As it happens, most people are well familiar with the Wonderful Land of Oz.
A bit because of the MGM movie The Wizard of Oz, with the delightful Judy Garland wandering along the Yellow Brick Road and slaughtering Wicked Witches.
A bit because of the spellbinding musical Wicked, the story behind the story that tells who really was the Wicked Witch of the West and how she became a good friend with Glinda, while fighting the humbug Wizard of Oz.
The latter is the very one which brought me last week to pick up L. Frank Baum’s book one more time, a sort of journey back to the origins.
It all starts in Kansas, an utterly grey land. Everything goes on gloomy and boring. That is until the cyclone came.
Little Dorothy fails to get to safety and gets swept away by the cyclone, and the whole house with her.
When the cyclone finally puts down the house – remarkably gently – Dorothy finds out she’s been brought in a fantastic new land, bright and colourful.
Also, she finds out that, for an unfortunate accident, her house landed right on top of the Wicked Witch of the East.
The inhabitants of that land praise her as a great sorceress and let her have the Witch’s silver shoes, but all Dorothy can think about is that she wants to go back home to his Aunt Em – as she says, ‘There’s no place like home’.
Unfortunately, the land of Oz is surrounded by vast deserts and no one knows how to get across.
Dorothy’s only hope is to start on the Yellow Brick Road reach the Emerald City and ask for help to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
From then on, it’s history.
Dorothy starts his journey, joined by a Scarecrow longing for a brain, a Tin Woodman asking for a heart and a Cowardly Lion who wants to find some courage.
The shape-shifting, though still Wonderful Wizard of Oz will grant their wishes at one condition: they have to kill the Wicked Witch of the West.
It’s a great quest for a little girl, full of terror and danger.
Just like life itself.
Down we go, following the yellow brick road, to the Emerald City and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
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