Tuesday, January 23, 2024

JACK PUMPKINHEAD AND THE SAWHORSE

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

Originally published 1913.

 

In a room of the Royal Palace of the Emerald City of Oz hangs a Magic Picture, in which are shown all the important scenes that transpire in those fairy dominions. The scenes shift constantly and by watching them, Ozma, the girl Ruler, is able to discover events taking place in any part of her kingdom.

One day she saw in her Magic Picture that a little girl and a little boy had wandered together into a great, gloomy forest at the far west of Oz and had become hopelessly lost. Their friends were seeking them in the wrong direction and unless Ozma came to their rescue the little ones would never be found in time to save them from starving.

So the Princess sent a message to Jack Pumpkinhead and asked him to come to the palace. This personage, one of the queerest of the queer inhabitants of Oz, was an old friend and companion of Ozma. His form was made of rough sticks fitted together and dressed in ordinary clothes. His head was a pumpkin with a face carved upon it, and was set on top a sharp stake which formed his neck.

Jack was active, good-natured and a general favorite; but his pumpkin head was likely to spoil with age, so in order to secure a good supply of heads he grew a big field of pumpkins and lived in the middle of it, his house being a huge pumpkin hollowed out. Whenever he needed a new head he picked a pumpkin, carved a face on it and stuck it upon the stake of his neck, throwing away the old head as of no further use.

The day Ozma sent for him Jack was in prime condition and was glad to be of service in rescuing the lost children. Ozma made him a map, showing just where the forest was and how to get to it and the paths he must take to reach the little ones. Then she said:

“You’d better ride the Sawhorse, for he is swift and intelligent and will help you accomplish your task.”

“All right,” answered Jack, and went to the royal stable to tell the Sawhorse to be ready for the trip.

This remarkable animal was not unlike Jack Pumpkinhead in form, although so different in shape. Its body was a log, with four sticks stuck into it for legs. A branch at one end of the log served as a tail, while in the other end was chopped a gash that formed a mouth. Above this were two small knots that did nicely for eyes. The Sawhorse was the favorite steed of Ozma and to prevent its wooden legs from wearing out she had them shod with plates of gold.

Jack said “Good morning” to the Sawhorse and placed upon the creature’s back a saddle of purple leather, studded with jewels.

“Where now?” asked the horse, blinking its knot eyes at Jack.

“We’re going to rescue two babes in the wood,” was the reply. Then he climbed into the saddle and the wooden animal pranced out of the stable, through the streets of the Emerald City and out upon the highway leading to the western forest where the children were lost.

Small though he was, the Sawhorse was swift and untiring. By nightfall they were in the far west and quite close to the forest they sought. They passed the night standing quietly by the roadside. They needed no food, for their wooden bodies never became hungry; nor did they sleep, because they never tired. At daybreak they continued their journey and soon reached the forest.

Jack now examined the map Ozma had given him and found the right path to take, which the Sawhorse obediently followed. Underneath the trees all was silent and gloomy and Jack beguiled the way by whistling gayly as the Sawhorse trotted along.

The paths branched so many times and in so many different ways that the Pumpkinhead was often obliged to consult Ozma’s map, and finally the Sawhorse became suspicious.

“Are you sure you are right?” it asked.

“Of course,” answered Jack. “Even a Pumpkinhead whose brains are seeds can follow so clear a map as this. Every path is plainly marked, and here is a cross where the children are.”

Finally they reached a place, in the very heart of the forest, where they came upon the lost boy and girl. But they found the two children bound fast to the trunk of a big tree, at the foot of which they were sitting.

When the rescuers arrived, the little girl was sobbing bitterly and the boy was trying to comfort her, though he was probably frightened as much as she.

“Cheer up, my dears,” said Jack, getting out of the saddle. “I have come to take you back to your parents. But why are you bound to that tree?”

“Because,” cried a small, sharp voice, “they are thieves and robbers. That’s why!”

“Dear me!” said Jack, looking around to see who had spoken. The voice seemed to come from above.

A big grey squirrel was sitting upon a low branch of the tree. Upon the squirrel’s head was a circle of gold, with a diamond set in the center of it. He was running up and down the limbs and chattering excitedly.

