Author of The Road to Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc.
Originally published in the Chicago Times-Herald. Transcribed from the Norfolk Virginian, June 13, 1895.
"The coldest day I ever knew," said the stranger, "was when I traveled up the branch to Glinton last winter. I knew it was cold when I saw the fireman get on top the engine with a shovel to shovel away the smoke as fast as it froze. Soon after we started the conductor entered the car, knocked his head against the side of the door to break off his breath, and yelled 'Tickets!' before it froze again. But it was no use. The word only penetrated a few feet and stuck fast in the atmosphere, but, as we could all see clearly, we could not help noticing that word 'tickets' frozen up in the front end of the car, and we were ready when the smiling conductor passed along. He smiled because he couldn't help it. He wore that expression when he encountered the ozone, and it stuck to him. The poor fellow hit his hand against the seat in front of me and broke his little finger off as clean as if it had been an icicle. It rattled down on to the floor, but he picked it up calmly and put it in his vest pocket. He was used to that run."
A pair of purple breeches, dears,
Upon a line careening,
Caused all the trouble, for those steeds
Just failed to catch their meaning;
And though an accident is rare
In old Supposyville,
I tell you now; indeed, I vow,
’Twas with an awful thrill
The townfolk saw their highnesses
A-dashing down the street,
A-bouncing up and down upon
The royal carriage seat;
The footmen they were missing,
Strewn here and there behind;
As for the King and Queen, they’re in
A parlous state of mind!
The steeds plunged on, the sparks just flew—
So did the geese, and people, too.
“Alas! Alack! they’ll all be spilt,
Their highnesses will sure be kilt!”
The good dames wailed. Now down the steep
Embankment to the sea they sweep,
Those plunging steeds; with faces covered
Upon the hill Supposies hovered.
But came no splash, and came no cries;
With startled, unbelieving eyes
The townfolk look, and in midair
Beheld the horses plunge and rare;
But harmlessly; for, understand,
They’re safely in the giant’s hand.
Looking from his wall, he’d seen
The coach and steeds and King and Queen;
And leaning halfway over town
Had quick as lightning bent him down
And picked them up, just in the nick
Of time, and while the horses kick
Safely he set the Queen and King
Upon the ground; and in a ring
The good Supposies dance and cheer—
Now wasn’t that just fine, my dear!
The King was so delighted that
Right there upon the spot
He gave his second best gold crown;
’Twas generous, was it not?
The giant wears it for a ring;
And really more and more
He comes to love and watch the merry
Kingdom there, next door.