The Magical Monarch of Mo

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First edition

The Surprising Adventures of the Magical Monarch of Mo and His People (copyright registered June 17, 1896) is the first full-length children's fantasy book by L. Frank Baum. Originally published in 1899 as A New Wonderland, Being the First Account Ever Printed of the Beautiful Valley, and the Wonderful Adventures of Its Inhabitants, the book was reissued in 1903 with a new title in order to capitalize upon the alliterative title of Baum's successful The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book is only slightly altered—Mo is called Phunniland or Phunnyland, but aside from the last paragraph of the first chapter, they are essentially the same book. It is illustrated by Frank Ver Beck.

Mo is much more of a nonsense book than Oz, bringing to mind Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which is probably what the original title referred to.

Each chapter is a different story, unlike Baum's other books, which are full length stories. They do, however have a general throughline, and can be seen as an episodic novel.

Plot summary[edit]

Chapter One has no plot, but rather is a basic description of the Land of Mo, or "The Beautiful Valley". It explains that everyone in Mo is happy, and that the people never need to work, because everything they could desire grows on the trees, including items such as clothes. In A New Wonderland, the author mentions planning to move there himself, but this was omitted from subsequent editions.

King Mo fights the Purple Dragon

Chapter Two: The Monarch of Mo goes to fight the Purple Dragon, which has just eaten all of the caramels in the land. The Dragon bites off his head, and the King is forced to go home headless. The King tries to make the best of it, but the Queen complains that she cannot kiss him anymore, so he issues an edict saying that whoever can make him a new head will get to marry one of the princesses. After two failures, a durable head is made out of wood by a wood-chopper. The Purple Dragon finds the wood-chopper and bites his head off, replacing it with the King's head. When the wood-chopper appears in court, he switches heads with the King, so that the King has his own head again and the wood-chopper has a wooden head he made. The King then tries to fulfill his promise, but the princesses refuse to marry a wooden-headed man. The wood-chopper then confronts the Purple Dragon, who tries its head-biting technique again, only to get its teeth stuck in the wooden head, thus letting the wood-chopper get his own head back so he can marry a princess.

Chapter Three: The Monarch meets a dog, who is a curiosity because there are no dogs in Mo. However, his majesty loses his temper and ends up kicking the dog who literally gets bent out of shape until he resumes his natural form again.

Chapter Four: Prince Zingle, the oldest Prince, is upset because the King will not let him milk the Ice-Cream Cow. Urged by the Purple Dragon, Zingle pushes his father down a large hole so he will become the King. The Monarch escapes from the hole and punishes Zingle by abandoning him on the Fruit Cake Island on the Rootbeer River, an island made of fruit cake. After a while, Prince Zingle gets such a furious stomachache from eating nothing but fruit cake that he repents.

Chapter Five: The King celebrates his birthday (which he does several times a year) by throwing a huge celebration, during which he entertains everyone with items from a magical casket. Everyone goes ice-skating on a lake of sugar-syrup. The sugar cracks and Princess Truella, Prince Jollikin and Nuphsed sink to the bottom. The King gets them out by fishing for them, baiting the line with a kiss for Truella and a laugh for Jollikin. But when it comes to getting Nuphsed, no one knows what he likes best, so they consult the Wise Donkey. The Wise Donkey suggests that they use an apple, knowing that it won't work. When it doesn't work, the Wise Donkey eats the apple and tells them to use a kind word. They do, and it works.

Chapter Six: King Scowleyow, who lives in a nearby country, hates the people of Mo, and has his people build a giant man out of cast-iron, designed to destroy Mo. They wind up the Cast-iron and he walks towards Mo, but trips on the dog. Prince Thinkabit figures out how to get rid of the Cast-iron Man: he tickles the Cast-iron man to get him on his back, then he pushes a pin in the Cast-iron Man to get him to stand up again, but now the Cast-iron Man is facing the other way, so he goes to King Scowleyow's kingdom and destroys it instead. The Cast-iron man eventually gets stuck in the mud at the bottom of the ocean and is never heard from again.

Chapter Seven: A boy named Timtom falls in love with Princess Pattycake, the most beautiful princess, who unfortunately has a bad temper and tries to beat anyone who talks to her. He journeys to see the Sorceress Maëtta to get her help, and along the way, he meets three animals, who agree to help him in return for gifts from Maëtta. Timtom gets a pill for getting rid of Pattycake's temper and the gifts for the animals, but they are stolen by a Sly Fox. Timtom manages to recover the gifts, thus pleasing the animals. He then goes to Pattycake and feeds her the pill. She loses her temper and then agrees to marry him.

Chapter Eight: A horrible monster called a gigaboo comes to Mo and starts destroying things. Prince Jollikin fights the gigaboo, and has his head, arms and legs cut off. Prince Jollikin manages to put himself back together, although at first he could only find his legs and head. He then saves the day by killing the gigaboo.

