- "...she was radiant and mesmerizing. Her form was shapely as a Goddess and she was dancing gracefully in the middle of the lonely road; oh how she glowed under the rays of the golden sunlight. Her movements whirled slowly this way and that, her dainty feet twinkling in sprightly fashion and barely touching the soil of the earth. She was dressed exquisitely and clad in flowing, fluffy robes of soft material that reminded Dorothy of woven cobwebs; only it was colored in soft tintings of violet, rose, topaz, olive, azure, and white, mingled together most harmoniously in stripes that all melted one into the other creating delicate blendings. Her long hair was like flames from a fire and floated all around her in a cloudy pool, no strand being fastened or confined by either pin or ornament or ribbon. "
- ―The Road to Oz (1909)
- "Filled with great wonder and admiration our friends approached and stood watching this lovely little creature engage in her fascinating dance. She was no taller than Dorothy, although she was more slender and petite she did not seem any older than our little Kansas heroine... "
- ―The Road to Oz (1909)
Polychrome aka "Polly" is a fictional character created by L. Frank Baum. She is introduced in Baum's fourth Oz book titled The Road to Oz, published in 1909. She makes her debut appearance in the sixth chapter of the novel titled The Rainbows Daughter. Polychrome is said to be a very rare sky fairy who is not actually from the magical Land of Oz, but belongs high up in the enchanted atmosphere within the same universe and continent of Oz and is invisible to anyone outside the dimension where Oz lies. Polychrome has many sky-siblings who are believed to be all girls and who live with their mysterious father figure. It is not made clear if the Rainbow itself is the father or if another atmospheric being that controls it is. Polychrome is said to be thousands of years old in age but appears to be no older than the character of Dorothy Gale who is described as being roughly around twelve. Baum says that Polychrome is the smallest, sweetest and most merriest of the "Daughters of the Rainbow". Yet she also is portrayed to be the most reckless, always day dreaming, carelessly dancing about to keep herself warm and always getting lost or left behind by her sky-family and cannot survive on land for too long. Thus, she is forever in search for her "bow".
- "With a glad cry the Rainbow's youngest daughter sprang from her seat and leaped on the arched bow that awaited her. As she mounted gradually upward in a dance like fashion she cried out "Good-bye, Princess Ozma! Good-bye, Dorothy Gale!", who knew that the voice belonged to Polychrome; but now the little creatures tiny form had sank entirely into the Rainbow as she become one with the bow again. Their eyes could no longer see her but they blew kisses towards her way with one hand, and fanned goodbye with the other. Suddenly, the end of the bow slowly lifted from the earth and its colors ascended, fading into the clouds like mist before a high breeze and she, along with the bow were entirely gone... "
- ―The Road to Oz (1909)
- Polychrome is also commonly referred to and known as The Rainbow Fairy, or Princess of the Rainbow.
In The Road to Oz, the story opens up in Kansas when an elderly bearded homeless man only referred to and known as the "Shaggy Man" approaches the Gale farm where Dorothy Gale lives with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. The old man asked Dorothy for directions to Butterfield which was the nearest town to the prairie. Dorothy, seeing that the man was harmless offered to show him the way and with her dog Toto at her side, the three set off for Butterfield. However, while they where walking the group somehow entered another dimension and found themselves lost in the enchanted continent where Oz and many other neighboring magical countries could be found. During this adventure, the three protagonist met Button Bright, a little boy who was also lost within that strange realm.
And finally the next character to appear is Polychrome, when they first come upon her, the travelers are immediately entranced by Polychrome's unbelievably beautiful appearance and graceful movements. The group quickly grew fond of her, resulting in Polychrome befriending Dorothy and joining the group on their unexpected journey. While walking, Polychrome explains to her new friends that she was accidentally left behind by her sky-family when she failed to reach her bow in time when it departed from the earth.
