Little Wizard Stories of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Children
1:18 h
Level 3
Little Wizard Stories of Oz is a set of six short stories written for young children by L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Oz books. The six tales were published in separate small booklets, "Oz books in miniature," in 1913, and then in a collected edition in 1914 with illustrations by John R. Neill. The six tales in the Little Wizard Stories are: "The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger", "Little Dorothy and Toto", "Tiktok and the Nome King", "Ozma and the Little Wizard", "Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse", "The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman".

Little Wizard Stories of Oz

by
L. Frank Baum



The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger

In the splendid palace of the Emerald City, which is in the center of the fairy Land of Oz, is a great Throne Room, where Princess Ozma, the Ruler, for an hour each day sits in a throne of glistening emeralds and listens to all the troubles of her people, which they are sure to tell her about. Around Ozma’s throne, on such occasions, are grouped all the important personages of Oz, such as the Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, Tiktok the Clockwork Man, the Tin Woodman, the Wizard of Oz, the shaggy Man and other famous fairy people. Little Dorothy usually has a seat at Ozma’s feet, and crouched on either side the throne are two enormous beasts known as the Hungry Tiger and the Cowardly Lion.

These two beasts are Ozma’s chief guardians, but as everyone loves the beautiful girl Princess there has never been any disturbance in the great Throne Room, or anything for the guardians to do but look fierce and solemn and keep quiet until the Royal Audience is over and the people go away to their homes.

Of course no one would dare be naughty while the huge Lion and Tiger crouched beside the throne; but the fact is, the people of Oz are very seldom naughty. So Ozma’s big guards are more ornamental than useful, and no one realizes that better than the beasts themselves.

One day, after everybody had left the Throne Room except the Cowardly Lion and the hungry Tiger, the Lion yawned and said to his friend:

“I’m getting tired of this job. No one is afraid of us and no one pays any attention to us.”

“That is true,” replied the big Tiger, purring softly. “We might as well be in the thick jungles where we were born, as trying to protect Ozma when she needs no protection. And I’m dreadfully hungry all the time.”

“You have enough to eat, I’m sure,” said the Lion, swaying his tail slowly back and forth.

“Enough, perhaps; but not the kind of food I long for,” answered the Tiger. “What I’m hungry for is fat babies. I have a great desire to eat a few fat babies. Then, perhaps, the people of Oz would fear me and I’d become more important.”

“True,” agreed the Lion. “It would stir up quite a rumpus if you ate but one fat baby. As for myself, my claws are sharp as needles and strong as crowbars, while my teeth are powerful enough to tear a person to pieces in a few seconds. If I should spring upon a man and make chop suey of him, there would be wild excitement in the Emerald City and the people would fall upon their knees and beg me for mercy. That, in my opinion, would render me of considerable importance.”

“After you had torn the person to pieces, what would you do next?” asked the Tiger sleepily.

“Then I would roar so loudly it would shake the earth and stalk away to the jungle to hide myself, before anyone could attack me or kill me for what I had done.”