“These children,” continued the squirrel, angrily, “robbed our storehouse of all the nuts we had saved up for winter. Therefore, being King of all the Squirrels in this forest, I ordered them arrested and put in prison, as you now see them. They had no right to steal our provisions and we are going to punish them.”

“We were hungry,” said the boy, pleadingly, “and we found a hollow tree full of nuts, and ate them to keep alive. We didn’t want to starve when there was food right in front of us.”

“Quite right,” remarked Jack, nodding his pumpkin head. “I don’t blame you one bit, under the circumstances. Not a bit.”

Then he began to untie the ropes that bound the children to the tree.

“Stop that!” cried the King Squirrel, chattering and whisking about. “You mustn’t release our prisoners. You have no right to.”

But Jack paid no attention to the protest. His wooden fingers were awkward and it took him some time to untie the ropes. When at last he succeeded, the tree was full of squirrels, called together by their King, and they were furious at losing their prisoners. From the tree they began to hurl nuts at the Pumpkinhead, who laughed at them as he helped the two children to their feet.

Now, at the top of this tree was a big dead limb, and so many squirrels gathered upon it that suddenly it broke away and fell to the ground. Poor Jack was standing directly under it and when the limb struck him it smashed his pumpkin head into a pulpy mass and sent Jack’s wooden form tumbling, to stop with a bump against a tree a dozen feet away.

He sat up, a moment afterward, but when he felt for his head it was gone. He could not see; neither could he speak. It was perhaps the greatest misfortune that could have happened to Jack Pumpkinhead, and the squirrels were delighted. They danced around in the tree in great glee as they saw Jack’s plight.

The boy and girl were indeed free, but their protector was ruined. The Sawhorse was there, however, and in his way he was wise. He had seen the accident and knew that the smashed pumpkin would never again serve Jack as a head. So he said to the children, who were frightened at this accident to their new found friend:

“Pick up the Pumpkinhead’s body and set it on my saddle. Then mount behind it and hold on. We must get out of this forest as soon as we can, or the squirrels may capture you again. I must guess at the right path, for Jack’s map is no longer of any use to him since that limb destroyed his head.”

The two children lifted Jack’s body, which was not at all heavy, and placed it upon the saddle. Then they climbed up behind it and the Sawhorse immediately turned and trotted back along the path he had come, bearing all three with ease. However, when the path began to branch into many paths, all following different directions, the wooden animal became puzzled and soon was wandering aimlessly about, without any hope of finding the right way. Toward evening they came upon a fine fruit tree, which furnished the children a supper, and at night the little ones lay upon a bed of leaves while the Sawhorse stood watch, with the limp, headless form of poor Jack Pumpkinhead lying helpless across the saddle.

Now, Ozma had seen in her Magic Picture all that had happened in the forest, so she sent the little Wizard, mounted upon the Cowardly Lion, to save the unfortunates. The Lion knew the forest well and when he reached it he bounded straight through the tangled paths to where the Sawhorse was wandering, with Jack and the two children on his back.

The Wizard was grieved at the sight of the headless Jack, but believed he could save him. He first led the Sawhorse out of the forest and restored the boy and girl to the arms of their anxious friends, and then he sent the Lion back to Ozma to tell her what had happened.

The Wizard now mounted the Sawhorse and supported Jack’s form on the long ride to the pumpkin field. When they arrived at Jack’s house the Wizard selected a fine pumpkin–not too ripe–and very neatly carved a face on it. Then he stuck the pumpkin solidly on Jack’s neck and asked him:

“Well, old friend, how do you feel?”

“Fine!” replied Jack, and shook the hand of the little Wizard gratefully. “You have really saved my life, for without your assistance I could not have found my way home to get a new head. But I’m all right, now, and I shall be very careful not to get this beautiful head smashed.” And he shook the Wizard’s hand again.

“Are the brains in the new head any better than the old ones?” inquired the Sawhorse, who had watched Jack’s restoration.

“Why, these seeds are quite tender,” replied the Wizard, “so they will give our friend tender thoughts. But, to speak truly, my dear Sawhorse, Jack Pumpkinhead, with all his good qualities, will never be noted for his wisdom.”


