As far as evil wizards in the Oz series go, Glegg didn’t get a whole lot of book time, but what we learn about his behind-the-scenes work makes him an intriguing character. Since I can’t really talk about his deeds without spoiling the plot of Kabumpo in Oz, though, don’t read any further if you still want to be surprised by that book.
Okay, if I have the spoiler-haters out of the way now, I’ll tell you the story of Glegg. He’s a nasty old magician who, like many gross old men in the Oz books (see also Googly-Goo and Abrog), wants to marry a pretty young princess. In this case, the object of his affection is Peg Amy, Princess of Sun Top Mountain.
When her Uncle Tozzyfog refuses the wizard permission to marry Peg, the magic-maker puts his scroll magic to work. Basically, he cooks a scroll into a food item, which then explodes. The scroll that he cooked into a roast announced that he had turned Peg into a tree, and she would only turn back when she consented to marry Glegg, or two people had correctly identified her as a princess.
Then, following some magical advice, he dug a cave under the palace in the Emerald City, and hid his Box of Mixed Magic there. The contents of the box were:
- Flying Fluid – Never used in the story, but presumably grants the power of flight
- Vanishing Cream – Makes objects vanish, but I’m sure you could have guessed that
- Instantaneous Expanding Extract – Enlarges anyone or anything
- Spike’s Hair Strengthener – When rubbed into hair, this turns it into sharp spikes
- Triple Trick Tea – Has several purposes, with no unifying factor to them, as far as I can tell
- Question Box – Will answer any question posed to it. Since Ozma eventually takes control of this magic, I have to wonder why she doesn’t use this box on later occasions.
- Reanimating Rays – Brings anyone rendered motionless by magic back to life
Later, he placed another one of his infamous scrolls in the birthday cake of Prince Pompadore of Pumperdink, this one saying that the entire kingdom would disappear unless Pompa married the proper princess.
A few familiar characters served as extra cogs in the plot machine. One was Ruggedo, the former Nome King, who had been given a home in Oz at the end of Magic.
While Ozma had wiped his memory clean with the Water of Oblivion, he had apparently built up some sort of tolerance to the water, and its effects wore off. Returning to his old wicked ways, the Nome found Glegg’s cave and hid out in it, stocking it with various items that he’d stolen from the Emerald City. One of these was a wooden doll owned by Trot, and in true coincidental fashion, this doll had been carved by Cap’n Bill from the wood of the tree into which the evil magician had turned Peg. When Ruggedo discovered the Box of Mixed Magic, he tested its contents on Peg, resulting in her coming back to life as a human-sized wooden doll.
At the end of the adventure, Peg was restored to her true form, and Glegg finally showed up in person to try to capture her. Fortunately, Ozma was watching in the Magic Picture, and transported Glegg to her palace. On the advice of Glegg’s own Question Box, she force-fed the magician some of his Triple Trick Tea, which caused him to explode.
Seriously, Kabumpo has almost as many explosions as a Michael Bay movie.
This is Glegg’s only personal appearance in the series, so he’s left as a fairly mysterious figure. Once again, we turn to fan-fiction to fill in the gaps, specifically to Randy Hoffman’s “Mixed Magic Makes Misery: The Life and Times of J. Glegg.” This tale explains the magician’s origins and motivations and how he came to make his various magical devices. It also credits him with two other magical tools from the series, Mogodore’s insulting Sauce Box and Toby Bridlecull’s Suggestion Box. We even learn what his first initial, J, stands for. And in a manuscript of my own that I’m slowly in the process of editing, Glegg is mysteriously reconstituted, and causes even more mischief than he did in his first appearance.