he’s lost his shoe;
And tell the tailor please to put
Blue buttons on this coat;
And if you pass a postbox will
You kindly mail this note;
And will you leave this flour at
The miller’s? And please take
These berries to the baker, for
I want a berry cake;
And would you buy for me a spool
Of yellow thread, and one
Of tea rose pink? That’s all, I think.
I thought it would be fun
To give the folks a holiday,
And they’ve already gone;
And dear knows what I should have done
Had you not come along!”
The troubadour, who’d listened
In a daze—sprang on his horse,
Taking one thing, then another,
And murmuring “Of course,”
“Oh, certainly, your highness,”
And “Blue buttons for the cake;
Delighted, I assure you.”
Off he galloped—mercy sake!
The pony trotting after
And the flour on his knee,
The berries in his bonnet,
And the Queen’s coat flying free
From the saddle; and he sang a tune
That sounded monstrous queer,
“Sweet miller for the flour,
And buttons have I here”;
He hailed the postman lustily
And flung the Queen’s coat down;
“Just mail this please!” Next minute he’s
The other side of town.
Still singing gayly, on he hurries
To the blacksmith’s, leaves
The posies on the forge, then quite
A sigh of pleasure heaves;
“I’m almost finished,” chuckles he
And while the posies scorch
He drags the pony firmly up
On Madam Sue’s front porch,
Opens the door and shoves it in;
Next minute he’s away,
Taking no note of noise or din;
“A cake without delay;
With buttons blue, and hurry, too!”
He calls to the tailor man;
And dumping down the flour
To the baker shop he ran
And left the letter. “See you put
Blue berries on this flour!”
Slam went the door, my dears, before
The baker man had power
To raise a hand. The troubadour
Now paused and waved his hat,
Then caroled off contentedly—
What do you think of that?

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