Monday, October 1, 2018

THE CORONATION

By Jack Snow
Author of The Magical Mimics of Oz, Spectral Snow, Who's Who in Oz, etc. 
 
Originally published in Dark Music and Other Spectral Tales, 1947.



At eleven o’clock, exactly, the doors of the palace opened and a tiny old lady, supported by a stalwart young man, advanced slowly between the ranks of gaudily uniformed guardsmen, standing at stiff and erect attention. In an instant the air quivered and vibrated with the mighty shout of the thousands who had assembled there in the great square to await this moment. “The Queen”—“Long Live the Queen”—Over and again the cry was repeated, floating upward to mingle with the deep throated tolling of the massive bell in the palace belfry.

Now the old lady was descending the steps to a magnificent carriage that awaited her. Attired in a black satin dress, covered with old fashioned white lace on which was worked repeatedly the great seal of her kingdom, the aged queen wore a coronet of diamonds, and a lace veil of woven gold studded with tiny diamonds depended from her widow's cap. As she neared the carriage, the Queen was seen to pause for an instant—to glance before her in surprise and wonder. That little child—that little girl—what an exquisite thing she was as she skipped along beside the carriage. But how could she have managed to get past the guard that surrounded the massive vehicle? It was strange. Still looking at the child, and smiling, the Queen permitted herself to be helped into the carriage.

Slowly the carriage rumbled down the street between living aisles of cheering humans. In the cool depths of the carriage, the Queen sat alone. She was thinking of that day so many years ago when all this had happened for the first time. How many years had it been? Seventy-five? Incredible it seemed—and yet it was true—this was her diamond jubilee—for 75 years she had reigned. And she had done her best to be a good Queen—to give her people what was good for them. Today the world was paying tribute to her. All nations were her friends today. They were joining her own loyal subjects in saying that she had indeed been a good Queen. Her country had prospered during that three-quarters of a century—her armies had gone far abroad and righted wrongs, fed suffering people, created new colonies and new dominions. Many great statesmen and public servants had come forth to serve her and she had used them all for the benefit of her people. Today she was being honored as few women have lived to be honored. She was re-enacting her coronation that had taken place on this day 75 years ago. In this same carriage at this same hour she had ridden through the streets of this great city—filled then as now with crowds of cheering people. Before and behind her carriage had ridden royalty from many lands just as they rode today—many of these the sons and grandsons of those who had ridden on that earlier June 28th.

The same brilliant sunlight had shone then. Behind the sparkle of the diamonds that studded the lace gold veil, still brighter diamonds of tears sparkled in the faded grey eyes of the little old Queen. Smiling, she peered from the window of the carriage and nodded and waved to the vast crowds that lined the streets and overflowed from the windows and rooftops of the stores and houses. The Queen started—that little girl—there she was again—running merrily along beside the slowly moving carriage! She didn't seem to walk—she danced—danced as the lightest thistledown in a summer breeze, and her golden hair tossed and tumbled about her head like a spritely halo. Who was she? A working man’s child—the daughter of someone who had journeyed hundreds of miles for the occasion? Perhaps her parents were even now worrying about her. She must speak to the guards about the child at the nearest opportunity. In the meantime the Queen feasted her eyes on the lively little figure as it skipped along beside the carriage. Her own children had long since grown up but she had never stopped loving children—their fresh sweetness—it was a loveliness like a breath of mountain air perfumed with wild thyme.

The carriage rolled on and on—and now it had nearly completed its circuitous route through the great city. There were the spires of the mighty cathedral where she had been crowned Queen of a great nation those long years ago. Now the carriage had halted before the cathedral steps. The Queen was being assisted from the vehicle and up the steps. A few seconds later she felt the grey coolness of the cathedral’s ageless rock settling about her like a mantle of serene peace. But even the Queen wasn’t prepared for the spectacle that greeted her dim old eyes. Marvelously glowing with the lights of many hundreds of tapers, the vast vault of the cathedral seemed to be a living flame—a flame that lighted such a spectacle as the world had seldom seen—the magnificent vision of thousands of beautiful women and handsome men—lords and ladies—courtiers and visiting rulers and noblemen from a score of distant lands—all arrayed in their finest garments of state. The hundreds and hundreds of flickering tapers found their leaping flames multiplied a hundred more times in the countless jewels that flashed iridescent all the hues of the rainbow, transforming the cathedral into one vast living jewel of glorious light.