- "Suddenly she paused and abandoned the exotic dance, as if for the first time observing the presence of strangers. As she faced them, shy as a frightened kitten, she stood perfectly still, Dorothy was astonished to see tears flowing from her violet eyes and trickling down her lovely rose-hued cheeks. That the angelic creature should dance and weep at the same time was indeed surprising; so Dorothy asked in a soft, sympathetic voice: "Are you unhappy, young lady?" "Very!" was the reply; "I am lost." "Why, so are we," said Dorothy, smiling; "but we don't cry about it. "Why not?" Asked the maiden. "Because even though I've been lost before, I've always got found again," answered Dorothy simply. "But I've never been lost before," murmured the dainty maiden, "and I'm uncertain and unfamiliar with my current surroundings." "But you were dancing," remarked Dorothy, in a puzzled tone of voice. "Oh, that was just to keep warm," explained the maiden, quickly. "It was not because I felt happy or joyful, I assure you." Dorothy looked at her closely. Her gauzy translucent robes flowed around her but did not look to be very warm, yet the weather wasn't at all chilly, but rather mild and friendly, like a fresh Spring Morning. "Who are you dear, what do they call you?" Dorothy asked, gently. "Polychrome," was the reply. "Polly whom?" Asked Dorothy. "Polychrome. I'm the youngest Daughter of the Rainbow." "Oh!" said Dorothy with a gasp; "I didn't know the Rainbow had any children. But I MIGHT have known it, even before you spoke. You couldn't really be anything else." "Why not?" inquired Polychrome, as if surprised. "Because you're so beautiful, colorful and unearthly!" The little maiden smiled through her tears, came up to Dorothy, and placed her dainty hand in the Kansas girl's chubby palm. "You'll be my new friend--won't you?" she asked, pleadingly. "
- ―The Road to Oz (1909)
It is made clear that although she appears to have a human form, Polychrome has a different construction unlike those of flesh and blood. The fact it is stated that Polychrome is thousands of years old, yet remains a very young lady in appearance bears this out.
Polychrome is not necessarily an Ozian. She was not born in Oz, but in the skies above Oz and all the other magical countries in the parallel universe where Oz and its neighboring magical countries can be found. Polychrome and her sky-family reside in the places that have been enchanted by the magic of Fairy Queen Lurline and are cut off from the rest of the world where real magic no longer exist. Being a sky fairy, Polychrome has no blood in her form. Instead of blood she is said to made of "Rainbow Dust", which causes her unique form to appear translucent whenever she catches the sun. Polychrome is the very embodiment of all things luminous, ethereal and angelic. Baum says that in appearance she is unbelievably radiant, magical, beautiful, unearthly, dainty and pure. Polychrome weighs nothing and is as light as a feather so when she walks she effortlessly floats in the air, staying at least half an inch above the earths soil, barley touching the ground if at all. To keep herself warm while on earth she dances and only the tips of her toes touch the floor as if she was a Ballerina.
Polychrome's skin glows a bright bronze and shimmers in the sunlight. She has bright, stunning, extremely long golden hair that glows as if it were on fire and remains completely loose as it gracefully swims all around her in a cloud as if she were under water. Her large eyes are filled of curiosity, innocence and wonder, and of a deep bright violet colour. Polychrome wears flowing, fluffy and gauzy robes of many layers consisting of soft material like thin woven cobwebs colored in uneven stripes of violet, rose-red, topaz, olive, azure, and pure white that all seem to gracefully melt very beautifully into the other creating a tie-dye effect. Her flowing clothes are sheer and also translucent like her form. Interestingly, her attire is not made of cloth or fabric, but clouds painted with "Rainbow Tears".
Personality of Polychrome
Polychrome is naturally very gentle and delicate in her movements. She is quiet and timid when meeting humans and people from the earth. She usually remains distant until she feels comfortable around them by gaining their trust and knows they will not harm her or try to catch her. Polychromes favorite thing to do other than riding on bows all day with her "Rainbow Sisters" is dancing. Polychrome will freely twirl, spin, jump and leap all about for hours without getting tired or sleepy. Polychrome is said to weigh nothing, not even a pound and eats very little compared to regular mortals. Her diet consists of fresh rain dewdrops, mist-cakes, and cloud-buns. When she tries some of the food Dorothy received in Foxville, she only has a sip of tea and a small nibble of cold turkey. Dorothy says that it's about as much as a fly would eat. Polychrome does, however, manage to slap a guardian Scoodler, allowing Dorothy and her friends to escape being made into soup.
Oz History: Polychrome in Oz
After a rain storm, Polychrome's Father had withdrawn his colorful bow, back into the atmosphere without realizing she'd accidentally slipped off of it and had been left behind. She traveled with her new companions across the Deadly Desert into the magical Land of Oz and eventually arrived with them at the Emerald City where she attended Princess Ozma's Birthday party. At the end of the celebration and banquet, her father finally found her and extended his Rainbow down again and she was allowed to return safely back home and reunite with her siblings. (The Road to Oz)
In The Oz Series...
