Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Fox and Rabbit

One book that stands out in my mind is Watership Down. This book showed me how rabbits were expected to be clever in order to survive. They have to trick their predators as a means of escape or evasion. This aspect of rabbits has been represented throughout the ages.

Foxes are animals who are generally represented as being clever tricksters as well. Yet, they are cast as predators. (Because they are.) They have to use sneaky trickery in order to catch their prey. We have seen this aspect of them in, of course, many of the "Aesop's Fables."

The thing I find so fascinating about the two animals is that they are essentially the same thing but from two different sides of the arena. One is always trying to outsmart the other, and the contest will only end with one of two outcomes: The rabbit escapes... or the fox eats the rabbit.

Despite the prey status of the rabbit, they are surprisingly equally matched. This actually makes me smile because it gives the struggle more of an epic feel. It seems to make the fight more personal.

A fox sees a rabbit. A rabbit sees the fox. There's going to be a moment where the two are going to have to gage their situation and act accordingly. Both sides are going to become hyper aware of their location and the objects nearby. The rabbit is smaller. He can fit into small holes. The fox can use feints and push the rabbit into a more open area. There are all sorts of tactics that can be used on both sides.

In fairy tales, Foxes are usually shown to have large egos. This likely comes from their somewhat cat-like personality. They tend to be cocky and bold in their speech. This ego can be used against them in a battle of wits.

The rabbit tends to be more humble, knowing what his limitations are. However, there have been a number of fairy tales that have shown them to be cocky too, such as with the "Tortoise and the Hare." A rabbit can just as easily fall victim to his own ego which can cause him to make mistakes.

At the end of the day, these two will always be trying to deal with one another. It's an even match, and every battle means something, even though they are all very short-lived. Fox vs, Rabbit. A fight for survival. A fight for food.

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: That Time I Ended Up a Rabbit, Part 3 [Final]

Where I come from, tea is rarely hot. It is not only cold, but filled to the brim with ice and sugar. I suppose I had heard of hot tea before, but it never really felt like something that was real. It was more something I would see people drinking on television or in books. None of my friends or family were ever seen drinking hot tea. Yet, here I was sitting before a cup of the stuff presently. I took a sip, and I must say, with all honesty, that I did not much care for it. My opinion of it was apparently showing upon my face.

"Philistine," I heard the fox mutter as he continued to sip from his own cup. I had absolutely no idea what he meant by that, and I did not ask.

And so, after suffering through a few more sips of hot tea, the conversation renewed for it final stretch:

Fox: How do you feel about me?

Me: You are very... fancy... I guess.

Fox: Is it a guess or is that what you are really feeling?

Me: You live really well... despite it being underground. You speak well. You speak better than I do. And you drink hot tea. I don't know anyone else who does that where I come from.

Fox: The warren, you mean.

Me: [I sigh miserably.] Yes. The warren.

Fox: I feel as if your perception of myself is good enough. I admit to putting on some airs, but I really do believe in proper behavior as a means to control oneself. The world tends to be a bit chaotic on its own. God, for some reason, made it that way. I have found that the best way to live here is by an act of will to remain calm and deal with what comes with a restful spirit. In general terms, it helps to understand yourself personally so that you may dispense with unwanted issues and expand on those which are a benefit. For this reason, I am very much your better.

Me: Yeah.

Fox: You can only be what you are... but you can also make the most of it. Do you know what I am?

Me: You're a fox.

Fox: And what are you?

Me: I'm a rabbit.

Fox: Are you intelligent enough to know what those two things mean as a combination?

Me: [I became flustered.] What are you trying to say?

Fox: I asked you a question. Are you going to answer it, or am I going to have to help you along like I did with the tea?

Me: Well, you don't plan to eat me, do you?

Fox: Of course, I am. Within the next fifteen to twenty minutes probably.

Me: [I was stunned into silence. In fact, I think I stopped breathing altogether.]

Fox: There's no reason we can't be civil about it. We have time to talk to one another. After all, I'm not going to just tear into you or anything. I need time to start the fire and all that. We have plenty of time to get to know one another.

Me: [I became incredulous.] You invited me in! I'm your guest!

Fox: Indeed, and it is my duty as your host to take care of you.

Me: By cooking me alive?!

Fox: You've done so well, thus far, in accepting who and what you are, but you seem to be having trouble with the finale of this story. The fox eats the rabbit. Accepting that is only the final step of your journey. Now, I am being very civil with you. I've given you tea. We've had a good talk. In fact, it's still quite good. Your emotional response to the fact that you are going to die... is normal.