And yet, in spite of the marvel and wonder of the scene, the old Queen found her eyes fastened on the smiling face of a little girl as she slipped, unheeded, down the aisle of the cathedral. What a child she was the Queen marveled—unafraid—unabashed by even so much regal splendor and finery! Perhaps she thought it was all quite natural—perhaps she had read of such things in her fairy books and to her child mind this was nothing unusual—just the world as she had dreamed it out of the pages of her books.

Close to the altar stood the same gold-encrusted throne upon which the old Queen had sat on this day many years before—the coronation throne. Now she was seated on it again—how it all came back to her—how the old Priest—so like the one who performed the rite today—had chanted the very same rites that she was re-hearing now like an echo, almost forgotten, but returning quick and living from the land of memory. How the Lord High Chamberlain had placed these very same robes about her and invested her with the scepter and presented her with the sacred great seal of her nation. And her own oath—she repeated it slowly, distinctly in a voice that quavered only slightly—repeated it from memory—those words that she had uttered once, little dreaming that she would voice them again. It was all the same—ending with the coronation and the prayer of the good Priest. But even as she bowed her head in prayer, the Queen caught a glimpse of the little girl, standing on one foot like a bird, close to the wall of the cathedral—and this time the child was looking directly at her. The Queen smiled—and the little girl smiled back, all the sunshine in the world rayed in that one glance.

The services over, the Queen was hurried back to the palace. It was necessary to conserve her strength—it would not do to tire her too greatly. Her age must be considered, as there were guests to be received in the afternoon and a ball in the evening which the Queen would attend. And so after the coronation the little Queen was discreetly whisked away from the cathedral, into her carriage and back to the castle that she might rest until the afternoon hour when she would be called upon to receive her royal visitors from foreign lands. All along the route back to the palace, the Queen did not fail to notice the merrily dancing figure of the strange little girl, and as she ascended the steps and entered the palace, she caught her breath as the child slipped past her, actually brushing her robes. No one had noticed her but the Queen. She was so tiny—so quick—she moved like a ray of light—she came scarcely to the knees of the shortest of the palace guards. Every-one's eyes were blinded to her by the pomp and circumstance of the occasion. The Queen smiled to herself, if the child would only follow her to her room, she would insist on being left alone and she would have a talk with the little one. She would find out who her parents were—she would order cookies and sweets for her—and then she would send her back in a royal carriage with a palace guard to her parents. She would make this a day the little girl would long remember. The Queen smiled with pleasure. It was so seldom that children were not awed and frightened into silence by her presence. Usually they were stuffed so full of silly stories of her importance that the poor little ones found it impossible to be happy, carefree children in her presence. Here, thought the old Queen, was one who was different. As she proceeded down  the  corridor, the Queen perceived that the door of her chamber was open, and there—flashing out of a shadow, cast by a pillar—darted the little girl into her room. She moved so fleetingly that not one of her ladies in waiting saw her. The Queen sighed with relief. Outside her door, she bid her attendants leave her. She wanted nothing save to be alone—to rest—they were to come for her at four in the afternoon—that would give them time to prepare her for the reception at 8. As the Queen closed the door of her chamber behind her, one of the ladies in waiting turned and stared at the door in perplexity. Was it the Queen who had laughed like that—like the rippling of silver water? Who else could it have been? And yet in all the four years she had served the Queen, the lady couldn’t remember hearing her majesty laugh. She smiled often, sometimes sadly, sometimes happily. But then—this day was different—even the Queen might have laughed on this day, and it certainly had been a beautiful laugh. As she rushed away to join her sisters, the lady in waiting felt happier that she had heard it.


At four o'clock exactly, the air about the palace again reverberated with the metal voice of the great bell in the steeple as it tolled out the hour. And at that same moment, the Queen’s ladies in waiting opened the door of the royal chamber, and entered. They walked a few steps into the room, and then stood frozen. It was almost a minute before they could break the shackles of surprise and dismay that held them. The Queen sat in a great chair by a window. She was very quiet. A smile lay on her lips. She was not sleeping. She was dead. The afternoon sun-light fell in a slanting ray across the room to a wall opposite where it bathed with a golden flood of luminance the portrait of a little girl with a halo of aureate hair—a tiny little sprite of a girl, whose youth and vivacity the artist had caught so successfully that the little figure seemed about to go dancing and skipping out of the frame. It was a picture of the Queen painted a few weeks after her coronation when she was a child 5 years old.



THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 10, 1921


The Forgetful Poet and His Puzzling Verses

The Forgetful Poet’s verse was a little blank last week, and the first word he left out was sing, the next eaves and the last spring. Then he mixed up fields and trees in his third verse and said he wanted to gard a planten instead of plant a garden.

Today he has one of his exactly opposite spells and has written the funniest poem ever!

A Walk in the Woods

With wakesap on my back I sought
The season’s first tame flowers
And trudged light-hearted through the sky,
So green from April’s showers,

While overhead the woods so blue
Did smile with wondrous grace,
And on each bush and hedge the spiders
Hung their fairy lace.

I sang along and trudged a song,
For all the world’s so gay.
Though fully grown, I only own
To seven years -----.


[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

WHEN OLIVER ELEPHANT DIDN'T MIND HIS MOTHER

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Hungry Tiger of Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard in Oz, and The Wish Express, etc. 

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, September 13, 1914.


ONCE—once, BIG little Oliver Elephant didn’t mind his mother. Think of that!

“Now don’t go beyond the tall cocoanut trees, Oliver Elephant!” his big kind mother said shaking her trunk at him; and

“Don’t go beyond the tall cocoanut trees!” His GREAT BIG FATHER had said. putting up his ears; and

“Don’t go beyond the tall cocoanut trees!” his GREAT BIG UNCLE ABNER had said. Then his big kind mother went on stirring up the huge hay pudding she was making for lunch—and his big father—and his big Uncle Abner—they went hunting—and big little Oliver Elephant went out to play.

Pretty soon he came to that part of the forest where the tall cocoanut trees were. It was very dark and tangled beyond, but Oliver Elephant thought it looked very INTERESTING. And the more he looked the more interesting it seemed to grow. All at once a bright green snake went daring between the tall cocoanut trees right into the dark tangle beyond, and before Oliver Elephant knew what he was about he was running lumpety lump lump lump! after it. It went shooting and darting ahead and Oliver ran and ran and ran—till he was a great big long ways from his big kind mother. The forest got deeper and deeper and DEEPER and darker and darker and DARKER! And first thing you know little Oliver Elephant fell over a tangly vine and hurt himself dreadfully. Then he began to feel frightened. “Oooh! what big black shadows there are here!” said he. “Oooh! How still it is here!”

THEN—suddenly he heard footsteps. Pat! pat! pat!—pat! pat! pat! They were coming straight for HIM! Oliver Elephant flapped his big ears and rolled his little eyes—and wished he could see his big kind mother. Then from the opposite direction came other footsteps. Pat! pat! patter! Pat! pat! patter! The trees began to sigh—“whooooooooh! And the branches began to crack—and Oliver just held his breath. Who do you ’spose was coming? I’d better tell you right away. It was MRS. SHAGGY LION—and MRS. TABITHA TIGER. They were on their way to market, too!

“Br-rrAH!” roared Mrs. Shaggy Lion, stepping out of the shadows.

“Gr-ruuF!” growled Mrs. Tabitha Tiger. Then they both set down their market baskets and looked at Oliver Elephant.

“I’ll take his HEAD!” roared Mrs. Shaggy Lion, and “I’ll take his trunk and his two front legs!” rumbled Mrs. Tabitha Tiger “M—m! What a fine elephant pie ’twill make!” roared Mrs. Shaggy Lion, licking her chops; and “Oooh! what a lumpety chumpety elephant stew I’ll have!” purred Mrs. Tabitha Tiger, rolling her green eyes.

Poor Oliver Elephant was so sca—red that he could not even swallow. “ELEPHANT PIE!” “ELEPHANT STEW!” Oh, why hadn’t he minded his mother!

Now Mrs. Shaggy Lion and Mrs. Tabitha Tiger were so sure of little Oliver Elephant that they stood talking about how the little shaggy lionesses loved elephant pie—and how the little tigresses loved elephant stew. Besides they wanted to rest before they started to divide Oliver up into heads and trunks and things—UGH!

But fortunately some one was listening. I’ll tell you who! One of the little brown wood elves who look after the little wild children same as the good fairies look after you! He heard all this talking about elephant pie and such—and he leapt up Oliver’s trunk and he crept into Oliver’s ear and whispered just ONE word—then he flew away.

