Ruth Plumly Thompson’s two stories about the Kingdom of Way-Up are not explicitly linked to Oz, but as she wrote them not long after retiring as Royal Historian of Oz, it’s not surprising there are some definite similarities. Way-Up is located on the top of Star Mountain, the tallest of the Silver Mountains, but quite where those are isn’t clear. Joe Bongiorno suggests a connection with the Silver Mountain in Handy Mandy in Oz, but that book only mentions a single mountain with that name. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other silver mountains in the area; we just don’t know one way or the other. The Yups, as the inhabitants are called, have a self-sustaining economy and little contact with anyone living below their homeland. The text mentions that some are farmers, and that hunting and fishing also occur. There’s apparently also access to a good deal of silver, not too surprising on a Silver Mountain. The capital city, called at various places Silver City, Castleton, and Sky-Hi Town, is made up entirely of silver castles. There are farming villages surrounding the capital, but it’s not really specified whether the dwellings there are also castles. All of the people have silver hair, and as in most of Thompson’s cozy kingdoms, frequently play like children well into adulthood. The ruler, King Ripitik X, is a light-hearted monarch with a single child, Princess Patickla.
The story states that Patickla’s mother “had unaccountably vanished when Patickla was a small infant” (there’s probably a story there), so his partner in raising her was the royal wizard Woff. He’s a Scissor Wizard, which I think is also the name of a chain of hairdressers. This means he has a pair of shears that will obey magical commands. During the course of the two stories, we see them used to transform people, produce objects out of thin air, and even change someone’s personality.
Star Mountain is home to other countries as well. Around the foot and up part of the sides is Rockwood, known for its grapes and ore. Its ruler, the friendly and simple King Richard, marries Patickla at the end of the first story. Deep inside the mountain is the Underwood, inhabited by red-bearded dwarves under the leadership of King Reddy, who also goes by the alias of Herman the Hermit.
He and his subjects’ idea of fun is to pull the beards of outsiders and throw stones at them. Well, at least it was; Woff’s scissor magic is supposed to have changed Reddy’s personality somewhat, but we don’t actually see him after this. The dwarves drink tar tea and coal juice, eat spruce bug tarts and earthworm pudding, and wash in root beer. Also living in this country are the Underdogs, canines about the size of fox terriers with legs on both the tops and bottoms of their bodies, so that they can crawl along ceilings and walls like spiders. King Reddy is married to Mayanna the Mighty, Princess of Little, another country on the mountainside; and they divide their time between their respective lands. Princess of Little, by the way, is also the title of the ruler of Dwindlebury, who is mentioned but does not actually appear in The Enchanted Island of Oz. Between Little and Rockwood lies Much, home to people who average about twelve feet tall and who are excessive in their attitudes and appetites. Woff is said to be able to see seven castles from his tower and shoots arrows bearing Patickla’s picture to the three richest. One of these is Rockwood, and another the marshy Mireshire, ruled by the wealthy but uncouth King Merk. He keeps wild pigs and rides on a boar.
The third arrow goes to Hidden Hollow, but we never find out anything else about that. Merk also mentions a place called Vodgers Valley, which apparently contains a lot of trees. I have to wonder if there is any connection between Rockwood and Rockbottom from the short story “The Princess of Plumpieland!”, another country ruled by a friendly, simple king, this one named Jonathan. To the north of Rockbottom is the plentiful country of Plumpieland, and the mountain kingdom of Timbertonia is also nearby. Unlike some of her fairylands, Thompson never specifically places these lands in Oz, but it’s possible that they’re there. Perhaps more likely is that they’re on a separate continent with some of her other non-Oz fantasy countries. There’s a story I wrote that has Handy Mandy visiting Saucerville from another Thompson story, and I might like to edit it to bring in Way-Up as well. It’s already tied into the Oz universe in that it appears in Chris Dulabone’s Do It for Oz.