Me: [I began to cry.] I don't understand what I'm doing here. This can't be real.

Fox: [He stood up to go start his fire.] The thing about death... something I have seen time and time again... It's very strange, you see. Moments before it happens, it tends to make life feel more like a dream. You begin to wonder if you are about to wake up. Or should I say, you hope that you will. And maybe you shall. That is one of the many great questions, if not the ultimate one. Here you are at the brink of existence itself. Everything is so confusing and worrisome. But twenty minute from now, you'll not being worrying about it. You, rabbit, shall be busy taking your place in the perfect cycle that is our God-given reality.

Me: You speak so much about God.

Fox: Why wouldn't I... when my meal was just sitting right at my doorstep as if it had been a special delivery?

Me: I don't want to be eaten.

Fox: There's no shame in that... but at least... you seem to know... that you are about to be eaten.

Me: Boiled alive first.

Fox: It won't take as long as you think.

Me: Please let me go home.

Fox: No.

Me: Please?

Fox: I already told you no. This is the end of the story. I am a fox, and you are my rabbit. There was always going to be one conclusion to this. You need to admit to it. You need to admit to it right now. I won't be satisfied until I hear you say it. Admit to being my food right now, and take your place as God has given it to you. Do it now, or your soul shall be forfeit.

I wasn't dreaming... but I did awake. I awoke and sat upon the floor of my room, thinking about what had just happened. In those last moments, I realized that I had given in. I gave in to the fox... and perhaps into God as well. I gave myself to who and what I was in those moments. And after I had done so... I was free to live out the rest of my life as a human... but somehow I knew that my rabbit had been eaten. He was gone and would never come back. That was the story of how I ended up a rabbit, and why I am so very happy to be a human living under God in this wonderful world of His creation.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: That Time I Ended Up a Rabbit, Part 2

As I remember it, I contemplated, once more, if I was in a dream. I did not do this because I thought the things that were happening were extraordinary. In truth, I was doing it because I was afraid. The fox had a sort of way of being frightening while also being calm. He had just suggested that the only reason he knew I had never met a talking fox was because I was still capable of breathing. The message had been delivered. I suddenly felt very small before someone who looked only slightly taller than I was.

My long ears, something that I was not yet accustomed to, were hanging aside my head. They were, it seemed, tethered hard to my emotions. They hung only because I was worried. I could not get them to right themselves until my mood was heightened. It felt both alien and natural. I was not yet accustomed to being a rabbit, yet there were certain aspect of being one that came naturally to me in the moment.

Fear was most definitely upon me. I felt that I was under threat, and I did, indeed, feel a bit stupid for accepting an invitation into the den of a fox, despite how tidy and clean it was. I began to realize what I had become and why it was a bad thing to be in the situation I was presently in. I questioned reality itself, not if reality was real, but more that I did not understand its fairness. Why did it happen? How would it end. If I died... would anything really matter?

It was as I had these thoughts and feelings that the fox, taking a break to enjoy his hot tea, continued to speak, and so our conversation continued in this way:

Fox: I do not often have guests. I am accustomed to living alone and being alone within this house of mine.

Me: I can leave if you prefer.

Fox: Oh, no. I've invited you. You can't possibly leave now. Goodness. What would be the point of inviting someone only to let them escape? Would be quite silly. [Sip.]

Me: Can I ask you a question then?

Fox: Of course. I am an open book.

Me: Did you have anything to do with me ending up here? [He only stared at me. I expanded on my question in order to be more clear.] Did you have anything to do with me becoming a rabbit in the first place?

Fox: [After much more staring, he placed down his tea cup.] Look here. I had nothing to do with what you are or how you came to be sitting here before me. This world has rules and ways. You are a rabbit because God wanted you to be a rabbit. You are in my home because you were sitting outside of it. If you had been sitting inside of your warren, this story would have been different.

Me: I don't remember anything about a warren. I am a human being, and all I did was go to bed. I fell through to here somehow... and ended up a rabbit. I'm not a rabbit. I've never been a rabbit. Can't you understand what I am trying to say?

Fox: [After a long pause.] Yes. I do understand. You're an imbecile then.

Me: [I was crestfallen.] No.

Fox: There is no shame. You can only be what you are. But let me give you a piece of advice to help you in your present situation.

Me: What's that?

