Friday, February 1, 2019


Verse and illustration by John R. Neill
Author of The Runaway in Oz, The Wonder City of Oz, Lucky Bucky in Oz, etc. 

Originally published in The Sunday Magazine, December 25, 1904

Click on image to enlarge.

“To be a society beau
Good manners you clearly must kneau,”
Said the maitre de danse
With a flourish from France
As he gracefully stood on his teau.

The children advanced in a reau
And gracefully courtesied leau,
And when they succeeded
In doing as he did
They cried in their rapture: “Heau-Heau!”

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 18, 1917.

The Invasion of Supposyville

What happened in that Kingdom
Of Supposyville last week
Is really so remarkable
I hesitate to speak
About it. Still I might as well
Tell you, sweethearts, I s’pose,
’Cause every single person
In the Maybe Kingdom knows!
’Twas the time when all Supposyville
Turns out to promenade,
Just 3 o’clock, but scare had the
Procession gone a rod
Before the tramp of heavy feet,
The sound of beating drums,
The tooting of a hundred horns
To all the company comes!
The gates are opened in a trice
And all Supposyville
Turns out to see AN ARMY HUGE
A-charging down the hill.
The Queen dispatched her cooks with haste—
“A FEAST and lemonade,
How nice of them to call on us
And what a fine parade!”
The lads and lassies clap their hands
And all stand in a row
And wave their ’kerchiefs and the
Children fairy kisses blow.
The trumpeter toots on his horn,
The Queen’s pet tickle bird
Flies off to meet the army.
’Fore a man could say a word
He’d flown beneath each chin and flicked
His tickle feathers lightly;
Each soldier man tried not to grin
But roared at last outrightly.
Before the Captain’s face is straight
Enough to thunder, “CHARGE!”
The cooks approach, the first one armed
With an apple pie SO large,
So juicy and delectable
The army is distraught,
Broke ranks, advanced. Not for the Kingdom,
For the PIE they fought!
“Why, there is plenty, plenty more,
You famished men, ne’er fear;
We’ve lemonade and apple pie
For every soldier here,”
The Queen assured them, while the Captain
Tried to frown a frown,
And say, “Go to, we’ve conquered you!”
Instead, he just sat down
On a chair a page brought. Never, dears,
Were soldier men so treated;
At 6 o’clock they marched away
Delighted, and defeated.
“How can one fight an enemy
Who fills you up with PIE?”
The Captain chuckled to his men,
“No use at all to try!”
And on the records that he keeps
He wrote this sentence down:
“We cannot capture them, because
We’re captured by the town!”

Copyright © 2019 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, September 20, 1914.

One day Oliver Elephant and his cousin, Tommy Tapir, were walking through the deep forest together. They were going after cocoanuts. Tommy was such a happy little chap that he could not help singing the song that his mother sang to him in the morning. This is it:

“Oh, Tommy, Tommy Tapir,
If you’re good as you can be,
You can have some bread and ’lasses
And some ginger snaps for tea.”

Oliver Elephant didn’t have much of a voice, but he rumbled tumpty, tum tum under his breath. He swung his trunk to and fro and felt that the world was a very nice place for little elephants. So you see, they both were happy.

Pretty soon they came to the tall cocoanut trees. “Oooh,” sighed Oliver Elephant, shutting one eye. “Ummmm,” chuckled Tommy Tapir, licking his chops. Then Oliver and Tommy both began picking up the cocoanuts that were lying on the ground. Tommy pushed his into a pile with his nose and Oliver picked his up in his trunk. After they each had about twenty, I guess, they sat down to rest. “Betcha I can eat mine faster than you,” aid Oliver Elephant. “Betcha can’t,” said Tommy Tapir. “All right now,” said Oliver, “when I count three we’ll start.”

“One—two—three,” sang out Oliver Elephant. Whackety—bang!! Down came a cocoanut on Oliver Elephant’s head, and at the same minute another bounced on Tommy Tapir’s nose. “Ooooooh,” screamed Oliver Elephant. “Ouch,” screamed Tommy, jumping up and kicking over all his cocoanuts. You see it was mighty surprisesome getting cocoanuts on the outside when you’re expecting them on the in.