“And how’s Mr. Shaggy Lion?— ” began Mrs. Tabitha Tiger—but here Oliver Elephant came crashety smashing into them and HEAD over TAILS over MARKET BASKETS went Mrs. Shaggy Lion and Mrs. Tabitha Tiger—bump! BUMPETY BUMP! BUMP!—and all they ever saw of Oliver Elephant was a cloud of sticks and dust! The little word that the elf had whispered was this—“RUN!”—and he did! He ran and ran and ran and never stopped till he came all dusty and tired to his own house. There stood his big kind mother with the tears running down her trunk in bucketfuls ’cause she thought he was LOST! But when she saw him coming—she was so glad to see him that she forgot how naughty he had been and she threw her trunk around his neck and hugged and hugged him. So did his big father and his uncle Abner Elephant. And after that—Oliver Elephant always minded his mother.



THE FORGETFUL POET
 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson  
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 3, 1921.

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

The Forgetful Poet’s Easter poem was all very well as far as it went, but, as usual, our forgetful friend left out half of the words. They were ears, snow and know it.

Spring

Oh, skates and tops, and jumping ropes,
Oh, marbles, balls and kites!

They’re here. Oh, spring, I rise to -----
Of all your dear delights.

The trees are gay with lovely grass,
The fields are full of leaves,

And little birds sing high and low
And twitter in the -----.

It’s time to gard a planten,
And be happy as a king.

My hair is gray, but, oh, I say,
I just adore the -----.

Some of the words in these verses seem a bit twisted to me. How do they strike you? That trees full of grass, for instance! Oh, well, the dear soul is so enthusiastic he’s got himself a little mixed.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

STRENUOUS BOBBY AND THE GOAT

By W. W. Denslow
Author of Denslow's Scarecrow and Tinman, original illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Father Goose: His Book, Dot and Tot of Merryland, etc.

Originally published in Boston Post, May 11, 1902.


Click image to enlarge.


THE FORGETFUL POET
  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 27, 1921.
 

The Forgetful Poet and His Puzzles

There were surely enough mistakes in the old fellow’s verses last week to keep all of us busy. First he said bearlarpo instead of polar bear, left out to; used lions where he should have used monkeys and monkeys where he should have put lions; left out appetite and hay and wish, had tigers spotted instead of striped and leopards striped instead of spotted and left out do and it.

Today he has written a simple little Easter poem he says that a mere child can understand.

The Easter Rabbit has long -----
And fur as white as -----.
He brings good children Easter eggs,
And other things, you know.

I wish he’d bring a few to me,
Although I’m just a poet,
Grown up at that. I’ll bet a hat
No one would ever -----.


[Answers next time.]


Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

THE PRIDEFUL PEACOCK

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Hungry Tiger of Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard in Oz, and The Wish Express, etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 31, 1919.


Once on a high time all the birds
Decided to choose a king.
They summoned all the feathered folk
And soon upon the wing

Came goose and duck and robin red,

Blue heron, owl and wren,
The crow and blackbird and the gull,
The pheasant and the hen.

More birds than ever I could tell.
The judges take their stand.
Old Mr. Owl presides and calls
The roll in manner grand.

“In choosing, mark ye well, appearance
Counts in any king,
Also the voice,” admonished he,
“And power, strength of wing.”

Outside the gate the peacock stood
And heard the owl with glee.
“It’s very plain,” he murmured, “that
He means a bird like me.”

“I’ll wait until the last bell sounds,
Then sweep into the hall,
With regal head and tail outspread,
And overwhelm them all.”

And so he waited till the last,
Then strutted through the gate.
The birds all craned their necks to see
Who came so proud and late.

But, oh! just then the gate slammed to,
His tail was left outside,
Clipped off neatly and completely,
So here’s what comes of pride.

Without his tail the peacock is
A sorry sight to see.
And while they crowned the eagle KING
He hid behind a tree.




THE FORGETFUL POET
 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 20, 1921. 


The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

In last week’s verses our forgetful friend left out know and can’t, used up for down and down for up, awake for asleep and left out ice cream in his very last rhyme. Outside of this, it was pretty good poetry.

ZOO OLOGY

I always spend a day, in spring,
Out in the good old Zoo,
I like to see the bearlarpo
And all the monkeys, too.

