Buechner discusses the beginning of his fascination with the Land of Oz:

FOR REASONS THAT I can only guess at now, no one I came to know during that first year in Oz left a deeper mark on me than a plump, ebullient king named Rinkitink. He was a foolish man in many ways who laughed too much and talked too much and at moments of stress was apt to burst into unkingly tears; but beneath all that, he gave the impression of remarkable strength and resilience and courage even, a good man to have around when the chips were down. He and his young friend Prince Inga of Pingaree came into possession of three magic pearls—a blue one that conferred such strength that no power could resist it; a pink one that protected its owner from all dangers; and a pure white one that could speak words of great wisdom and helpfulness. "Never question the truth of what you fail to understand," the white pearl said when Rinkitink consulted it for the first time, "for the world is filled with wonders." It was great wisdom indeed, and has proved greatly helpful many times since.

-Originally published in The Sacred Journey

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