Fox: Accept yourself. If you do not know or understand what that is, let me help you. You are a rabbit. You are a little rabbit that somehow ended up sitting in front of my home. It would be prudent for you to forget the nonsense you have told me and just assume, whether you believe it or not, that you have always been a rabbit. What's more, you are a guest in my home, and this home is owned by a fox. I offered you tea, and you rejected that offer. That is the present state of affairs that you now have to suffer through. That's all there is to it. Questioning everything will do you no good, and it will have the added side effect of annoying your gracious host. Now, I don't really know a better way to explain this. I've said my piece. It's all up to you now. If you're really just an imbecile, I have a swift way of dealing with that. Would you like to see how?

Me: No.

Fox: Then might I ask you as to what you are and why you are here?

Me: I'm a rabbit. I was invited to your home because I was found to be outside of it.

Fox: Mhm. No, I don't think you are an imbecile after all. I do, perhaps, think you may be stupid though. No shame in it. We are all given our intellects in the beginning and not really given much choice in its quality. I am smarter than you, rabbit. Do you deny it?

Me: I... You really want me to say that?

Fox: Ignorance and ego make dangerous bedfellows... especially in this house.

Me: [I reluctantly complied.] You are smarter than I am.

Fox: Well, consider me quite pleased to hear you say so. I don't normally have guests, as I have said. Are you sure you don't want any tea? If you wish, I can decide for you.

Me: Would you?

Fox: I'll go get you some. Besides... you should try things once in a while. How will you ever have an opinion on hot tea if you never try it?

Me: Yeah.

Fox: [Standing up.] Of course. Of course. I shall return shortly... and then we shall discuss your visit further.

Although I had been with this fox for nearly half an hour, I had never felt so alone. I really was on my own. I could not leave. I was in a body that I did not understand. Through a series of subtle threats, this fox had forced me into a state of verbal submission. I felt as if I could not say anything but what was expected of me. What was I to do? This story is not quite at an end.


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Monday, February 15, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: That Time I Ended Up a Rabbit, Part 1

I don't really like talking about this. It's a bit embarrassing and a tad bit creepy. But it was also rather fascinating when looked at on the whole. Half the time I barely believe it ever occurred, but there was a day in the early part of my life where I ended up a rabbit. I can't say for certain exactly how it happened. I had gone to bed, and one might simply assume that I had been dreaming, but I really don't think so. I had simply slipped somewhere underneath the covers of my bed, fallen a few feet, and ended up on a patch of grass with a puffy tail, long ears, and a twitchy sort of nose. Oh my.

Like most of you, I thought I was dreaming too. After all, I had remembered just crawling into bed. I did not know of any grassy field located through a hole somewhere under my covers. Nor could I explain, in any other way, how it was suddenly day time where I was. But then I considered the very real fact that, in thinking that I must have been in a dream, that a person dreaming would not think that. So naturally I came to the conclusion that I was, in verity, awake... and also a bunny somehow.

I was not alone. That is not to say that I was with other bunnies. There was someone there who stood with me. He was a fox and stood there with a cup of tea (probably) in his right paw. He looked down upon me in a smug sort of way and asked, "So you're just going to sit there then?"

"You can talk?" I asked with a small gasp.

He then followed up his question with another one, "You're asking me if I can talk after I clearly just did? Goodness. Bunnies must keep there brains in their arse, cause you seemed to have fallen on it quite hard."

Not knowing how to respond to this sort of rebuke, I sheepishly responded, "I'm sorry."

"Good. I accept your apology," said the fox. "Come with me. You're not to be allowed to hop away after this sort of invasion. Don't doddle. I'm not in the mood."

The fox waited for me to stand up on my strange legs and motioned for me to walk ahead of him... and so I did. He led me to a door that went underground. I was nervous about going in there, for I knew that I was a rabbit and he was a fox. But there was something about this person that worried me. He seemed calm and peaceful with his cup of tea, but there was a bit of authority in the way he spoke to me that made me feel that I should do as he said.

The home I found inside (under the ground) was much like a primitive dwelling like I have seen in fairy tale illustrations. It was tidy, however, without a speck of dust that I could see. There were no windows at all. Everything was lit by a means of which I could not figure out. We were in a kitchen that somewhat doubled as a dining room. A cooking pot that hung from a hook was just nearby, but no fire was burning underneath it.