“Huh—who did that,” screamed Oliver Elephant. “Huh—who—” began Tommy Tapir. But just then down came a whole shower of cocoanuts. Bang!! Bump!! Bump!! They hit Oliver Elephant on the head and on the trunk and on the foot—and—oh—they just hit him EVERYWHERE. They hit Tommy Tapir, too. “Run away, run away, come again some other day,” sang two voices and two bad little monkeys stuck their heads out of the leaves and made faces at Oliver and Tommy. “Come down here, and I’ll shake you to pieces,” roared Oliver Elephant. “If I ever get hold of your tail—” said Tommy Tapir. “Ha, Ha,” laughed the monkeys, and shook the trees till cocoanuts came down like a hailstorm on poor Oliver and Tommy.

Now I don’t want you to think that Oliver and Tommy weren’t brave. They were. I don’t believe even you could have stood all those cocoanuts bumping on top of you without running. “I’ll get even—I’ll get even—I’ll get even” sobbed Oliver Elephant over and over as he ran off home. I don’t know what Tommy Tapir said.

“What’s the matter?” asked his big kind mother as he came plunging in the door. Then he told her about the bad little monkeys. “But I’ll get even—I’ll get even,” he kept sobbing. His big kind mother didn’t say much, but she tied his poor bumped head up in a big palm leaf. Then she went and got her hat. “Where are you going?” asked Oliver, looking out from under the palm leaf. “To help you get even,” said his mother. Then she whispered a few words in Oliver’s big ear and went along down the road.

Pretty soon the bad little monkeys saw her coming and they hid behind their mammy, ’cause they surely thought they were going to get—well, what little folks usually get when they are very bad indeed. Oliver Elephant’s mother just knocked very gently on the tree and said, “I just came over to see whether you and the boys wouldn’t take supper with us.” And their mammy, who didn’t know how naughty they had been, said, “Why, we’d love to.” Then Oliver Elephant’s mother went home and she and Oliver had a big laugh together.

Soon the bad little monkeys and their mammy came knocking at the door, and when their mammy saw Oliver Elephant with his head all tied up, she threw up her hands. “Oh, what is the matter with big little Oliver Elephant?” Then the two little monkeys began to shiver and shake and hang their heads, but Oliver Elephant’s mother just shook her head. “Oliver Elephant has had a very sad accident,” and that’s all she did say. Then Oliver Elephant got out all his best toys for the monkeys to play with (they didn’t feel much like playing), and after a while Tommy Tapir came over. His head was tied up, too. “Oh, what’s the matter with Tommy Tapir?” cried the bad little monkeys’ mammy again. “He’s had a very sad accident,” said Oliver Elephant’s mother, and that’s all she did say. Then she showed the boys how to play the games she used to play when she was a little elephant, and they all played “tails up and tails down” till tea time.

For tea they had the most delightful things. I can’t remember just what, and every time the two little bad monkeys looked at Oliver’s and Tommy’s bandaged heads they felt SO ashamed that they never threw cocoanuts at anybody again. So you see that Mother Elephant’s way of getting even was best.

(Oliver Elephant has just told me that the two little monkeys said they were sorry. I am very glad of this.)

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 11, 1917.

More About Supposyville

Now in Supposyville there lived,
Besides the king and queen,
Enough Supposyvillers to
Count up to umpty steen!
And all of them were happy.
Well, no wonder, in a town
Where posies sprang up everywhere
And none knew how to frown;
Where every maid and lad could dance
And every one could sing,
And every week the whole sweet town
Went calling on the king.
The queen would order cakes and tea,
And what a time they had;
No wonder that they all, I say,
Were good and never bad!
But one night as they frolicked
At the Court Supposy ball,
A rumbling sounded out of doors
That fairly shook the hall!
The king took off his crown and stood
Upon his tippy toes
To look out of the casement.
“Mercy! What do you suppose?”
Each murmured to the other.
OPEN burst the door and then
In strode a pirate and his crew.
“My, what delightful men!”
The king exclaimed, and hurried up
Before a dirk was drawn,
And clapped the chief upon the back,
Was e’er such goings on?
The chieftain muttered to his mates;
Ere they knew how or why
There they were, dancing with the rest,
If anything, more spry.
The queen pressed on the scalawags
The choice of all her roses,
For in this quaint, queer country
Every one, you know, supposes
Each person to be just as nice
As he or she is—WHEW * *
Those pirates were embarrassed so
They scarce knew what to do;
They stood it for an hour,
Then they left without a spoon.
“With such goings on I’m blessed if I
Could take a chipped doubloon!”
The chieftain rumbled as he pushed
The boat out from the shore;
“If all the world were like that town
I’d be a rogue no more!”

Copyright © 2019 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 1, 2018


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 the Los Angeles Times, Sunday, May 30, 1909.

