The Cowardly Lion of Oz
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The story opens with Mustafa of Mudge, a turbaned desert monarch with blue whiskers, who collects lions. Mustafa demands one more lion — he already has nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine and a half lions, but there are no more lions in Mudge, and Mudgers are forbidden by Ozma, on penalty of death, to travel beyond the desert borders of Mudge. However, when Notta Bit More, a clown from the circus in Stumptown (somewhere in the humdrum backblocks of the United States of America), and a serious-minded orphan boy called Bobbie Downs (but renamed as Bob Up, by the cheerful Notta) drop into Mudge together, this seems to Mustafa to be his chance to send a non-Mudge person out to bring the famous Cowardly Lion to be the ten thousandth lion in Mudge. Using a magic ring, he enchants Notta and Bob and compels them to set out on a quest to capture the Cowardly Lion.
Meanwhile, in the Emerald City, the Cowardly Lion believes that he has depleted the reserve of courage imbued in him by the Wizard (as told in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). The mischievous Patchwork Girl, Scraps (who was first introduced in an earlier Baum-written title), misdirects the Lion into thinking that he can replenish his courage by eating a courageous man. Since the Lion dislikes the notion of harming anyone, he resolves to do the deed as quickly as possible, and so embarks on his quest to find, and eat, the bravest man in Oz.
Unbeknownst to the Cowardly Lion, he is being hunted by Notta Bit More and Bob Up. Accidentally, the three meet each other. Concealing their objective from the lion, Notta and Bob resolve to trick him into going to Mudge.
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