The lions chatter in their cage,
The bears are most polite,
The monkeys roar with hungry rage,
The hippo’s -----

Is very large. The elephant
Can eat his share I’ll say.
For breakfast he can eat a ton
Or wagonload of -----.

It’s very pleasant, you’ll agree,
To watch the seals eat fish,
Though their voice aren’t as cultured
As a gentleman could -----.

The tiger’s spots and leopard’s stripes
Are odd, one must admit.
I love the Zoo, I really ----
Now aren’t YOU fond of -----?


Well, well, WELL! There are so many mistakes in this poem one scarcely knows where to begin. I wonder if you can find them all?

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 1, 2018

HOBGOBLINS

By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc

From the stage show The Woggle-Bug. Sheet music originally published in 1905.

Sung by Mombi and 16 Goblins. 


[Mombi]:
Shadows are falling,
Screech-owls are calling,
Hobgoblins and sprites appear.

[Chorus]:
Booh-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
[Spoken]: Booh!

[Mombi]: 
With pranks so bold
You shudder to behold
Them creeping up behind you,
Should they find you,
Then you'd better scoot, scoot, scoot.
And if they're jeering,
Then you'd best be fearing,
With devilments wicked they're chock full to boot.

So run away
From where the goblins play,
'Mid gloomy shade of night
To scamper they delight.
And dance with merry tune
Where shines the ghostly moon,
A howlin' and a scowlin',
You can't run away too soon.

When forests darken,
There if you harken, You will hear the goblins call.

[Chorus]:
Booh-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
[Spoken]: Booh!

[Mombi]:
Hand joined to hand
That grim and awful band
Dance 'round and 'round so madly,
That you'll gladly
Shake your heels and scoot, scoot, scoot.
With nerves ashiver
And your flesh aquiver,
This company doubtless the timid won't suit.

[Chorus]:
So run away
From where the goblins play,
'Mid gloomy shade of night
To scamper they delight.
And dance with merry tune
Where shines the ghostly moon,
A howlin' and a scowlin',
You can't run away too soon.


THE FORGETFUL POET
  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 13, 1921.


The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

In the first verse last week the dear fellow used west for east, off for on, out for in and left out day. In the second verse he used doggiewillow for pussywillow, puss-wood for dogwood, gnirps for spring, down for up and left out ’possum. In the last verse he left out red.

The March wind seems to have blown his words about today and they are just as nonsensical as ever. For instance take this:

What, ho! ’Tis spring! But then you -----
I really do not care to how,
Or rake, or dig or even plant,
Or rather shall I say I -----.

The clock ran up
I wound it down
Then broke two saucers
And a cup!


I think he has said the opposite from what he means here, don’t you think so? Well, to conclude he remarks:

I fell awake and dreamed a dream
Of summertime and peach -----


[Answers next time.]



Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 14, 2018

THE TALE OF A WEE WHITE PRINCESS

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Author of Pirates in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard in Oz, and The Wish Express, etc.

Illustrated by Charles J. Coll

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger.

[Punctuation corrected for clarity. Racial implications do not reflect the opinions of anyone connected with Hungry Tiger Press.]


The little white Princess mouse wept in her tower—
The King and the Queen had been scolding an hour—
For suitors had come dressed in satins and lace
But the little mouse Princess averted her face!




What though they had titles as long as their tails—
What though the Queen shakes her and all the Court rails,
She sees a wee cottage tucked under a hill
And by a clear brook a wee little Mouse Mill!




Where froggies and fairy folk come with their flour
And a little brown miller mouse looks toward her tower—
Where birds sing delightfully all the day through—
The little brook sings and the mill wheel sings too!




But a wee white mouse Princess may never step down
From her Princessy throne, dears—to wed with a brown!
She may not! I said, but Ho—sometimes she does—
And she did one fine day—why? Oh my—just because!




And when the King thumped on the wee cottage door
He found her as gay as she’d been sad—before.
“You’ve wed a brown mouse!” “No—Your Highness, he’s white.”
And the King looking close—saw the Princess was right.




The little mouse miller was white from the flour.
In a rage the Mouse King hobbled back to his tower!
But the gay little miller and Wee Princess—still
Are as happy as larks in the little mouse mill!


THE FORGETFUL POET
  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 6, 1921.


