Lions, and tigers, and bears…or at least tigers and bears (Kalidah)
The Kalidah is the most ferocious and feared predator in the Land of Oz. We first read about Kalidahs in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel. The Kalidah has the head of a tiger, the front paws and body of a bear, and the rear legs of a tiger. But what would a Kalidah look like in real life? How would the features of these two fearsome predators look?
I recently created a Kalidah in photoshop that looks a little bit more ferocious.
In the second book in The Hidden History of Oz series, Crown of the Dreamer, the Wizard, Oscar Diggs, promises Kally (the disguised Witch of the East) a dream in return for her help.
“The lion is the king of beasts.” Oscar suggested. “If you’re dreaming it up, you can have whatever you want.”
A strange, scheming gleam caught Kally’s eye. “What? What was that? If you’re dreaming it, I can have whatever I want? Do you mean that, Wizard? Do you really mean that? Are you offering me a dream?”
Oscar shrugged. “Sure. I suppose so.”
“I don’t like lions. They are always at the top. I want something new to be the most ferocious beast in the Land of Oz. You promised I could have whatever I want. I will hold you to it. Tigers, bears, tigers, bears.” Kally debated back and forth. “Tiger-bear, tiger-bear.” Then her eyes widened. “TIGER-BEARS. I want tiger-bears. Combine them. Make them into one beast. Those can pull my chariot. Then I will be the queen.”
— Crown of the Dreamer, chapter 25, “The Battle of Mighty Miss Gulch”
So Oscar dreams the fearsome beasts. They spring to life, combing the strength of the bear and ferocity of the tiger. How the Kalidahs received their name, is another interesting story. A Munchkin went to give a message to the Wicked Witch Queen, Kalinya. He was injured by a monster. He made it back to the village, but his message was misunderstood:
“A monster?” Duke Widdershins exclaimed. “What monster? Where?”
“Kal…i…ah.” Mukluck painfully forced the syllables through his crooked jaw.
“Ka…lee…dah?” Duke Widdershins repeated.
Boq ran forward. “He said, Kalinya. The monster was made by Kalinya.”
“Quiet, boy. I know what I heard. He said Kalidah. That’s what he said.” Then Duke Widdershins turned to the assembled crowd. “This man, my friend, was mauled by a Kalidah. Be on your best guard, good people. We have fierce monsters in our land. They are called Kalidahs.”
— Crown of the Dreamer, chapter 38, “The Witch’s Army”
Kalidahs play an important part of The Hidden History of Oz. Catch up on the story, starting in Book One: The Witch Queens, continue in Book Two: Crown of the Dreamer, and stay tuned for Book Three: Emerald Spectacles, coming soon.