The fox closed the door behind me and locked the door tightly with a key. This prompted me to ask him why he was locking us both in, to which he replied, "You are my guest until I say otherwise." Once more said calmly. Once more said with an assumed authority. I was clearly not leaving.

"Sit there at the table," he ordered. "Would you like some tea?"

"Hot tea?" I asked nervously as I sat down as instructed.

"Is there any other kind? I should expect even rabbits would not have their tea cold. If so, I shan't serve it to you."

"I wasn't really thirsty," said I.

The fox stared at me for a moment before sitting down across from me. It was here that a conversation began:

Fox: How are you feeling?

Me: Confused.

Fox: Confused about what? [He sipped from his cup.]

Me: I'm confused about... why I am here... why I am a bunny.

Fox: Mhm. I must say... I'm not accustomed to just walking out and seeing your sort just sitting there like an imbecile. [He paused for a short moment as he looked at me.] Are you an imbecile?

Me: What... What do you mean by imbecile?

Fox: [Touching his own head with his paw.] Your mind... rotting away. You make poor decisions because of a damaged head. That sort of thing. An injury can make one stupid. I've seen it before. [Sip.]

Me: No, I-I don't think so. I just went to bed and ended up here somehow. I don't even know where here is.

Fox: This is my home.

Me: I gathered that. I mean... out there. This whole place. I don't know where I am right now.

Fox: Sleep walking?

Me: What?

Fox: Are you prone to walking about in your slumber? Did you go to bed within your warren and end up at my front door with no memory of the travel?

Me: I... Listen...

Fox: Are you under the impression that I haven't been listening?

Me: I'm sorry. I'm just really confused. I've never met a talking fox before.

Fox: I know.

Me: You know?

Fox: Well, you're still clearly alive, aren't you?

The fox took another sip of his tea as he looked at me. I was stunned into silence. The insinuation he made cause me to cease up. A very subtle crack of a smile showed for only a brief moment upon his face... and then it was gone. There is more to this story.


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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Panzer Dragoon [Video Game Review]

Panzer Dragoon is a game that was resealed on the Sega Saturn in 1995. I never personally owned the system, but I did rent it along with this game a couple of times. I did enjoy it back then, but I was not very good at it. I recently reacquainted myself with the remake and now find myself perfectly capable of playing and even finishing it, and I am happy to say that it is a joy to play for what it is.

Despite the game being released in 1995, it is a fully 3D game and works something like a on-rails shooter. Star Fox is a good example of what this game is like, but instead of a space fighter, you are riding on a dragon and shooting with a hand-held firearm.

The setting of the game and its presentation, as simple as it was, was what got me. The world is in a post-apocalyptic state, but it has fallen from severely great heights. Apparently the world before the fall was hyper advanced, and the remaining people of the world are fighting for what technology is left and using it to rule the world.

These left-over bits of technology are so fantastic that the people almost see it as godlike. It's magic. There seemed to be quite a bit of active genetics utilized. Many creatures were created to be used as weapons. Much of what you are shooting down are biological in nature, but there were also ships and people shooting at you from them as well.

The main character has the name of Keil Fluge, and has heroism pressed upon him when he is forced to fight for a cause he was not even involved with. After seeing a dragon-rider lose in a fight with another dragon-rider, the fallen one tells him that the other rider needs to be stopped. Keil takes over for him and mounts up onto a large dragon called Solo Wing. From here, the chase begins from the beginning to the end of the game.

The look and feel of this game is wonderful. The music also has a mysterious aspect to it. In some ways, it reminded me a bit of Dune. Every level had a different look to it and kept throwing me these pretty landscapes that I could look around at as I played. It does let you do that. At anytime you can swing the camera around and look at everything, although you still have to hammer away at your targets.

There were many more games in the series, but this is the only one I was able to play. I've even heard that some of the games went real hardcore deep into the lore with more of an RPG gameplay style. Sadly all I have if this shooter version, but, for what it is and the story that it tells, it is totally worth it.

Panzer Dragoon: Remake is available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and Steam. Highly recommended.

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Monday, February 8, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Mary Poppins [Book Review]

[Spoilers included.]

I originally wanted to call this blog "Mary Poppins is a Weird Book," but I figured I'd keep to my usual format. But it is true. The book is weird. It's very weird, and the movies don't really do it justice.

I'm not saying the movies are bad. In fact, they are quite good. I actually love both films and still do. But they don't really represent the book. The book is its own thing and that is fine too. I happen to love that first "Mary Poppins" book just as it is, but that doesn't change the fact that is an extremely weird book.

