Hank the talking mule is a fictional animal invented by L. Frank Baum. He is introduced in Baum's eighth Oz book titled Tik-Tok of Oz, published in 1914. He is the pet that accompanied the Oz character named Betsy Bobbin on her bizzare adventures in the magical Land of Oz.
Hank is a thin little, sad-faced mule.
Hank and Betsy became good friends aboard a ship during an ocean voyage. One night the ship struck and rock, and Hank and Betsy were thrown overboard just before it blew up and sank. Hank proved to be a loyal friend to Betsy, and after their initial adventure was done, he remained with her in Oz where he first began to speak. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
- Tik-Tok of Oz (first appearance)
- The Scarecrow of Oz
- Rinkitink in Oz
- The Lost Princess of Oz
- The Magic of Oz
- Kabumpo in Oz
- The Lost King of Oz
L. Frank Baum was not entirely consistent in his references to Hank. The animal is called a "mule" 32 times in the text of Tik-Tok of Oz, but called a "donkey" 8 times. Twice, in fact, Hank is called a "small donkey," and twice a "little donkey."
A donkey earlier appeared in Oz on film in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910), though he was unnamed.
Hank appears in the computer game "Emerald City Confidential" as Betsy Bobbin's doorman/bodyguard. He doesn't let anyone in to see her if they don't have an appropriate gift. Petra, the game's protagonist, notes that he can't be bribed; as Hank says, he and Betsy go way back and he's loyal to her. Petra says that loyalty is a rare quality in these times.