The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles


A good many people don’t say what they mean, but not very many say the exact opposite. The Forgetful Poet has developed [t]his habit lately, besides leaving out words, so that if you can guess what he means you will be brighter than we are down in this office. Unriddle his rhymes if you can, old dears.


The sun rose in the west,
And I rose in the usual way,
Put off my clothes, turned in my toes,
And wished my friends good —.

The doggie willow trees are out,
The puss-wood soon will blossom,
And Gnirps will waken down
The bears and Uncle Billy —.

Two hares caught in the brush,

I wept until my eyes were —,
You see, they were my own,
And should have stayed on top my head!


There are three opposite words in the first, three in the second and a sad mistake in spelling in the third verse and also one in the second verse.

The Forgetful Poet put short for tall, bad for good, day for night, light for dark and out for in—in his last poem.
 


[Answers next time.] 


Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

THE GIRL WHO OWNED A BEAR

By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc

Originally published in American Fairy Tales, 1901.


Mamma had gone down-town to shop. She had asked Nora to look after Jane Gladys, and Nora promised she would. But it was her afternoon for polishing the silver, so she stayed in the pantry and left Jane Gladys to amuse herself alone in the big sitting-room upstairs.

The little girl did not mind being alone, for she was working on her first piece of embroidery--a sofa pillow for papa’s birthday present. So she crept into the big bay window and curled herself up on the broad sill while she bent her brown head over her work.

Soon the door opened and closed again, quietly. Jane Gladys thought it was Nora, so she didn’t look up until she had taken a couple more stitches on a forget-me-not. Then she raised her eyes and was astonished to find a strange man in the middle of the room, who regarded her earnestly.

He was short and fat, and seemed to be breathing heavily from his climb up the stairs. He held a work silk hat in one hand and underneath his other elbow was tucked a good-sized book. He was dressed in a black suit that looked old and rather shabby, and his head was bald upon the top.

Excuse me, he said, while the child gazed at him in solemn surprise. Are you Jane Gladys Brown?”

Yes, sir,” she answered.

Very good; very good, indeed!” he remarked, with a queer sort of smile. I’ve had quite a hunt to find you, but I’ve succeeded at last.”

How did you get in?” inquired Jane Gladys, with a growing distrust of her visitor.

That is a secret,” he said, mysteriously.

This was enough to put the girl on her guard. She looked at the man and the man looked at her, and both looks were grave and somewhat anxious.

What do you want?” she asked, straightening herself up with a dignified air.

Ah!—now we are coming to business,” said the man, briskly. I’m going to be quite frank with you. To begin with, your father has abused me in a most ungentlemanly manner.”

Jane Gladys got off the window sill and pointed her small finger at the door.

Leave this room ’meejitly!" she cried, her voice trembling with indignation. My papa is the best man in the world. He never ’bused anybody!”

Allow me to explain, please,” said the visitor, without paying any attention to her request to go away. Your father may be very kind to you, for you are his little girl, you know. But when he’s down-town in his office he’s inclined to be rather severe, especially on book agents. Now, I called on him the other day and asked him to buy the ‘Complete Works of Peter Smith,’ and what do you suppose he did?”

She said nothing.

Why,” continued the man, with growing excitement, he ordered me from his office, and had me put out of the building by the janitor! What do you think of such treatment as that from the ‘best papa in the world,’ eh?”

I think he was quite right,” said Jane Gladys.

Oh, you do? Well,” said the man, I resolved to be revenged for the insult. So, as your father is big and strong and a dangerous man, I have decided to be revenged upon his little girl.”

Jane Gladys shivered.

What are you going to do?” she asked.

I’m going to present you with this book,” he answered, taking it from under his arm. Then he sat down on the edge of a chair, placed his hat on the rug and drew a fountain pen from his vest pocket.

I’ll write your name in it,” said he. How do you spell Gladys?”

G-l-a-d-y-s,” she replied.

Thank you. Now this,” he continued, rising and handing her the book with a bow, is my revenge for your father’s treatment of me. Perhaps he’ll be sorry he didn't buy the 'Complete Works of Peter Smith.’ Good-by, my dear.”

He walked to the door, gave her another bow, and left the room, and Jane Gladys could see that he was laughing to himself as if very much amused.

When the door had closed behind the queer little man the child sat down in the window again and glanced at the book. It had a red and yellow cover and the word Thingamajigs was across the front in big letters.

