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Encyclopedia > The Enchanted Island of Yew
The Enchanted Island of Yew
Author L. Frank Baum
Illustrator Fanny Y. Cory
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Children's novel
Publisher Bobbs-Merrill
Released 1903
Media type Print (Hardcover)

The Enchanted Island of Yew is a children's fantasy novel written by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by Fanny Y. Cory, and published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company in 1903. The Laughing Dragon of Oz, see Frank Joslyn Baum . ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Jane Frank: illustration from Thomas Yoseloffs The Further Adventures of Till Eulenspiegel (1957). ... See also: 1902 in literature, other events of 1903, 1904 in literature, list of years in literature. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... Jane Frank: illustration from Thomas Yoseloffs The Further Adventures of Till Eulenspiegel (1957). ... Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... The Laughing Dragon of Oz, see Frank Joslyn Baum . ... See also: 1902 in literature, other events of 1903, 1904 in literature, list of years in literature. ...

The book's full title is The Enchanted Island of Yew: Whereon Prince Marvel Encountered the High Ki of Twi and Other Surprising People. The first edition contained eight color plates, and was dedicated to Kenneth Gage Baum, the youngest of the author's four sons.


The Setting

The Island of Yew is set at some undisclosed place in the Earth's global ocean — "in the middle of the sea." (Later commentators have sometimes placed it in Baum's "Nonestic Ocean" with the landmass that contains the Land of Oz and its associated countries; but there is no authority for this in the book itself.) Like Oz, it is divided into four countries associated with the four cardinal directions, plus a fifth central country that dominates the others. In the east of Yew lies the land of Dawna; in the west, "tinted rose and purple by the setting sun," is Auriel. In the south lies the kingdom of Plenta, "where fruits and flowers abounded;" and in the north is Heg, the most stereotypically feudal and medieval of the four. Oz is an imaginary region containing four countries under the rule of one monarch. ...

In the center, like the Emerald City in Oz, lies the fifth kingdom of Spor. But while the Emerald City is a powerfully positive place, the centrally-located Spor has just the opposite influence for Yew: Spor is a bandit land, ruled by the mysterious King Terribus, and populated by "giants with huge clubs, and dwarfs who threw flaming darts, and the stern Gray Men of Spor, who were the most frightful of all." The other peoples of Yew are pleased if the denizens of Spor come to rob them only once a year.

(Yew is the most traditional of Baum's fantasy lands, with knights and castles as well as fairies. It resembles the countries of Queen Zixi of Ix more than the lands of Oz.) Queen Zixi of Ix, or The Story of the Magic Cloak is a 1905 childrens book written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by Frederick Richardson. ...

The Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Sesely, daughter of Baron Merd of Heg, and two companions are enjoying a picnic in the Forest of Lurla when they are accosted by a fairy. The fairy, bored with centuries of insipid fairy life, amazes the girls by pleaded to be changed into a mortal. Though the girls are surprised that they even have the power to do such a thing, the fairy explains how it can be done. The girls agree to transform the fairy into a human boy for the space of one year. The newly-minted male is dubbed Prince Marvel, and, furnished with fairy arms and armor and an enchanted horse (a deer transformed), sets out to have adventures.

Since Yew is so dominated by robbers and rogues, Prince Marvel doesn't have to travel far to find said adventures. He starts off by confronting and besting the bandits of Wul-Takim, the self-styled King of Thieves. Marvel captures all fifty-nine of the band and is ready to send them to the gallows — but Wuk-Takim convinces the naive ex-fairy that the robbers are now honest men, whom it would be unfair to hang.

A greater challenge awaits him in Spor, where he faces the Royal Dragon of King Terribus. The dragon is a visual spectacle:

"...more than thirty feet in length and covered everywhere with large green scales set with diamonds,
making the dragon, whenever it moved, a very glittering spectacle. Its eyes were as big as pie plates,
and its mouth — when wide opened — fully as large as a bathtub. Its tail was very long and ended
in a golden ball, such as you see on the top of flagstaffs. Its legs, which were as thick as those
of an elephant, had scales which were set with rubies and emeralds."

The dragon, however, is far less formidable than it appears: its inner fire was blown out in a gale, and its keepers are out of matches. It can't lash its tail or gnash its teeth, either — because they hurt. In the end, even after getting its fire re-lit, the beast refuses to fight Prince Marvel; it's too much a gentleman. With such opposition, it isn't surprising that Marvel is victorious is Spor as well.

He next has a stay in the curious hidden kingdom of Twi. As its name suggests, everything is doubled in Twi, and everyone is a twin. The people even lack a word for "one." The High Ki of Twi (twins like everyone else) is considering the fate of the intruding Marvel, when he places a spell on the rulers, dividing them from their united and shared mind into two separate consciousnesses, good and evil. The results are disastrous, and Marvel has to remedy the mess by re-uniting the twins.

Marvel faces his sternest tests when he confronts the evil magician Kwytoffle and the Red Rogue of Dawna; even then, however, his native resources, and the friends he has made along his way, enable him to emerge victorious. By the end of his mortal year, Marvel has pacified the formerly troublesome inhabitants; the Island of Yew has become civilized.

Spoilers end here.


In her biography of Baum, Katharine Rogers notes than Baum adopted the name Kwytoffle from Prince Silverwings and Other Fairy Tales (1902), by Edith Ogden Harrison.[1] In 1903 Baum was working with Harrison on an adaptation of her successful book for the stage. The play was supposed to premier in the summer of 1904, but a disastrous fire in late 1903 forced the mayor of Chicago (who was, oddly enough, Edith Harrison's husband) to order the city's theaters closed. Silverwings never made it onto the boards. Nickname: The Windy City, The Second City, Chi Town, City of the Big Shoulders, The 312, The City that Works Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in Chicagoland and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government...

Rogers suggests other influences from Harrison's Silverwings on Baum's fiction. In Harrison's book, Kwytoffle is the name of the Gnome King, who has kidnapped the Storm King's daughter and threatens to throw Silverwings and her other would-be rescuers into his furnace — comparable to elements in Baum's Oz books. Kwytoffle has a problem with beans, just as Baum's Nome King has with eggs. Harrison's Cloud Maidens appear in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. In Silverwings, Charminia, Queen of the Fairies, sends her minions to comfort distressed mortals; in Zixi of Ix Queen Lulea sends a fairy to deliver the magic cloak to the most unhappy person to be found.[2] Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is the fourth book set in the Land of Oz (though most of the action is outside of it) written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by John R. Neill. ... Queen Zixi of Ix, or The Story of the Magic Cloak is a 1905 childrens book written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by Frederick Richardson. ...

The Enchanted Island of Yew was out of print for more than fifty years in the middle and later twentieth century. It was re-issued in 1996 by Books of Wonder, with new illustrations by George O'Connor. Subsequent editions followed from Lightning Source (2001), Wildside Press (2001), and 1st World Library (2005). Wildside Press is an independent publishing company located in Maryland. ...


  1. ^ Edith O. Harrison produced a series of fairy-tale collections, The Star Fairies (1903), The Moon Princess (1905), and The Flaming Sword (1908) among others.
  2. ^ Katharine Rogers, L. Frank Baum, pp. 102-3.


  • Rogers, Katharine M. L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.
  • Sigler, Carolyn. Alternative Alices:Visions and Revisions of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books: An Anthology. Lexington, KY, University Press of Kentucky, 1997.

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