Originally published in the Oakland Tribune, June 16, 1918
 
A Hair-Raising Happening in Supposyville

Now, in Supposyville, as here,
There’s one thing they can’t master—
A bald head! And they spread and spread
And multiply much faster
Than these good folk care to admit.
The King himself’s appalled
At the horrid thought with misery fraught
Of quite becoming bald!

“It won’t be quite becoming, either,”
He assured his Queen,
As thoughtfully he rubbed his still
Well-covered royal bean!
“Why not prevent it ere it happens?
Offer a reward
To him who raises hair, and do
It now!” the Queen implored.

Forthwith ’twas done. A proclamation
Freely made it known
That whoso found a way of raising
Hair by skill alone
Should be rewarded with a bag
Of yellow gold. Heighho!
Now all the people in the land
Are trying hairs to grow.

Particularly the barber shops—
A month they worked away,
And what a crowd of them convened
Upon hair-raising day!
The King sat in the court yard and
Each one advanced in turn
And tried to prove his fitness that
Fair bag of gold to earn!

There were ointments by the hundred
And tonics not a few,
But, after all, no man had proved
He’d grown a hair or two.
Disconsolate, the King admitted
That no proofs were there;
Though he’d used his strongest glasses,
He’d discovered not a hair.

Sir Solomon Tremendous Wise,
Who’d stood behind the King
A-chuckling fit to kill himself,
Now stepped into the ring.
Then with a horrid shriek he sprang
Into the air and froze
Their very marrow. Every hair, sirs,
In the company rose!

Before they’d quite recovered he
Advanced and claimed the prize.
“I saw your hair raise straight on end
Before my very eyes!”
He stated solemnly. Aho!
Then how the good King laughed.
“You rogue!” he roared. “You scared me so
I thought you’d gone clean daft!”

“I’ve proved my skill,” quoth Solomon;
“And if you are in doubt—”
He reached into his blouse and drew
Two long-eared bunnies out.
“These hares have grown by skill alone!”
The merriment waxed higher.
“Is there any further proof,” asked he,
“Your Highness may require?”

“What profiteth hair on the head?
’Tis what’s beneath that matters.
Pray, leave such worries to the fate
Of donderheads and hatters!”
His Highness took the seer’s advice
And mid the general fun
Decided it another thing
That simply can’t be done!

Copyright © 2024 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 1, 2023

OLIVER ELEPHANT

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Captain Salt of Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink," "King, King! Double King!" etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 16, 1918.


Oliver Elephant is a very nice elephant boy who lives in the jungle with his father and mother and Uncle Abner Elephant, and wears big, loose gray rompers which he may some time grow into.

On this particular day I happen to mention all the family were sitting in the front yard of their jungle home trying to keep cool, and, as it was about as hot as four Fourths of July rolled into one, they didn’t make much trunkway—pshaw! I mean headway, but when you’re talking of elephants, trunks do seem so appropriate.

Mother Elephant swished her palm leaf fan and father and Uncle Abner Elephant fussed and grunted and rubbed against trees and told Oliver Elephant for mercy sake to keep quiet and not ask questions.

So Oliver, who was just as warm as they were, decided to go for a swim, where he could ask the river people as many questions as he pleased.

He went himpety-humping through the thick brush wishing he would meet his cousin, Tommy Tapir, but no Tommy showed up and, as he lived a long way off, Oliver Elephant preferred swimming alone to fetching him.

A little rustle behind him made him prick up his ears, and there, tiptoeing after him, was a little gentle-eyed deer.

Now, Uncle Abner had taught Oliver to be polite to all creatures smaller than himself and to take no sass from creatures bigger than himself. This was a very good rule and, as the little ones were a lot more numerous than the bigger ones, Oliver was always finding reasons to be polite.

Besides, the deer, Oliver felt, belonged in his family—eating as they did only roots and grasses and not, like the lions and tigers, dining upon their weaker brothers.

“Howdy!” rumbled Oliver. “Where’s your mammy?” The little creature trotted along beside him and explained that its mammy was sick; so “I am going alone for a drink!”

“All right!” chuckled Oliver, “let’s go alone together!” So they did, and the deer told Oliver what a big strong fellow he was and how happy he must be not to have to run away from anything.

“A chap as big as you would never get scared!” And Oliver puffed out his chest and said, “Indeed, not!” and just dared anything to scare him.