Chapter Nine: There is an evil wizard in Mo who is a midget and very sensitive about his height, so he tries to make a potion to increase his height. One of the ingredients of the potion is the big toe of a princess, so he steals the toe from Princess Truella. Truella gives chase, overcoming the obstacles the Wizard throws at her, and eventually kills the Wizard and recovers her toe.

Chapter Ten: The Duchess Bredenbutta falls asleep on her boat while it floats down the Rootbeer River, and so she gets too close to the waterfall at the end of the river and falls down. She ends up in Turvyland, where everything is opposite of the way it should be. With some help from a local named Upsydoun, she manages to get back to her home.

Chapter Eleven: The King's animal crackers, which are real animals, fight amongst each other, putting the King in a bad mood, so when Prince Fiddlecumdoo asks to leave Mo, the King consents, although it is a bad idea. Prince Fiddlecumdoo leaves and meets a friendly giant named Hartilaf. Hartilaf's wife accidentally runs the prince through a clothes-wringer, and Prince Fiddlecumdoo returns home, completely flat. They use an air pump to get him back to normal.

Chapter Twelve: Prince Zingle builds a large kite, which flies into the air, taking Zingle with it, eventually landing in the Land of the Civilized Monkeys, where monkeys act like humans. The monkeys do not speak English (but rather, they speak Monkey) and have never seen a human before, so they think Zingle is a dangerous animal and lock him in the zoo, where all of the monkeys come to see him, including two professors who believe that Zingle may be the missing link. Prince Zingle manages to escape and get back home.

Chapter Thirteen: The King's plum-pudding has been stolen, so he asks his wise men who did it. The wise men blame the fox, who is captured. The fox explains that he did not do it, as he was busy curing his family's sore throats by taking out the throats and turning them inside-out, then drying them in the sun. The wise men then blame the bullfrog, who is also captured. The bullfrog explains that he did not do it, as he and his wife were busy trying to save their tadpoles, who were eaten by a large fish. The wise men then blame the Yellow Hen, who is also captured. She explains that she did not do it, as her last batch of eggs accidentally produced a Hawk, not a chicken, and the Hawk took her away to a different country, and she spent the last nine days returning to Mo. The King, furious at the wise men for being wrong three times, has them put into a meat-grinder, so that they are mixed into one wise man, who tells the King that the Purple Dragon stole the plum-pudding.

Chapter Fourteen: The King holds a council of war to try to figure out how to destroy the Purple Dragon. They decide that the dragon cannot be destroyed, but at least they could rip out its teeth and make it harmless. They build a giant pair of forceps and clamp it to one of the Purple Dragon's teeth. The Purple Dragon winds its tail around a pillar to avoid being pulled by the people. As it turns out, his tooth cannot be removed, even though the men run to the other side of the valley; instead, the Purple Dragon is stretched all the way across the valley, so that it is no thicker than a fiddle-string. Prince Fiddlecumdoo cuts the Purple Dragon into fiddle-strings, and so the Valley of Mo is freed from its worst enemy.

Princess Pattycake lobs a shoe at Prince Timtom
Princess Truella rides a stork to the high mountains

Characters[edit]

