Grazin’ in the Glass


An Oz story I’m working on was inspired partially by a hypothetical beginning of an Oz book that Ruth Plumly Thompson described in an interview reproduced in a Baum Bugle from the 1990s. It refers to a daughter of the Wicked Witch of the East living on a glass mountain in the center of the Munchkin Country. I found the idea of a mountain made of glass to be an interesting one, and I eventually came across a fairy tale involving such a mountain in one of Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books. There are several varieties on the story, but most involve a princess living on top of a glass mountain and keeping a tree of golden apples, sort of like that of the Hesperides.

Her father has declared that anyone who reaches the peak could marry her, but even though many people have tried, the mountain was too slippery to climb, even with nails attached to their horses’ shoes. Finally, one boy succeeded in some way. One variation has him killing a lynx and using its claws to climb the mountain, while another has him riding a magical horse provided to him by a dwarf who had been kept as a curiosity at his father’s court. When the young prince freed the dwarf, he offered to do the boy a favor later on, and loaning him the horse constituted this.

It’s been proposed that the theme of climbing a mountain to win a princess was inspired by the myth of Brunhilda, who was kept in a castle surrounded by shields and a wall of flame, which only Siegfried was able to penetrate. The Brothers Grimm included a glass mountain story in one of their books, but it was pretty different. In this one, known as “Old Rinkrank,” a princess falls inside the mountain while trying to cross it, and is taken prisoner by an old man called Rinkrank.

She grows old while in his service, but eventually manages to escape when she traps his long beard in a window. The princess returns home to find her father and fiancée still alive, which is a lucky break for her. I’m still not sure whether I’ll use any of this in my Oz story, but I might.

This entry was posted in Fairy Tales, Greek Mythology, Mythology, Norse, Oz, Oz Authors, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Grazin’ in the Glass

  1. That sounds like a fascinating story…too bad it was never finished. I wonder what the daughter would have been like?

    • Nathan says:

      I don’t think Thompson ever intended for it to be an actual story, just an example of how the Oz books provide exact details and verisimilitude. Who really knows, though?

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