And by and by they came to the river. “You take your drink first!” suggested Oliver politely, “’cause when I get in it will be all muddy!”

The little deer trotted obediently down to the water’s edge and Oliver hooked his trunk up in the branch of a tree and stood waiting.

Then all at once he began to shake all over—and no wonder—the branch wasn’t hard as it should have been at all. It was soft—it was alive!

Oliver Elephant could hardly keep from screaming, but before he could budge a hissing came thru the trees.

“Move and I’ll twine around your neck and choke the breath out of you; keep still, it’s the deer I’m after!”

Just then the deer came bounding toward Oliver.

“Now I shall watch you swim!” it cried gayly. “Now—”

Down swung an arch of glistening copper, and around the small creature coiled the terrible folds. It was a python, almost twenty-five feet long.

Piteously the deer looked at Oliver and Oliver, trembling in every limb, looked back.

“Why hadn’t he trumpeted—why?”

“Because you were afraid!” Accusingly his conscience answered for him and in the same instant he stopped trembling. That little fellow had said he never was scared; all right, he wasn’t scared—and just to reassure himself he raised his trunk and trumpeted till the ground trembled.

The gaze of the python, fixed on the helpless deer, wavered; the little animal with its whole heart  in its eyes, struggled feebly in the ever-tightening coils.

Oliver plunged forward. The great snake flattened its head and unconsciously relaxed its hold on its victim. Without giving himself time to get more scared Oliver Elephant kept on coming, making as much noise as he could (and an elephant can make a tremendous noise).

When he got right close to the snake Oliver turned out and went behind it. The python hissing with fury turned its head to see what he was about and when it saw him bearing down—this time with the unmistakable purpose of tramping on him, he let go of the deer and slid with almost uncanny speed up and around the massive tree trunk. The tip of his tail was too slow, however, and down came Oliver’s big foot upon it—ugh!

“And that will be about all from you!” rumbled Oliver Elephant. And it was. The snake drew the rest of its tail up with a jerk and Oliver and the trembling little deer went on back through the jungle. “Don’t ever go for a drink by yourself again!” warned the big little elephant. And it never did.

“Did you have a good time?” asked Uncle Abner Elephant, as Oliver came puffing in.

“Pshaw. Now—I forgot all about it!” spluttered Oliver Elephant. “You see--,” and here he told them what had happened, just as I have told you. And the three big elephants were so proud that they almost burst the buttons off their clothes, but they didn’t say so, my, no!


Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 9, 1918

Turn-About Schools in Supposyville

The schools are shut all through the land
’Cept in Supposyville.
You’ll doubtless be surprised to learn
That theirs are open still.

But, then, surprises are the rule
That proves the whole exception.
(That sounds a little twisted, but
I think ’twill bear inspection.)

However, as I just remarked,
Surprises are surprises,
And in Supposyville they come
In many shapes and sizes.

The schools are open, I repeat,
Ho, ho! And every day
Some boys or girls come back to teach
The teachers how to play!

All benches, desks and boards are gone,
The games have honor places,
And now the art of spinning tops,
Of marbles, jacks and races

Are taught in all their branches—
Skipping rope and fast bean bag,
Hockey, dolls, old maids, jackstraws,
Hopscotch and hearts and tag.

Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

BILLY BOUNCE IN SEARCH OF THE NORTH POLE

By W. W. Denslow
Illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Father Goose: His Book, Dot and Tot of Merryland, etc.

Originally published November 17, 1901.



 

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 2, 1918
 
Children's Day in Supposyville

Among the other charming days,
Delightful and delectable,
To find a Children’s Day is quite
Supposish and expectable.

And things are just reversed, my dears,
And parents take the places
Of little boys and girls and have
To wash their hands and faces.

And in Supposyville that day
No one says “No” or “Sha’n’t”
To any little boy or girl;
Nor “Stop!” nor “don’t!” nor “Can’t!”

The grown folks run the errands and
The grown folks do the chores,
And fetch the cows and make the bows
And answer bells and doors.

The children start the day by lying
Late in bed, and then,
Without a thought of soap or water,
Dress at nine or ten.

And minus shoes and stockings hie
Them forth to hill and wood,
With no one to correct them, nor
To tell them to be good.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be quite safe
In any place but this,
But in Supposyville things never,
Never go amiss!

