I wrote two more Oz stories, “The Piglets’ Revenge, or How Eureka Became Pink” and “The Vultures and the China Milk Maid”. I managed to type them up in time for the summer’s Winkie Convention. David even produced illustrations for them. To my delight and surprise (nobody’d told me it was going to be published) that year’s Oz Club annual Oziana included “The Cowardly Lion and the Courage Pills”, the story I’d taken to Winkies in ’81.
The “Courage Pills” story. Any good? Um. Probably not. Last I read it I remember being disappointed. According to my diary Eric Shanower, friend and critic, allowed, “It was all right.”
Eureka, by the way, is a kitten Dorothy brought to Oz in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. Presumably the cat (always referred to as Eureka the Pink Kitten) came to live in Oz permanently with the rest of the family a couple books later. Eureka was described as white in Dorothy and the Wizard, although at one point the characters are visiting an underground world where the light producing “sun” gives off rainbow-like light and Dorothy notices that the light makes Eureka look pink. No suggestion is made at the time of this effecting a permanent change in Eureka’s color. I liked the idea of writing stories that would explain apparent discrepancies in the Oz books. In Dorothy and the Wizard Eureka is put on trial for eating one of the Wizard’s mouse-sized piglets. She is not guilty, though she admits attempting the kill. In escaping the piglet becomes trapped in a vase so can’t speak up about its continuing to be alive. Since Eureka came to live in Oz likely unrepentent about her desire to make a meal of one of these tiny piglets I thought the piglets had to have figured out a way to put her off the hunt. They tricked her into a pool of pink dye! Thus Scarlet Letter’d Eureka decided to leave the piglets alone in the future. That, anyway, was what I wrote.
With the other story I decided to revisit one of Baum’s tiny Ozian countries. Lots of these odd little places are introduced and then are never again mentioned. The China Milk Maid lived in the China Country mentioned in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In the China Country all the inhabitants are living porcelain dolls. Somehow the Milk Maid gets tangled up with a couple hungry vultures and, as Kent would say, “hilarity ensues.”