When the Rainbow later set down on Sky Island, Polychrome recognized little Button-Bright who was stranded there. She left the Rainbow for an hour or two to help the boy and his friends, Trot and Cap'n Bill, before returning to her home in the sky. (Sky Island)
Polychrome was stranded upon the earth for a second time and encountered the Shaggy Man again (though they didn't seem to recognize one another), along with Betsy Bobbin, Hank, and Ozga the Rose Princess. She accompanied them to the Nome Kingdom to rescue the Shaggy Man's Brother, and there the Nome King was captivated by her and invited her to stay in his Kingdom and make him happy. She refused and helped depose the Metal Monarch. When they found the Shaggy Man's Brother, Polychrome agreed to kiss him to break a spell of ugliness that Ruggedo had placed upon him, saying that she had never kissed a mortal man in all her thousands of years. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
On one of her visits to Oz, after she again got separated from the Rainbow out of carelessness, Polychrome fell asleep near the Yoop castle. Mrs. Yoop found her sleeping and, being a Yookoohoo, transformed her into a canary, thus suppressing most of her fairy powers. Mrs. Yoop kept the canary prisoner, until she transformed and captured the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, and Woot the Wanderer as well. Together, the four planned and made their escape. They journeyed to Jinjur's house, where Ozma met them and transformed them all to their natural forms. Polychrome then went with the party to meet Nimmie Amee, helping them get through a magical barrier using her fairy powers. Soon thereafter, there was a rainstorm and a subsequent Rainbow, allowing Polychrome to return home to the sky. (The Tin Woodman of Oz)
She danced down her beautiful Rainbow into the Land of Ev one day, where she met Kabumpo, Randy, and Jinnicky the Red Jinn. After hearing their story, she allowed them to borrow her Rainbow to cross the Deadly Desert. (The Purple Prince of Oz)
Similarly, when she met Bucky and Davy Jones, who were also trying to get across the Deadly Desert to Oz, she again offered her rainbow to help them cross. But as Davy was a wooden whale, it was no easy feat for him to actually use the Rainbow. It took much effort from him, Polychrome and her sisters, and even some Cloud-Pushers. He finally got across the Rainbow, though on the far side he began to slide down incredibly fast. He luckily landed in a lake in Oz. (Lucky Bucky in Oz)
- The Road to Oz (first appearance)
- Sky Island
- Tik-Tok of Oz
- The Tin Woodman of Oz
- Grampa in Oz
- The Purple Prince of Oz
- The Wonder City of Oz
Polychrome is more a decorative than an active presence in The Road to Oz, but she makes positive contributions in her subsequent appearances in Baum's fictions. In Tik-Tok of Oz (1914) she summons the dragon Quox to rescue the captured Ozians from the Nome King. In The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918) she rescues the rusted Captain Fyter the Tin Soldier by oiling his joints, just as Dorothy had done for the Tin Woodman in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and she uses her magic to let the protagonists fit through a rabbit hole. In Sky Island (1912) she provides the solution to the central characters' main problem.
In The Wizard of Oz: Dark Witch Rising book one - Rainbow's Emissary by Mike LaMontagne, Polychrome returns to Oz to warn Dorothy that her cousin, Boomer, has come to Oz to claim the magics of the deceased Wicked Witch of the West. She travels with Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, and the Hungry Tiger to stop her cousin before he can use the magics against the rest of the Sky Fairies.
Polychrome may have originated in a similar figure in Baum's dramatic treatment Prince Silverwings. In that play, Nuna, daughter of the Storm King, is missing from the ranks of her sister Cloud Maidens. Change the names and the result is Polychrome and her situation. In turn, Polychrome had a clear influence of Jack Snow's Princess Chrystal.
In Magician of Oz (2009), by James C. Wallace II, Jamie Diggs, great grandson of O.Z. Diggs, meets Polychrome for the first time when he arrives in Oz thorugh the Council of Trees. She transports him by means of her father, the Great Rainbow, to the Red Brick Palace of Glinda, Good Witch of the South.
In Shadow Demon of Oz (2010), by James C. Wallace II, Polychrome escorts Cap'n Bill, Jamie Diggs, his best friend Buddy in O.Z. Diggs's balloon into the Emerald City upon their arrival in Oz.
In Family of Oz (2011), by James C. Wallace II, Polychrome appears with the Mist Maidens on the high peak of the Great Northern Mountains where O.Z. Diggs now resides following his retirment.
In Other Media
Return to Oz 1985
Polychrome appears among the coronation crowd parade in the final Oz scene of Walt Disney's 1985 cult classic film Return to Oz. She is played by Cherie Hawkins in an uncredited role. She is depicted in long silky colorful robes, though much plainer than depicted in the Oz books. She also had many colorful pastel markings painted upon her face and skin. The only distinguishing mark that she is Polychrome is the rainbow headpiece that she wears on top of her head like a crown, indicating that she is the Rainbow's daughter/Princess of the Rainbow.