“I must have mud and you must have adventure. Oh why,” wailed Ploppa, with a smothered sob, “cannot people who like each other like the same things?”
In The Yellow Knight of Oz, Ruth Plumly Thompson produced one of her most jumbled, yet most delightful, books, a mix of mud, Arthurian knights, irritated underground dwellers, trees melting into people, and science fiction. The result should not make any sense, and yet it does, creating an often moving tale of how, even in the best and most magical of fairylands, you may not always get the life you wished for.
The story begins in the Emerald City, where the gentle Sir Hokus is troubled. Not because, as you might be thinking, he has finally realized that no matter how many times her country is threatened or outright invaded, Ozma will never set up a security system or even the simplest of defense plans, but because he has never, in his entire and near endless life, completed a quest. He decides to go on one, despite not knowing what he might be questing for. The girls of the Emerald City are delighted at the thought—they regard it as sort of a picnic—and scoff at any suggestion that they should be working on embroidery instead:
“How stuffy!” sniffed Bettsy Bobbin, sliding carefully into his lap, which his armor made rather hard and uncomfortable. “How old-fashioned. Now don’t be quaint! What fun is it watching from a tower? And this embroidery and so on that you talk about ruins the eyes, and you know it!”
Despite this speech, Sir Hokus evades his friends, striking out across Oz on his own. Meanwhile, a young boy from Long Island, called Speedy, is heading to Oz—via rocket. Rocket!