And so on Children’s Day the boys
And girls roam up and down—
Even the good King abdicates
And lets them have his crown

And sit upon his big, high throne;
And in the castle court
Are swings and rings and other things
Of fascinating sort.

Merry-go-rounds and ponies
To be ridden, and toy boats
That can be guided with long poles
Around the castle moats.

The children eat just any time
And stay up late as ten,
Or half-past, or eleven, and
No one says bed; so then

They fall asleep where’er they be,
And then the grown-ups come
And gather in the weary crop
Of little chicks. Ho—hum!

And though they won’t admit it, and
It may seem strange to you,
They think they’re going to like this day
Much better than they do!

Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

A PEACH STORY

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Handy Mandy in Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink," "King, King! Double King!" etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 30, 1914.


This is the story of a pear who fell in love with a peach! It all happened because the pear and peach tree mothers WOULD chat over the garden wall! While they were discussing the weather, the east wind and things like that, their two finest children were bobbing and ducking at one another in a shocking fashion.

The pear thought he had never seen so fair a lady as the radiant peach (indeed, she was the very finest peach on the tree). What the peach thought of the pear I cannot tell you, but, at any rate, she danced in her most heart-breaking fashion. The poor pear almost wrenched himself from his branch, so as not to lose sight of her for even a second.

That NIGHT, when all the other peaches and pears had retired under their leaves and gone to sleep, the finest pear was still awake. So was the finest peach. They said a good bit to each other in their peach and pear way, and at last the pear asked the peach to run off with him. She said that she would. “We’ll travel all over the garden,” said he, “and you will never need to be eaten up at ALL. I tell you, we will be a handsome pair! But now, when I count three, make ready to jump, and I will jump, also!” (I think he called her Sweetheart, but I am not sure.)

“One!” began the pear, swinging gently, “Two! Now, then, are you ready?” he called at last, and DOWN he went crashing through the leaves to the ground.

But what of the peach? My dears—she never jumped at all, but danced more gaily than ever up in the tree. “Ho! Ho! Mr. Pear,” she called wickedly, “I hope you are not very much smashed!” The pear answered never a word, for he was smashed to bits indeed. And the sad reason of it all was this—the peach under all of her rosy blushes had a heart of STONE—and the pear—the pear had a soft spot in his side.


Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 26, 1918

Spring Housecleaning in Supposyville

The tang of suds is in the air,
Of paint and tar and putty,
And woe betide all dust and rust
And everything that’s smutty!

Supposyville’s so thorough that
When once it starts a-cleaning
It sends the winter’s dinginess
Like autumn leaves careening.

The good dames mobilize and, armed
With brushes, soap and pails,
Are followed by the men folks
Weighted down with paint and nails.

The army of invasion takes
The kingdom quite by storm.
From end to end, from house to house
The good Supposies swarm.

And not a spot is left unscrubbed,
Unburnished, unrepaired;
Not even roofs or hidden grooves
Or puppy dogs are spared.

The Queen, with sleeves rolled up, is in
The window-washing group;
Sir Solomon Tremendous Wise
He bosses the whole troop.

The King, who simply loves to paint,
Now wields a brush with vim;
His crown awry, himself perched high
On swinging board so slim.

I tremble for the folks below—
Ah, well! The rope is strong,
And in Supposyville they never
Nurse their bruises long.

And would you just believe it, dears
And ducks, all through this season
They carry umbrellas, and,
I say, ’tis done with reason.

For water gushes from the roofs
And charges out each door;
From every shingle, ledge and wedge
Cascades of soapsuds pour.

But, oh! they have the finest lark.
I wonder, honeys, whether
We’ll ever learn to work that way,
All happily together.

Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

BILLY BOUNCE, THE HOT-FOOT MESSENGER BOY OF OUR TOWN - PART 1

By W. W. Denslow
Illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Father Goose: His Book, Dot and Tot of Merryland, etc.

Originally published November 10, 1901.


 

 

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 19, 1918
 
Sir Solomon Tremendous Wise Answers All the Whys

Sir Solomon Tremendous Wise
Gets such a lot of mail,
He sends his footman for it with
Two knapsacks and a pail.

