Sure Cure for Everything

The mythical idea of the cure-all elixir shows up a few times in the Oz books. Actually, the only L. Frank Baum work in which I specifically recall such a thing being mentioned is John Dough and the Cherub, which isn’t an Oz book but is connected to that series. I’ve already discussed John himself, but I don’t know that I’ve said much about the elixir that brought him to life. Not only does it work like Dr. Pipt’s Powder of Life in animating a gingerbread man, but it also bestows vitality, intelligence, knowledge, and incredible strength. John himself is able to perform feats of strength, and can communicate with animals as well as people. Since the elixir had become diluted throughout his body, anyone eating some of the gingerbread would receive some of the potion’s effects. The story behind the elixir is that it belonged to an Arabian sheik, and was passed down from father to son through the centuries. When the last sheik of that line died without a son, the elixir fell into the hands of Ali Dubh, who escaped to the United States with the flask. He gave it into the keeping of one Leontine Grogrande, but due to a mix-up, her husband Jules used it in making his life-sized gingerbread man.

Perhaps not quite as powerful but still very potent is the medicine made by the wizard Gorba, which plays an important part in Grampa in Oz. Vaga and his robber band steal a bottle of this medicine from the wizard, and Grampa takes it from the bandits.

It’s labeled “Sure Cure for Everything,” and the label has a list of how to apply the elixir for different ailments.

It really seems to go above and beyond its listed effects in some cases. When Grampa applies the treatment for burns, scalds, and heat strokes, it enables him and his companions to survive on the constantly burning Fire Island. Later, the medicine turns its own creator into a mouse, and the last three drops break his enchantment on Princess Pretty Good.

The term “Sure Cure for Everything” is used again in Pirates. This time, it’s written on a notice on a small door. When Ruggedo opens it, a blunt axe comes out and knocks him into a green pond.

He is then able to speak again, despite the fact that the seven years that the Silence Stone was supposed to last hadn’t run out yet. It’s unclear exactly how this cure works. Is the axe a necessary part of it, or is that just to get people into the pool? I couldn’t say.

Finally, in Ozmapolitan, one of the goods sold by traveling salesman Chauncey “Fat” Chance is an elixir known as Muddle’s Miracle Mixture, which he claims “cures every ailment.” It might sound like snake oil, but it apparently really works, since it restores Dorothy and her companions from the Modern Art forms that the inhabitants of the Art Colony had forced upon them.

Chance identifies the maker of the medicine as Dr. Muddle, but this character never actually appears, and could potentially be a pseudonym. There’s a character named Muddle in Royal Book, but I don’t know why a subterranean mud person would be making medicine.

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7 Responses to Sure Cure for Everything

  1. vilajunkie says:

    I remember in John Dough that there was both a gold flask and a silver flask, and Leontine got them mixed up as well. Maybe not a fix-everything elixir, but wasn’t the liquid in the other flask powerful as well?

    • Nathan says:

      The other flask contained a potion to cure Madame Tina’s rheumatism.

      • vilajunkie says:

        I wonder if it had other properties as well, such as healing any illness, not just rheumatism. Was there even a cure-all for rheumatism back in Baum’s day? That might have been why it was so “magical”.

      • Nathan says:

        I don’t know whether there was. I do know, however, that this story isn’t too dissimilar from the American Fairy Tale in which a glassblower makes a glass dog for a wizard in exchange for a cure for his own rheumatism. The wizard gives him a potion that will cure any disease, but the glassblower uses it to cure a rich girl instead.

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