  • The Monarch: The Monarch of Mo is the ruler of Mo, and rarely unhappy. He tries his best to make everyone as happy as possible.
  • The Queen: She rarely appears, but when she does, she acts more like a typical wife/mother than a typical Queen.
  • Prince Zingle: The oldest prince, who tries to kill the King in order to gain the crown, but fails and later repents. His name is a play on single, because he was left single on an island. Later on, he accidentally reaches the Land of the Civilized Monkeys, where he is put in a zoo, but manages to escape.
  • Prince Thinkabit: The smartest of the princes, who is sometimes called upon to figure out solutions to problems.
  • Prince Jollikin: He is the most playful of the princes, as evidenced by his name, which is based on the word "Jolly". He fights the Gigaboo and loses, but when he tries to fight the Gigaboo a second time, he wins and saves Mo from destruction.
  • Prince Fiddlecumdoo: The youngest prince, who is somewhat spoiled. He plays the fiddle very well, and visits the giant Hartilaf, whose wife accidentally crushes him flat.
  • (Prince) Timtom: Timtom falls in love with the Princess Pattycake, and undergoes several dangers in order to cure her of her bad temper. He succeeds and then they get married, and he becomes a Prince.
  • Princess Pattycake: She is the most beautiful of the King's daughters, but has a bad temper and tries to hurt anyone who talks to her. Timtom manages to cure her, and she then agrees to marry him.
  • Princess Truella: Her big toe is stolen by the Wizard, and she undergoes many hardships in order to get it back.
  • The Wood-chopper: He builds a head out of wood for the King when the Purple Dragon steals the King's head, and after some misadventures with the Purple Dragon, restores his and the King's head to their proper bodies.
  • The Purple Dragon: A monster that annoys the people of Mo by eating their food and causing general mischief. He is eventually defeated.
  • The Dog: The only dog in Mo. At first he is "something of a wag", but later on becomes a respected person in Mo, and even saves Mo from the Cast-iron Man, although accidentally.
  • The Wise Donkey: A donkey who ate all the books in Mo, so he absorbed all the knowledge in them and is the smartest person in Mo. The King sometimes consults the Wise Donkey when he wants help, and the Wise Donkey usually helps him (sometimes the Wise Donkey acts in its own interest, not the King's). The Wise Donkey reports in The Patchwork Girl of Oz that he became stranded in Oz when he came to visit on the very day that Glinda cut it off from the rest of the world.
  • Nuphsed: The King's chamberlain, who gets no lines whatsoever.
  • Scowleyow: A tyrannical king who builds the Cast-iron Man in an attempt to destroy Mo for no particular reason except that he is jealous of how happy they are.
  • The Cast-iron Man: A robotic creature built by Scowleyow to destroy the Mo people. It trips on the dog, and thanks to Prince Thinkabit, the Mo people manage to get rid of the Cast-iron man by turning it around and setting it to destroy Scowleyow's kingdom instead.
  • The Sorceress Maëtta: A good sorceress who helps Timtom and Truella when they ask for her help.
  • Rabbit: The rabbit lives outside of Maëtt's palace and digs a tunnel leading inside the palace for Timtom, in exchange for a new tail. When Timtom cannot give the rabbit a new tail, it lets Timtom pass anyway.
  • Spider: The spider builds a web that forms a bridge over the river of needles, so that Timtom can cross it, in exchange for a new eye.
  • Bird: A bird flies Timtom over a gulf in exchange for a song.
  • Sly Fox: The Sly Fox steals the presents that Timtom receives from Maëtta, but finds no use for them.
  • Gigaboo: A four-mouthed, seven-eyed monster that starts destroying things in Mo. Prince Jollikin kills it.
  • The Wizard: The Wizard steals Truella's toe to use in a potion. Truella defeats him and gets her toe back.
  • Duchess Bredenbutta: A distant relative of the King (42nd cousin) who accidentally goes to Turvyland, where everything is the opposite of how it should be.
  • Upsydoun: A resident of Turvyland, who invites the Duchess to dinner and helps her return home.
  • Hartilaf: A giant who lives in the valley next to Mo. He likes to play jokes and have fun.
  • Hartilaf's Wife: A giantess who married Hartilaf. She is more responsible than he is, although she accidentally runs Prince Fiddlecumdoo through a clothes-wringer.
  • Monkeys: The monkeys live in the Land of Civilized Monkeys, and therefore are civilized (they wear fancy clothes and have a well-structured society and so on). They do not know about humans, so when they meet Prince Zingle, they think he is an animal and put him in the zoo.
  • The Wise Men: The King's three wise men are rather stupid and ridiculous, so they are not very helpful. The King eventually puts the three of them together to form one wise man.
  • The Wise Man: The wise man, made up from parts of the three wise men, is wise and able to help the King, unlike the wise men.
  • The Yellow Hen: The wise men falsely accuse of stealing the King's plum-pudding, when she was not even in Mo at the time of the crime. She raises a baby hawk along with her babies, not knowing that it is a hawk until it tries to kill her.
  • The Fox: The wise men falsely accuse him of stealing the King's plum-pudding, when he and his family was throatless at the time.
  • Dr. Prariedog: Dr. Prariedog tells the Fox how to cure a sore throat.
  • The Bullfrog: The wise men falsely accuse him of stealing the King's plum-pudding, when he was fishing at the time, for his tadpoles were stuck in the fish.
The Cast Iron Man, as illustrated by Frank Ver Beck

Mo in other Baum books[edit]

Some of the characters in the Oz books are or appear to be derived from characters in The Magical Monarch of Mo, such as:

  • The Cast-iron Man - He is similar to Tik-Tok of the Oz books, because they are both men who run off of machinery instead of being truly alive.
  • The Yellow Hen - She is similar to Billina, who is also known as "The Yellow Hen", because they both are sassy and have fixed habits when it comes to laying eggs.
  • The Sorceress Maëtta - She is similar to the Sorceress Glinda, because they are both kind, beautiful and powerful sorceresses that others call upon when they need help. She replaces Glinda in The Woggle-Bug, a musical extravaganza by Baum and Frederic Chapin based on The Marvelous Land of Oz, since aside from stating that it is in the Land of Oz, all references to any material in The Wizard of Oz play are omitted, since the show was concurrently running—no Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, or Glinda, and the Emerald City becomes the "City of Jewels."
  • The Wise Donkey - He has a cameo in The Patchwork Girl of Oz

Part of The Scarecrow of Oz takes place in Mo, although none of the characters from The Magical Monarch of Mo appear in that book. The principal character we meet in Mo in that book is The Bumpy Man, who is first introduced in that book.

External links[edit]