To My Readers
It's no use; no use at all. The children won't let me stop telling tales
of the Land of Oz. I know lots of other stories, and I hope to tell
them, some time or another; but just now my loving tyrants won't allow
me. They cry: "Oz--Oz! more about Oz, Mr. Baum!" and what can I do but
obey their commands?
This is Our Book--mine and the children's. For they have flooded me with
thousands of suggestions in regard to it, and I have honestly tried to
adopt as many of these suggestions as could be fitted into one story.
After the wonderful success of "Ozma of Oz" it is evident that Dorothy
has become a firm fixture in these Oz stories. The little ones all love
Dorothy, and as one of my small friends aptly states: "It isn't a real
Oz story without her." So here she is again, as sweet and gentle and
innocent as ever, I hope, and the heroine of another strange adventure.
There were many requests from my little correspondents for "more about
the Wizard." It seems the jolly old fellow made hosts of friends in the
first Oz book, in spite of the fact that he frankly acknowledged himself
"a humbug." The children had heard how he mounted into the sky in a
balloon and they were all waiting for him to come down again. So what
could I do but tell "what happened to the Wizard afterward"? You will
find him in these pages, just the same humbug Wizard as before.
There was one thing the children demanded which I found it impossible to
do in this present book: they bade me introduce Toto, Dorothy's little
black dog, who has many friends among my readers. But you will see, when
you begin to read the story, that Toto was in Kansas while Dorothy was
in California, and so she had to start on her adventure without him. In
this book Dorothy had to take her kitten with her instead of her dog;
but in the next Oz book, if I am permitted to write one, I intend to
tell a good deal about Toto's further history.
Princess Ozma, whom I love as much as my readers do, is again introduced
in this story, and so are several of our old friends of Oz. You will
also become acquainted with Jim the Cab-Horse, the Nine Tiny Piglets,
and Eureka, the Kitten. I am sorry the kitten was not as well behaved as
she ought to have been; but perhaps she wasn't brought up properly.
Dorothy found her, you see, and who her parents were nobody knows.
I believe, my dears, that I am the proudest story-teller that ever
lived. Many a time tears of pride and joy have stood in my eyes while I
read the tender, loving, appealing letters that come to me in almost
every mail from my little readers. To have pleased you, to have
interested you, to have won your friendship, and perhaps your love,
through my stories, is to my mind as great an achievement as to become
President of the United States. Indeed, I would much rather be your
story-teller, under these conditions, than to be the President. So you
have helped me to fulfill my life's ambition, and I am more grateful to
you, my dears, than I can express in words.
I try to answer every letter of my young correspondents; yet sometimes
there are so many letters that a little time must pass before you get
your answer. But be patient, friends, for the answer will surely come,
and by writing to me you more than repay me for the pleasant task of
preparing these books. Besides, I am proud to acknowledge that the books
are partly yours, for your suggestions often guide me in telling the
stories, and I am sure they would not be half so good without your
clever and thoughtful assistance.
L. FRANK BAUM