Comparing it to the movies were difficult NOT to do. I was constantly doing it. But what was missing was the actual plot of the film. The whole story about Michael not wanting to invest money in the bank and his father getting into trouble with the bank was not in the book at all. In fact, there was no actual overarching plot in the book, unless you count "Mary Poppins is strange" as that plot.

The book is laid out as a series of short stories which take place in chronological order. Among my friends, I compared it to the "MASH" book a lot. The difference here is that it is seriously hard to tell exactly how much time is passing between chapters... and even sometimes between some sentences. Time sort of flows however it feels like, and the author P. L. Travers does not make it really clear when anything happens relative to the previous moment.

The concept of Mary Poppins is that she is some sort of entity that may have been alive since the beginning of the universe. She has her third eye wide open. She is aware of things in the world that nobody else seems to notice. However, if you happen to be with her, your third eye will be forced open for the time being.

The book also suggests that infants, before their first birthday, also have their third eye open and understand everything for just that amount of time. When that time expires though, they lose that ability and never seem to remember it ever happening. Older children and adults have some sort of coping mechanism that causes them to disbelieve in impossible things.

Much of the impossible things that happen in the book seem silly when first presented, but are interwoven into some very solid pagan/pantheistic lore that is actually very well written for what it is. Everything in the universe seems to have a spirit of some sort, and Mary Poppins is in tune with all of it. There was no mention of a God or specifically a Christian God in the entire story. However, spiritual matters were everywhere, and Mary seemed to be in tune with every bit of it.

Although I do not agree with books with this theme, I tend to find them far more interesting than standard Christian stories. And personally, this is a book I do recommend. I recommend it because what it does, as far as pagan/pantheism, is done extremely well. Mary Poppins is a fascinating character. Not all that pretty, but certainly vain. Open minded to all that is there, yet she never quite will admit to any of it. The story is left to the children to interpret, and that was a good way to do it.

Even if you prefer the movies, the book is worth reading. Just temporarily let the movies go and take a moment to explore who Mary Poppins really is. I think you may find it all very interesting and give you a better look into how the author may have seen her.

"Marry Poppins" was published in 1934 and written by P. L. Travers.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Satan Unleashed!

I always found it silly... the whole idea that God is struggling against Satan. Lucifer may be a different sort of creature than us humans, but both angels and us are direct creations of God. We are entirely subject to his whims. He can easily squish us under the impossible weight of his pinky finger. Satan is under the same threat. There is no struggle. There never was.

Satan is 100% beholden to God. Whenever Satan "gets away" with something, it is because God allowed it. But why would God allow someone who is essentially evil to accomplish any evil things at all? Well, like us, the angels were provided free will. They get to make their choices. Satan, intensely jealous of God, chose to do things his way, and God allowed it.

Lucifer felt that God was not being very fair. It was very much the very first fairness claim in all of history. Lucifer thinks that everyone should be completely the same. Equal. The very notion of equality came from him. Equal in that he does not think that there should be some who are higher and others who are lower. Everything should just be perfectly the same and just be boring that way.

Even so, Lucifer sees humans are something more like stupid monkeys with very chaotic habits. He does not really consider us all that smart. He sees us more as beasts that need to be corralled and controlled. The idea of equality is still there, but he prefers to think that the highest percentage of equality should belong to him and his angelic followers. Yes, I know that last sentence did not make much logical sense, but remember that he doesn't really care much for human beings.

On that last point, I'm inclined to agree. We do tend to get out of control. We do stupid things and listen to stupid people. As human beings, we tend to do a little bit better on our own... as individuals. We are at our worse when we form into groups. A collectives IQ just means that each individual IQ tends to be quite small. These groups are actually deceptively stupid when it comes down to it. This is what Lucifer is probably noticing, and he isn't wrong.

But throughout all of our chaos, we do spring up a few individuals that create wonderful things that all the silly ones can enjoy. They make our lives better and often more comfortable. We tend to revere these singular people as well. Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin are a couple of examples of individuals that made our lives easier.

Satan finds these few people interesting as well, but only as a novelty. In the end, he just sees them as useful tools that will live and die. In general, Lucifer just puts us all into a big box of ridiculous creatures who aren't good for much. And I suppose, that's one of the points he wanted to make. He wanted to prove to God that he really was wasting his time.

