Wednesday, April 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 27, 1904.

[The following story is the last 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, August 31, 1904.


Which Reminds Former Toymaker How the Woggle Bug Saved the Gum Drop Tree at a Crucial Moment.

“I’ve had a wireless message that the Tin Woodman is with the distinguished Ozite tourists who are soon to reach Chicago,” said the former leading toymaker of Oz yesterday. “This is reassuring news, as the Tin Woodman’s ax will aid greatly in frightening anyone who might wish to attack the party.”

“I’ve always loved the Tin Woodman,” cried the toymaker’s little boy. “He’s such a friend of the children.”

“Of course he is,” said the father. “Do you remember how badly he felt when he was ordered to cut down the gum drop tree? You see, Princess Ozma’s court physician,” went on the toymaker, without waiting for an answer, “had decided that gum drops were bad for children, and that the boys and girls of Oz were eating too many. Se he issued a decree that the huge gum drop tree, which stood in the middle of chocolate cream forest, must be cut down.

“A date was set for the execution, and the Tin Woodman ordered to grind his ax as sharp as possible. On the fatal day Princess Ozma and her entire court, as well as all the children of Oz, gathered about the gum drop tree.

“Many of the smaller children began to cry when they realized they would never see a gum drop again. The Tin Woodman, too, was much affected. He felt the edge of his ax in sorrowful fashion and tears stood in his eyes.

“ ‘It’s a shame,’ he muttered.

“But the court physician had no compunctions. ‘Get ready,’ he cried. The Tin Woodman advanced.

“ ‘Strike,’ bawled the court physician.

“The ax was poised. The children groaned.

“ ‘Stop,’ suddenly rang a voice. The Woggle Bug dashed up.

“ ‘This is absurd,’ he shouted. ‘Don’t you know that the gum drop tree—‘ And he began whispering angrily to the court physician.

“ ‘We must keep the tree,’ cried the latter, quickly turning to the Princess.

“ ‘What did the Woggle Bug say?’ she asked.

“But the court physician would not tell.”

Advertisement from the Chicago Record-Herald, September 8, 1904.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, July 8, 1917.

Vacations in Supposyville

Of course, you know in summer
’Tis the thing to go away;
To take a trip, in train or ship,
To mountain, sea or bay;
And up and down, and in and out,
The summer travelers range
In search of the elusive, known
By wise men as a change;
The change they lose to find it is
Enormous; still they fare
With box and bag and baggage east
And west and everywhere.
Now in Supposyville they use
A deal more wit and common sense;
Enjoy the thrills of traveling
Without embarrassing expense;
They day before they set to go
Is spent in packing preparation;
For without this gigantic task
Who’d ever start a real vacation?
They run upstairs and down with hats
And shoes and petticoats and slips,
And make in all before they’re done
Some forty-eleven different trips;
Straps all fast, the porters come
And throw the baggage down the stairs,
In quite the proper traveling style;
Then for the journey each prepares.
A train of chairs is waiting, and
They quickly hop aboard,
The King and Queen and all of ’em;
The miller pulls a cord,
The footman loudly rings a bell,
While dear old Fiddlesticks
Calls out the stations loud and well;
A pail of cinders fix
The matter finally, blown about
With several good big bellows,
They make the ride seem realer still,
While several sturdy fellows
Jiggle the chairs. “Why,” said the Queen,
“For such experiences pay,
When we can be uncomfortable
For nothing in this way?”
Thus travel they the long hot day,
And tumble off at night
Weary and dusty and tired, as if
They’d really traveled right.
“And,” as the King said to the Queen,
“These yearly journeys tend
The joys and comforts of our homes
To doubly recommend,
And hence are useful.” Isn’t that
Just like Supposyville—
To take a journey right at home,
A journey standing still?
And to complete the thing, they change
Their houses with their neighbors,
And have all sorts of larks and fun
In new homes and new labors;
The baker has the tailor’s house,
And gayly tries to sew;
The tailor at the baker’s shop
Strives bravely with the dough;
The miller’s at the castle, and
The King is at the mill;
Oh! Don’t they do the queerest things
In old Supposyville?

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