If great stories constitute one of the riches of the earth, then America has nothing to be ashamed of. We may not have the Brothers Grimm, we might not have Hans Christian Anderson, we might not have Boccaccio—but we do have L. (short for Lyman) Frank Baum. He gave us not only The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) but sixteen sequels! (And they’re all pretty good!)
Then there are the other invented worlds, such as the one represented by The Surprising Adventures of the Magical Monarch of Mo and His People (1900), written the same year he created Oz. That’s only the beginning, for Baum’s fertile mind was busily at work for the last nineteen years of his life, and did not rest until he populated his fairylands with hundreds of characters and situations that not only amaze children, but not a few adults as well. Like me, for instance.
Now with the advent of e-books, it is possible to get virtually all of Baum’s work for free, or for pennies. You can try Kindle, or even Gutenberg.Com, which also contains the original illustrations. If you need cheering up, try one of his lesser-known books, which contain a wealth of treasures.