A King of Needles and Threads
An OZ Tale
By Nathan M. DeHoff
From the Journal of Pastoria II: Royal Tailor of Oz, formerly King
I have now been a tailor in the Emerald City forÖ well, it must have been almost five months by now. Or has it? I think I was restored to my old form in August, and now itís October. So, yes, that would be three months. Itís much nicer than my old job in Blankenburg. The people here appreciate my work a lot more. Snip and Humpy are adjusting quite nicely. Snip is the best assistant a tailor could hope for, and I always wanted a dummy. Theyíd never give me one in Blankenburg. They said there was no reason why Iíd need to see how the clothes look on people, when the people were invisible anyway. I figured I still needed to get them to fit properly, but what could I do? I was a prisoner there.
Itís amazing how much Humpy looks like me. And his serial number was the formula to restore me. Thatís really quite a coincidence. Or was it? Itís no wonder Pajuka thought he was me. Poor Pajuka. Heís been having trouble adjusting to the tailoring life. His family has been in politics for generations. His father was actually my fatherís Prime Minister. Iím sure being a clerk for a tailor is quite a change for him. At least heís gotten over thinking heís still a goose. For the first few weeks, Snip had to stop him from diving into the pond in Pancake Park every afternoon. He ruined so many good suits that way, too.
I really am enjoying being a tailor much more than being a king. I never really was cut out to be a ruler, anyway. It was all very stressful, trying to settle disputes, and being expected to have all the right answers. I have to wonder how my daughter does it so well. Maybe itís her fairy blood. My father was good at it, too, well, that is when he was in his right mind. He canít be blamed for the wicked curse that was placed upon him. Before then, he was every inch a king, as they say, but that was many centuries ago, and so much has happened since. Some have said Ozma had his royal blood, but then, itís not as if sheís actually related to any of us by blood. Or is she in some way? I can never remember exactly what Queen Lurline told me when she left Ozma here as a baby.
How did she make the decision to have Mombi washed out, anyway? I never could have done that. I just couldnít bring myself to sentence anyone to death. I know kings and queens are supposed to make those kinds of decisions sometimes, but punishing people never came naturally to me. I always felt bad for them. We all make mistakes sometimes. I have to wonder if Ozma made the right decision. It was all done so quickly. She asked me about it, but I was thinking of that suit I was going to make for Snip. Come to think of it, he could use another one, Iím thinking. Maybe in red this time. Or green. Everyone prefers green here in the city. Iíve been trying to get them to try other colors, but it hasnít been working so well. Blankenburg was in the Gillikin Country, but they wore colors other than purple. Maybe I should think about catering to more clients outside the city. Well, I have some already. The King of Kimbaloo says he could use a new suit, and the Good Witch of the North wants a new dress for formal occasions. She always wears white, so thatís something different.
I have to wonder why Iím any good at tailoring, anyway. I certainly never learned anything about it when I was a lad. I tried to get the seamstressÖoh, what was her name? Smiggs? Yes, that was it. But what about her first name? Sally? Celia? Celeste? Selena! That was it! Selena Smiggs! I wonder if any relatives of hers are still around. Iíll have to check next time I visit the palace. Itís taking me some time to get used to the new people. Itís even harder on Pajuka, though. He used to have a lot of friends in our old castle. I wonder if any of them are still around. I know some people from my reign are still there. Like Glinda. Sheís now Queen of the Quadlings, though. Maybe sheíd be able to look up some of our old friends. She has some kind of book, doesnít she? A magic book where she can look up whatís happening anywhere in the world?
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. I was wondering why I have such natural skill at tailoring. My father never let me learn anything about it. He said it wasnít a skill for men and nothing a king would need to know. Did I get my skill when Mombi transformed me? Is that even possible? I admit I donít know much about how magic works. Does that mean that, if Mombi had turned someone into a blacksmith, heíd automatically know how to make horseshoes? Or what if she turned someone into a witch, like her? Would they know how to work magic with no effort?
That reminds me. Iíd better get started on that dress for the Good Witch. She usually makes her own clothes, but sheís been busy recently, and Ozma recommended me to make her a new one. Maybe I should look into getting a female dummy for dresses. Humpy is willing to model just about anything, but he just doesnít have the right figure. Maybe Iíll ask Ozma about it next time I visit the palace. It seems to me I was going to ask last week, but I forgot. I suppose I should make a note of it. I canít find any paper right now, though. Oh, well. Iíll get Pajuka to write it down when he comes back from the coffee shop. He always knows where the paper is.
Oh, that must be Pajuka and Snip coming back now! Now, what was it I was going to ask Pajuka? Oh, well. Iím sure Iíll remember later. For now, Iíd better get started on that dress.
End of Entry
For plot synopsis and continuity notes, go here.