Herby is a character featured in the Oz books of Ruth Plumly Thompson. He was introduced in her 1928 novel, The Giant Horse of Oz, as a medical doctor who had been transformed into a bottle of cough syrup by Mombi. He was freed from his transformation by Prince Philidor of Ozure Isles early in the novel, but retained a three-shelf medicine chest in his chest and cough drop eyes, and by the end of the novel, was proclaimed the Court Physician in the Emerald City palace, although, because Ozites are almost never sick and cannot die of natural causes, he does not have much work to do, only treating occasional injuries.
Herby's name probably derives from the medicinal herbs that would have been contained in his chest.
He appeared subsequently in Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz, Ojo in Oz, The Wishing Horse of Oz, Handy Mandy in Oz, and Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz.
Because of Herby's late introduction to the Oz series, the character remains under copyright and cannot appear in Oz Apocrypha, although, because of his general usefulness, allowing characters to get injured on their adventures without being stuck, he has in several cases. Mark Ellery Haas (1952-2007), for example, built a story around him for a novel titled The Medicine Man of Oz. This book was actually published, but he sought to gain permission from The Baum Trust, which denied it to him, causing him to withdraw the published book subsequent to its publication. Although its author had no objection to the transfer of digital copies, published copies of this book are quite rare and command high prices on eBay.