I think God sometimes wonders this same thing when you see people roam about without thinking their own thoughts. They stare at the TV and, for some odd reason, instantly believe everything they see on every channel, even if the information conflicts. I am reminded back when the Israelites made their golden calf after bearing witness to a slew of miracles. Humans really are quite ridiculous in groups.

So if God wants to give Satan that pat on the back and let him loose for a while, maybe we all deserve it. What's the worse he can do? Make the world a far more boring and pointless place to live? He's done it before. God probably let him do it then as well. You see, God is fine with Satan having his way sometimes. In fact, it may actually be justified. Why should God care about his people when they barely even acknowledge that He is even real? I suppose everyone thought Heaven was just going to be like Earth but with better TV reception?

Sorry, Folks. It doesn't work that way.

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Monday, February 1, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The Yellow Knight of Oz [Book Review]

[Spoilers ahead for a book nobody reads anymore.]

"The Yellow Knight of Oz" is the 24th book in the long running Oz series started by L. Frank Baum. It was published in 1930 and written by Ruth Plumly Thompson who was doing all the Oz books by that point and for quite a while after. I have literally, by this point, read up to this book. I'm just that nuts about Oz.

I was particularly interested in this one for years, because I had a feeling that the staring role would go to one of my all time favorite Oz characters, that being Sir Hokus of Pokes. I was right. This is his crowning moment in the series. But why not call it "Sir Hokus of Oz?" Well, the author knew what she was doing apparently, because it made complete sense by the end of it.

Sir Hokus is a funny sort of knight that obsesses with knightly things such as saving a damsel in distress, working for a king, or slaying monsters. His past is a bit confusing, and he did not remember half of it. This book was intended to explain his origins far better than when he was introduced.

It starts with Sir Hokus getting tired of spending all of his days surrounded by damsels within the Emerald City who clearly were not in distress or in need of saving at all. And so he declares that he must go venturing forth in search of new adventures. Much to his dismay, all the women love the idea and want to join him on his quest. Here we have a poor fellow that just wants to strike out on his own, and he can't even have that. So he does the right thing and just slips away while all the girls are preparing themselves.

Now, I don't want to spoil everything, because I like to keep these blogs short, but this book leads into an adventure that is nothing short of a fantastical knightly adventure that even ends with two restored ancient kingdoms in Oz, the takedown of an evil villain, and a marriage--an actual marriage between a knight and the daughter of a king. It's all contained within this book, and I loved almost every moment of it.

I had a few complaints. The first is the usual Thompson fair, which is that she includes these random encounters that have nothing to do with the plot. It was, perhaps, not as bad as usual. She limited it down to a single encounter with a bunch of swamp living people who walk around on stilts. The other problem I had was with a court jester character that went by the name of Peter Pun. The previous book had a character from America named Peter, and she really should have given the jester a different name. It seemed even to cause her some confusion in writing it because, once Peter Pun was announced, she kept referring to the original Peter as "that boy from Philadelphia." Bad form.

Speaking of boys from America, there was a new American traveler, and much to my surprise, it was another boy. His name was Speedy, and he was the adopted child of one Uncle Billy, a great inventor. He ends up accidently making his way to Oz and helps out in the knightly quest of Sir Hokus. Hilariously, he finds the damsel first and sort of just treats her as some sort of pet or novelty that he wants to take back to America with him. I thought that was cute.

I'm happy to say that this story not only features Sir Hokus as the primary character, but he ends up being one of the most honorable and wonderful people ever seen in Oz. There was an interesting test where he had to choose between three rings. One ring leads to a poisonous death, another leads to a monster that will likely kill him, and the third leads to the hand of a beautiful princess. So it was not so much a test of skill as it was a test of chance. All the other knights did not like those odds and would not even bother with it. Sir Hokus, however, was willing to chance the poison and thought he might be able to slay the monster. And so he bravely chose, and chose wisely. Interestingly, the other two rings did nothing at all. It was simply a test to see if he was brave enough to take the test at all, and Sir Hokus was the only one that would.

Lastly, here is a fun, little factoid. "The Yellow Knight of Oz" was the only Ruth Plumly Thompson Oz book to be turned into a stage play. It ran in 1963 and features a mix of live actors and puppets. I would have honestly loved to have seen it!

If you enjoy daring tales of knights and would like a fun Ozian twist to it, "The Yellow Knight of Oz" is well worth your time. Although I had some problems with it, the good greatly outweighed the bad. I recommend it wholeheartedly!

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