The Wonderful O, by James Thurber

Vulpes Libris

And so the locksmith became a lcksmith, and the bootmaker a btmaker, and people whispered like conspirators when they said the names.  Love’s Labours Lost and Mother Goose flattened out like a pricked balloon.  Books were bks and Robin Hood was Rbinhd.  Little Goody Two Shoes lost her Os and so did Goldilocks, and the former became a whisper, and the latter sounded like a key jiggled in a lck.  It was impossible to read “cockadoodledoo” aloud, and parents gave up reading to their children, and some gave up reading altogether…

The Wonderful O is the story of the people of Ooroo, who, colonised by the worst sort of moral monster (the pirates Black and Littlejack), are robbed of their Os.  Desolate and confused, they can no longer love, worship or adore; commerce, religion and public order are affected for the worse; and our heroine Andrea can be “a lass…

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