Monday, December 26, 2011

Alphabeasts: K is for Kalidah

Okay, my Alphabeasts entry for this week is a little later than it might have been, but considering the holiday fluster of last week, I don't think it's really all that tardy. I promised an animal you might not have heard of, from a very famous book, and I give you the kalidah.

As you can see behind the link on its name, there are kalidahs in L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, but they don't make the transition into the famous movie, except perhaps in the second and third terms of "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!"

Here's the Cowardly Lion's description of these beasts. It's the only description of them in the short chapter that deals with them, which comes right before the drowsy poppy-field chapter.

They are monstrous beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers ... and with claws so long and sharp that they could tear me in two as easily as I could kill Toto. I'm terribly afraid of the Kalidahs.

Of course, the Cowardly Lion is terribly afraid of most things. But we do later learn—when the heroes are pursued by them—that a kalidah is bigger than a lion. Fortunately (spoiler alert) Dorothy and her escorts manage to avoid the kalidahs and reach the Emerald City.

Here's the only image of the Kalidahs in my copy of The Annotated Wizard of Oz, which uses the original illustrations by W. W. Denslow.

(You can see another image, with a plot spoiler of sorts, here.)

It occurred to me, as I was working on my drawing, that The Wizard of Oz isn't the only early-twentieth-century children's book with tigers and bears (oh my) in it...

Next week: I gotta fire up my Netflix queue to watch a movie from 1982.