For all Supposies think he knows
Just every why and wherefore,
Each rhyme and reason and because
And every single therefore.

And patiently Sir Solomon,
With specs upon his nose,
Goes through the lot to see what new
Inquiries ’twill disclose.

His quill pen splutters valiantly
Their questions to unravel,
Upon my word, sweethearts, my loves,
That old quill pen can travel.

They say he uses pails of ink
(His writing is so large)
And miles of paper, which the King
Supplies him free of charge.

Each morning in his study there
He writes and writes and writes,
And then to finish up the rest
Sometimes he works at nights.

It’s pretty good of him, I think;
And when the children there
Ask questions vexing and perplexing,
Parents don’t despair!

They just refer the matter to
Old Solomon, and never
Has he been stumped or failed to give
A jolly answer ever.

“Now, why do bills and hills run up?
And why do clocks run down?
Why is the sky so often blue
Instead of merely brown?

“Why am I bald? And how can shoes
Be kept from wearing out?
And could you send a remedy
For me? I’m much too stout!

“How is it that the trees put forth
Their blossoms ’fore the fruit?”
And Solomon he finds them all
A reason just to suit.

“You’re bald, dear sir, because your head
Is such a splendid one—
’Twould never do to hide from view!”
“For stoutness roll and run!”

Do thus and so and so and thus,
Sir Solomon advises.
It is a mystery to me
Why Solomon so wise is!
 
Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

THE KINGFISHER'S STORY

By Ruth Plumly Thompson

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 4, 1916.


“Mother,” said little Jack Rabbit wiggling his nose very fast, “where did Brother Kingfisher get his beautiful coat?”

“That’s an old, old story,” observed Mother Rabbit, glancing over to where Johnny Kingfisher was lunching. It surely was a comical way to lunch. There he sat, his chair a rock and the whole river his table, and he kept looking and looking down at the river; then suddenly, IN would go his long beak and next minute a fish would be tossed into the air and swallowed head foremost. Ugh! No salt or pepper even! I hope he never invites me to lunch—that is all I hope! Well, well, here we are getting away from Jack Rabbit’s question, and Mother Rabbit will have finished the story if we don’t watch out. What is she saying?

“—let him out of the ark.” Goody two shoes—we HAVE missed a lot already, but luckily I know the story, too, and it goes in this way: Long, long ago, when Noah let the animals and birds out of the ark, the kingfisher was a dull gray. But as soon as he was set free he flew straight toward the setting sun, and his back took on the hue of the sky and his under side the colors of the setting sun—chestnut red—and from that day on all kingfishers’ feathers have had all the wonderful hues of the sky and of the sunset.

“Humph!” said little Jack Rabbit when his mother had finished the story. “Where did YOU go, mother?”

“How old do you think I am?” snorted Mrs. Rabbit indignantly.

“Children should be seen and not heard!” she added hastily—but I know where the little Jack Rabbit went when it was set free from the ark. It burrowed into the dusty brown earth as fast as it could go, and since then all jack rabbits have been a brownish yellow. Really!

 

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 12, 1918

 Another Experiment of Solomon Tremendous Wise


Sir Solomon Tremendous Wise
Sat drowsing ’neath the trees,
Lulled to indifference by the spring’s
Mild, sleep-compelling breeze!
“Ah, ho!” he yawned; “Ha, ho, ha, hum!”
Spring days would be more sprightly
If not so full of sandman’s dust,
For sleep by day’s unsightly!”
He shook himself determinedly,
Resolved to keep awake.
“If I could just invent a way
Spring’s drowsy spell to break,”
He murmured. Then all suddenly
An idea came a-flashing
Across the ramparts of his brain,
Next minute he was dashing
Off to his tower; there he made
A queer balloonish silken bag
A-fastened to a huge kite frame.
With lengthy knotted tail to wag.
He sailed his kite balloon up high,
Then low, then up and down,
In all the meadows, woods and lanes
And lastly, in the town.
And wonderful to say, my ducks,
The more he sailed it there,
The less and less folks yawned and gaped—
They stepped with lively air.
The horses plowing in the fields
Began to prance and canter;
The good Supposies dozing on
The benches waked instanter.
For Solomon Tremendous Wise
Had captured in his bag, dears,
The grains of sleepiness that make
One want to yawn and sag, dears.
Enchanted with his great success,
Old Solomon went hying
Off to the castle to inform
His Majesty, a-flying
The big silk bag behind him. And
The King was so delighted
He gave Sir Solomon a hug
(He was already knighted).
But, oh, alas! While they in talk
Engaged, a little bird, dears,
Pecked at the bag. It burst with an
Explosion that was heard, dears,
For miles and miles. That’s not the worst.
The grains of sleep went flying,
And in a trice Supposies fell
And slept where they were lying
In courtyard and in lane and field
And house, and like the roaring
Of twenty dozen engines you
Could hear that Kingdom snoring.
And so much concentrated sleep
Was in that old balloon, dears,
They never wakened till that day
Two weeks—at half-past noon, dears.
Sir Solomon he shook his head,
And climbing on his horse
Allowed that after this he’d just
Let nature take her course.

Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 31, 2023

I GOT A GROUCH—THAT'S ALL

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 musical The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, 1913, cut before production.

Presented here to celebrate the July 2023 publication of All Wound Up: The Making of The Tik-Tok Man of Oz by Eric Shanower.


GROUCH SONG

Some ginks don’t have no luck at all-
            They back-fire ev’ry time.
        That’s me. If I fall off a wall
            Folks think it is a crime.
If I wear stockings, all the stocks go sliding below par;
If I should own an auto it would bump a trolley-car;
If I got anybody’s goat ’twould get-me--butt behind!--
            That’s me. But never mind.
                                    I got a grouch.

    Ah, bah, this life’s a stupid game;
And when I get to Hades I will find the devil tame.
I ain’t abit unsociable--ner haughty--means ner small--
    I ain’t no slouch. I got a grouch.
                                    That’s all.

        One time I loved a widow; she
            Was pretty as could be;
        She told me she had lots of dough
            And she would marry me.
She said at twenty she’d be my bride. I had an awful shock
For when I reached the church at ten my face had stopped the clock.
The wedding hour it never came, and yet I never whined.
            That’s me. But never mind.
                                    I got a grouch.

    Ah, bah! the widow never came;
It didn’t break my heart, but I was grouchy just the same;
It soured my disposition, but I didn’t weep nor squall.
            I ain’t no slouch. I got a grouch.
                                    That’s all.

        One time one of my rich uncs
            Was kind enough to die;
        He left me half a million plunks
            A pretty good supply.
But some one didn’t like the will and threw it into court;
The lawyers argued seven years and had a lot of sport
It cost me all my fortune, for the law is so unkind--
            That’s me. But never mind.
                                    I got a grouch.

    Ah, bah! who cares a cuss for wealth!
A lot of jingles in your pants don’t help a fellow’s health.
You don’t catch me bewailin’ ’cause my bank account is small--
            I ain’t no slouch. I got a grouch.
                                    That’s all.


Originally published in the Oakland Tribune, May 5, 1918
 
The Supposyville Post
 
I don't like to boast,
But, my ducks, 'tis the most
Enchanting—. What is? Why,
The S'posyville Post!

It comes out with the sun
And it's printed in pink
And chock full of chuckles
In bright colored ink.

There are pictures and patterns
And comic revues;
In fact, there is everything
'Ceptin' bad news!

And bad news is so skeerce
In that Kingdom of Smiles
You'd have to go scouting
For hundreds of miles

To run down an item;
And why waste the time
When there's plenty of good news
That's newsy and prime?

The Post's jolly editor,
I. Makem Laugh,
Is assisted and helped
By a talented staff.

And all over the kingdom
They gallop to find
Who is who and what's new
Or to newness inclined.

You don't have to be
A High This or High That,
Just so you've some brain cells
Tucked under your hat.

You will find a safe place
In the S'posyville Post
If you make a good pudding
Or cook a good roast,

Or help out your neighbors
Or make a high mark
In your school work, or feed
A stray dog in the park.

The staff finds it out, dears,
And one never knows
Just what the Supposyville
Post will disclose.

As for nonsense and rhymes, dears,
Quaint jokes, quips and fun,
There isn't a journal
Can rank with this one.

No wonder Supposies
Begin each new day
Brimful of good cheer.
Gee! wish I felt that way!

Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.