Then she opened it, curiously, and saw her name written in black letters upon the first white leaf.

He was a funny little man,” she said to herself, thoughtfully.

She turned the next leaf, and saw a big picture of a clown, dressed in green and red and yellow, and having a very white face with three-cornered spots of red on each cheek and over the eyes. While she looked at this the book trembled in her hands, the leaf crackled and creaked and suddenly the clown jumped out of it and stood upon the floor beside her, becoming instantly as big as any ordinary clown.

After stretching his arms and legs and yawning in a rather impolite manner, he gave a silly chuckle and said:

"This is better! You don’t know how cramped one gets, standing so long upon a page of flat paper.”

Perhaps you can imagine how startled Jane Gladys was, and how she stared at the clown who had just leaped out of the book.

You didn’t expect anything of this sort, did you?” he asked, leering at her in clown fashion. Then he turned around to take a look at the room and Jane Gladys laughed in spite of her astonishment.

What amuses you?” demanded the clown.

Why, the back of you is all white!” cried the girl. You’re only a clown in front of you.”

Quite likely,” he returned, in an annoyed tone. The artist made a front view of me. He wasn’t expected to make the back of me, for that was against the page of the book.”

But it makes you look so funny!” said Jane Gladys, laughing until her eyes were moist with tears.

The clown looked sulky and sat down upon a chair so she couldn’t see his back.

I’m not the only thing in the book,” he remarked, crossly.

This reminded her to turn another page, and she had scarcely noted that it contained the picture of a monkey when the animal sprang from the book with a great crumpling of paper and landed upon the window seat beside her.

He-he-he-he-he!” chattered the creature, springing to the girl’s shoulder and then to the center table. This is great fun! Now I can be a real monkey instead of a picture of one.”

Real monkeys can’t talk,” said Jane Gladys, reprovingly.

How do you know? Have you ever been one yourself?” inquired the animal; and then he laughed loudly, and the clown laughed, too, as if he enjoyed the remark.

The girl was quite bewildered by this time. She thoughtlessly turned another leaf, and before she had time to look twice a gray donkey leaped from the book and stumbled from the window seat to the floor with a great clatter.

You’re clumsy enough, I’m sure!” said the child, indignantly, for the beast had nearly upset her.

Clumsy! And why not?” demanded the donkey, with angry voice. If the fool artist had drawn you out of perspective, as he did me, I guess you’d be clumsy yourself.”

What’s wrong with you?” asked Jane Gladys.

My front and rear legs on the left side are nearly six inches too short, that’s what’s the matter! If that artist didn’t know how to draw properly why did he try to make a donkey at all?”

I don’t know,” replied the child, seeing an answer was expected.

I can hardly stand up,” grumbled the donkey; and the least little thing will topple me over.”

Don’t mind that,” said the monkey, making a spring at the chandelier and swinging from it by his tail until Jane Gladys feared he would knock all the globes off; the same artist has made my ears as big as that clown’s and everyone knows a monkey hasn’t any ears to speak of--much less to draw.”

He should be prosecuted,” remarked the clown, gloomily. I haven’t any back.”

Jane Gladys looked from one to the other with a puzzled expression upon her sweet face, and turned another page of the book.

Swift as a flash there sprang over her shoulder a tawney, spotted leopard, which landed upon the back of a big leather armchair and turned upon the others with a fierce movement.

The monkey climbed to the top of the chandelier and chattered with fright. The donkey tried to run and straightway tipped over on his left side. The clown grew paler than ever, but he sat still in his chair and gave a low whistle of surprise.

The leopard crouched upon the back of the chair, lashed his tail from side to side and glared at all of them, by turns, including Jane Gladys.

Which of us are you going to attack first?” asked the donkey, trying hard to get upon his feet again.

I cant attack any of you,” snarled the leopard. The artist made my mouth shut, so I havent any teeth; and he forgot to make my claws. But Im a frightful looking creature, nevertheless; am I not?”

Oh, yes;” said the clown, indifferently. I suppose youre frightful looking enough. But if you have no teeth nor claws we dont mind your looks at all.”

This so annoyed the leopard that he growled horribly, and the monkey laughed at him.

Just then the book slipped from the girls lap, and as she made a movement to catch it one of the pages near the back opened wide. She caught a glimpse of a fierce grizzly bear looking at her from the page, and quickly threw the book from her. It fell with a crash in the middle of the room, but beside it stood the great grizzly, who had wrenched himself from the page before the book closed.

