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Ozma of Oz

Ozma of Oz

A Record of Her Adventures with Dorothy Gale of Kansas, the Yellow Hen, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, Tik-Tok, the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger; Besides Other Good People too Numerous to Mention Faithfully Recorded Herein published on July 30, 1907, was the third book of L. Frank Baum's Oz series. It was the first in which Baum was clearly intending a series of Oz books.

Uncle Henry has been ordered by his doctor to take a vacation from his Kansas farm to Australia. He and his niece Dorothy Gale (this is the first of the Oz books in which the reader learns her last name) are aboard a steamship traveling there when they are caught in a fierce storm and separated. Dorothy is tossed overboard in a large poultry crate along with Billina, a yellow hen that was also on the ship.

Dorothy and Billina wash ashore and pick something to eat from a lunch pail tree. She guesses that they are in a "fairy country" because lunch pails do not normally grow on trees and animals like Billina do not talk, but it's not Oz because that country has no seashore. They come across a message inscribed in the sand: "BEWARE THE WHEELERS"! Soon they meet these gaudily dressed, loud-yelling creatures who have wheels instead of hands and feet, and roll around on all fours. Dorothy and Billina climb a rocky mountain to escape them and find a door carved into its side. Having found the key by the door, they open it and find Tik-Tok, a round copper mechanical man whom they activate by winding up all three of his clockwork motors (one each for thinking, motion and speech) with the key like a wind-up toy.

Tik-Tok tells Dorothy and Billina about the Land of Ev where they are now and the loss of its royal family to the magic of the Nome King. He takes them to safety from the Wheelers to the royal residence where the head-exchanging Princess Langwidere (the niece of the deceased king of Ev) locks them in a high tower. Tik-Tok stops in mid-motion unable to move again until he is wound up with the key.

Ozma and her companions (many of whom appeared in the two previous Oz books) cross the Deadly Desert with the aid of a magic carpet provided by Glinda the Good Witch to free the royal family of Ev, and Ozma has Dorothy released from Princess Langwidere's custody. Cheerful reunions are had by the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, and new introductions are made to Ozma and the Hungry Tiger, a massive tiger hamstrung by his conscience.

The expedition journeys to the underground kingdom of the Nomes, where the Nome King reveals that he has turned the royal family into ornaments around his palace. The Oz people are given the option to guess which ornaments they are (he does not reveal that they are royal purple ones), but if they fail, they will also become ornaments. Ozma, the twenty-seven soldiers of the Royal Army of Oz, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and Tik-Tok all suffer this fate (Dorothy escapes it only by touching a purple ornament in one of her guesses). When the guests from Oz retire one night, Billina learns which of the Nome King's ornaments were once people and about the magic belt that he wears.

Billina was originally not going to be allowed to guess, but she so infuriates the Nome King by laying an egg (poisonous to any Nome) under his throne that he lets her guess. All of her guesses turn out to be right, thanks to her learning his transformation secrets. He commands his army to recapture all of them by force, but Dorothy takes the magic belt, the Army's sole private takes the offensive, and Billina's eggs are left in the Nomes' paths so they do not dare follow.

After returning the royal family of Ev (the queen mother, five boys, and five girls) to their rightful place, Ozma, Dorothy, and the others return to Oz where a great victory celebration is held in the Emerald City. Dorothy is officially made a Princess of Oz, Billina elects to remain in Oz, and Ozma uses the magic belt to send Dorothy to Australia to be reunited with Uncle Henry.

Author:L. Frank Baum

Tag:L. Frank BaumOzAmerican

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