Nathan (vovat) wrote,

The Rabbit, or Bare and Thack Again

There are quite a few rabbits in the Oz books. In The Emerald City of Oz, there's a town of rabbits called Bunnybury, set up by Glinda. It only houses white rabbits, which seems to be a bit of bigotry on the part of the so-called Good Sorceress, but I like to think they integrated at some point. Also, the Easter Bunny himself has his own kingdom in a burrow beneath the Munchkin Country. There are a few other bunnies in minor roles, but my favorite Ozian rabbit is Wag, from Kabumpo. I'm not sure why a rabbit would be named Wag, but since Bunnybury has a singing group called the Winsome Waggish Warblers, perhaps there's some early twentieth century play on words involved that doesn't hold up in the modern era.

Nowhere in the book does Ruth Plumly Thompson describe Wag as wearing blue pants, but John R. Neill consistently draws him with them. Incidentally, I originally tried searching for "Wag Oz" and didn't come up with anything relevant, but did get this as a result. So I guess it wasn't a total loss. ;)

When Wag is first introduced, he's the companion of Ruggedo, the former Nome King, who's taken up living in a cavern underneath Ozma's palace. While Wag recognizes Rug's nasty personality and scheming tendencies, he also finds the Nome amusing, and is paid by the former Metal Monarch in jewels and stolen goods. When Ruggedo comes across a box of mixed magic, he tests out an Instantaneous Expanding Extract on Wag, making him grow to an enormous size (about six feet tall on his hind paws, I believe). Thus, he joins the ranks of oversized Ozian animals like the Woggle-Bug and the Frogman, and later Percy the Personality Kid. From the beginning, Wag is kind-hearted and short-tempered, and hitting his head in the process of growth adds the new character trait of being mixed up. He often speaks in spoonerisms, or uses the opposite of the word he means ("come ashort" instead of "come along," for instance). It's kind of a cheap characterization, I'll admit, but it works. I've always liked Wag, and he has a major role in one of the manuscripts I'm working on.

So where does Wag live now? The end of Kabumpo implies that all four main characters settled on Sun Top Mountain after Prince Pompadore's marriage to Princess Peg Amy, but Lost King and Purple Prince have the two of them and Kabumpo residing in Pumperdink. There's no indication of Wag being there, though, so I take this to mean that he remained on Sun Top.
Tags: books, oz, writing
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