Now,” cried the leopard from his perch, youd better look out for yourselves! You cant laugh at him as you did at me. The bear has both claws and teeth.”

Indeed I have,” said the bear, in a low, deep, growling voice. And I know how to use them, too. If you read in that book youll find I'm described as a horrible, cruel and remorseless grizzly, whose only business in life is to eat up little girls—shoes, dresses, ribbons and all! And then, the author says, I smack my lips and glory in my wickedness.”

Thats awful!” said the donkey, sitting upon his haunches and shaking his head sadly. What do you suppose possessed the author to make you so hungry for girls? Do you eat animals, also?”

The author does not mention my eating anything but little girls,” replied the bear.

Very good," remarked the clown, drawing a long breath of relief. you may begin eating Jane Gladys as soon as you wish. She laughed because I had no back.”

And she laughed because my legs are out of perspective,” brayed the donkey.

But you also deserve to be eaten,” screamed the leopard from the back of the leather chair; "for you laughed and poked fun at me because I had no claws nor teeth! Dont you suppose Mr. Grizzly, you could manage to eat a clown, a donkey and a monkey after you finish the girl?

"Perhaps so, and a leopard into the bargain,” growled the bear. It will depend on how hungry I am. But I must begin on the little girl first, because the author says I prefer girls to anything.”

Jane Gladys was much frightened on hearing this conversation, and she began to realize what the man meant when he said he gave her the book to be revenged. Surely papa would be sorry he hadnt bought the Complete Works of Peter Smith when he came home and found his little girl eaten up by a grizzly bear—shoes, dress, ribbons and all!

The bear stood up and balanced himself on his rear legs.

This is the way I look in the book,” he said. Now watch me eat the little girl.”

He advanced slowly toward Jane Gladys, and the monkey, the leopard, the donkey and the clown all stood around in a circle and watched the bear with much interest.


Illustration originally published in the St. Louis Republican, March 3, 1901.


But before the grizzly reached her the child had a sudden thought, and cried out:

Stop! You mustnt eat me. It would be wrong.”

Why?” asked the bear, in surprise.

Because I own you. Youre my private property,” she answered.

I dont see how you make that out,” said the bear, in a disappointed tone.

Why, the book was given to me; my names on the front leaf. And you belong, by rights, in the book. So you mustnt dare to eat your owner!”

The Grizzly hesitated.

Can any of you read?” he asked.

I can,” said the clown.

Then see if she speaks the truth. Is her name really in the book?”

The clown picked it up and looked at the name.

It is,” said he. ‘Jane Gladys Brown;’ and written quite plainly in big letters.”

The bear sighed.

Then, of course, I can’t eat her,” he decided. That author is as disappointing as most authors are.”

But he’s not as bad as the artist,” exclaimed the donkey, who was still trying to stand up straight.

The fault lies with yourselves,” said Jane Gladys, severely. Why didnt you stay in the book, where you were put?”

The animals looked at each other in a foolish way, and the clown blushed under his white paint.

Really—” began the bear, and then he stopped short.

The door bell rang loudly.

It’s mamma!” cried Jane Gladys, springing to her feet. She’s come home at last. Now, you stupid creatures—”

But she was interrupted by them all making a rush for the book. There was a swish and a whirr and a rustling of leaves, and an instant later the book lay upon the floor looking just like any other book, while Jane Gladys strange companions had all disappeared.


* * * * * * * *

This story should teach us to think quickly and clearly upon all occasions; for had Jane Gladys not remembered that she owned the bear he probably would have eaten her before the bell rang.


THE FORGETFUL POET
  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 27, 1921.


The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

Most of you seemed to know just what the Forgetful Poet meant to say, although he put down the exact opposite. The words that should have been changed were dry to get [sic, wet], hot to cold, ice chest to fireplace, black to white, and the word left out was mirror. This week he seems to have mixed himself up just as thoroughly.

An Exactly Opposite Poem

Oh, once there was a jolly giant,
Short as any steeple.
And he was bad as he could be
And never bothered people!

Each night he ventured after light
To walk abroad and peer
Out people’s houses to amuse
Himself, the cute old dear!


There are five wrong words in these two verses. Can you find them?

[Answers next time.] 


Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.