Calendar Clues

We don’t know a whole lot about how the Ozian calendar works, but it does appear that the months are the same as ours, as indicated with Jack Pumpkinhead’s tombstones in The Road to Oz. Ruth Plumly Thompson was particularly fond of having her adventures take place in May. And unlike some other fairylands like Narnia and Tir na n’Og, time appears to run at the same speed in Oz as it does in our own mundane lands. There is the case of Peter Brown saying he’s nine years old in Gnome King and eleven in Pirates, even though five years pass for Ruggedo in between the two stories, but this is more likely to be a mistake than an indication of time passing differently. Peter being fourteen at the time of Pirates would make more sense, particularly as he’s a Boy Scout. Anyway, what we don’t have, at least in the canonical Oz books, are any years. Does Oz use the BC/AD system like we do? Well, in Cowardly Lion, the protagonists come across a Travelers’ Tree “planted by the Wizard Wam in the year 1120 O.Z.” This is the only reference to such in the series proper, and there’s no indication as to when this took place relative to anything else. There have been some apocryphal stories that addressed this, however. In March Laumer’s Magic Mirror, it’s stated that the O.Z. years, standing for the Low German “Ouwe Zeit,” began with the traditional founding of the Eulenspiegel family. Laumer mentions that the year 1917 would fall in the twelfth century O.Z., but I don’t see a specific date given in the text for the beginning of this calendar. On the Ozzy Digest mailing list back in 1996, Tyler Jones states that year 1 O.Z. corresponds for 733 AD, so the Travelers’ Tree would have been planted in 1852. Robert Pattrick suggests in Unexplored Territory that the O.Z. years might date from Lurline’s enchantment, although he doesn’t hazard a guess as to when that might have been. Jeremy Steadman’s Emerald Ring goes along with this, and has the year of 1919 when the story takes place correspond with 2391 O.Z. Hence, the enchantment presumably would have happened in 472 BC. Robin Hess’s Toto and the Cats reports that Prince Bobo’s enchantment was broken in 1512 O.Z., and since that happened in Rinkitink, it would mean the Ozian calendar is about 400 years behind ours. And Melody Grandy’s Seven Blue Mountains trilogy indicates that Wam was out of commission for about 300 years until his son‘s wedding in the early twenty-first century, so he presumably couldn’t have planted the Travelers’ Tree during this time period. On the other hand, he does appear in Henry Blossom’s Blue Emperor, so we don’t know for sure. I have to wonder if he traveled through time to make up for some of the years he missed.

This entry was posted in L. Frank Baum, March Laumer, Melody Grandy, Oz, Oz Authors, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Calendar Clues

  1. Pingback: A Show of Patrioztism | VoVatia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s