Thursday’s Tale: The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

In his introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was first published in 1900, Baum wrote that the story "aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heart-aches and nightmares are left out.” It has been considered the first American fairy tale because of its references to clear American locations like Kansas and Omaha. While agreeing with authors like Carroll about fantasy literature and its importance for children along with numerous illustrations, Baum also wanted to create a story that had recognizable American elements in it like farming and industrialization. It's a mix of fantasy: witches and wizards, and the everyday: scarecrows, puppy dogs. I have watched three movie versions of the Wizard of Oz over the years - the classic from 1939, the Muppet version, and last year's Oz the Great and Powerful. Each has aspects of the original story, but none capture the whole adventure. We all know Dorothy is...
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Thursday’s Tale: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

I know "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is not actually a folk tale, but it has become so familiar to us, so much a part of our culture, that I think it still fits in my rather loose Thursday Tales collection. I've read the story of the schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane several times and I love the descriptions of the area and the locals. It really sets the stage for the story. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequesntly see strange sights and hear music and voices in  the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole ninefold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols. The dominant spirit however that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the...
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