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|First appearance||Ozma of Oz (1907)|
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
|Children||multiple Dorothys and Daniels|
In Ozma of Oz, Billina becomes Dorothy Gale's animal companion after she and the girl are on a small ship and thrown overboard. Dorothy was traveling on an ocean voyage to Australia with her Uncle Henry when a violent storm hit, thus tossing the ship over the waves. The two wash up on the uncharted shores of the enchanted country of Ev in a chicken coop they had taken refuge in. Billina serves in this adventure, the role that Dorothy's pet dog Toto served in the first Oz book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).
A spunky, sassy and talkative chicken, Billina was originally named Bill because, she tells Dorothy, "no one could tell whether I was going to be a hen or a rooster". Dorothy insists on changing the hen's name to a feminine form. Billina endures several scares with the Kansas farmgirl before they defeat the Nome King as only a hen can. At the end of the novel, Billina settles in the Emerald City in the magical Land of Oz.
Later books reveal that Billina has hatched many chicks (their father unknown). She names all of them Dorothy after her young friend. Gender confusion reappears, however, and the proud mother discovers that some of those chicks will be "horrid roosters"; she changes the males' names to Daniel.
One of Baum's earliest books described raising Hamburg chickens, and he drew on that expertise in depicting Billina.
Billina appears in The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908) with the credit "The Yellow Hen as Herself". Presumably a real hen was used in this lost film, as a real dog was used for Toto, also credited with playing himself.
- Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; p. 17.
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