[The nobles of the Al Malaikah Temple at Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium planned to attend the Shrine convention in Louisville, Kentucky. L. Frank Baum wrote the following lyrics for them to sing while traveling to the convention.]

(Tune, “Dixie.”)

Oh, way Southwest, in the land of posies,
Oranges, olives, nuts and roses,
We’re away, today, to play, and be gay.
Our Arab Patrol is Malaikah’s hope.
We’re the pride of the blue Pacific Slope,
Hold on, hold on, hold on to the rope.
We’ve traveled far to Dixie,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
Our lemons we can recommend,
But we never hand one to a friend,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
We’re glad we’ve come to Dixie,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
We’re here to capture Dixie.

We are here for fun, we are on the run,
For a stein for a Shriner every one,
Look away, hooray, yea, yea, happy day;
We are Angeles from Los Angeles,
We’re Billikens from the western seas,
We can stand hot sand, with any band, in the land;
We’ve come to join the conclave,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
In Louisville, we’ll get our fill
Of “con” and “clave,” we surely will
Zem zem, Zem zem;
Hurrah for the Louisvillians!
Zem zem, Zem zem,
We’ll shout for Louisville.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 4, 1917.

The Riddle of the Princess of Supposyville

’Way off a year or so from here
And a hundred miles besides,
In the kingdom of Supposyville
A princess fair resides.
At least, she was a princess
At the time she made the riddle.
But here I am as usual
Starting off ’way in the middle!
Well, knights in plumes rode up and down
Before her castle gate,
And many a king would give his crown
To marry her, folks state.
The princess, just as sweet and kind
As she is fair, is harassed
By twenty thousand suitors,
Till no wonder she’s embarrassed.
So, calling all her councilors,
She tells them to decree
That who can guess her riddle
Will be chosen speedily!
“Have not all princesses by riddles
Since the world began
Arranged such matters?” she inquires.
They quite approve the plan.
And on a certain day they come
By hundreds to the court,
The merchants, sailors, dukes and lords
And men of every sort!
Then, on a golden dais steps
The princess, lightly dances,
Her every bow and turn the company
More and more entrances.
And next, before they’ve caught their breath,
The lovely princess sings.
Each note drops like a rose leaf,
And each heart that hears takes wings!
Now stops the princess suddenly.
“My riddle—listen well!
What man would hark not to my voice
Nor note my dancing—tell?
Nor wed me, though I asked him over
Twenty times?” No notion
Had most of them, and what a noise
Arose and what commotion!
“A Hottentot!” guessed one; another
Called out boldly, “I
Like not your singing, princess,
And your dancing’s awkward, FIE!
And think’st that I would marry
Any one who asked me to?”
“I don’t like flattery,” quoth she,
“But have you answered true?”
Both this and that was guessed till every
One but ONE had missed—
And there the lovely princess stood
Unwon and all unkissed.
Then stepped the last one forward
And the last one was a king!
And bless my heart and heels! He guessed
The riddle off first thing!
“No man,” said he, “could be so rude,
So stupid, so unkind,
Unless, fair princess, he were deaf
And dumb and likewise BLIND!”
Yes, they were wedded on the spot
And all the bells are ringing—
And if you listen carefully
You’ll hear the princess singing.

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

Thursday, November 1, 2018


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 23, 1916.

“I’m that disappointed I could just cry!” Mrs. Solomon Squirrel rocked jerkily backwards and forwards in the kitchen rocker, dabbing her eyes with the corner of her apron. Solomon was still peering through his spectacles at a telegram that had just been left by a sparrow messenger boy. “Ice unsafe, cannot cross the pond sorry to miss the party, Suzanne Squirrel.” “Couldn’t we postpone it, my dear?” ventured Solomon timidly. “Postpone it!” wailed Mrs. Squirrel throwing up her paws. “With all the nuts cracked and all the cakes and pies made—how you do talk, Solomon!” “It was only a suggestion, my dear!” Solomon reached apologetically for his hat and muttering something about “business appointment” hurried out of the house—I mean tree. He could not bear to see Mrs. Squirrel unhappy. She had worked so hard over the party, too, and here Suzanne, her husband and six children were not going to get there.

He was so worried and upset that he hardly spoke to Jack Rabbit’s Uncle John as he passed his door and the poor old rabbit gentleman was quite hurt, for Solomon always stopped and told him all the tree news and he told Solomon all the ground news. He had a choice bit this morning, too, about Henry Hedgehog’s new waistcoat. But Solomon was thinking of everything else but waistcoats just then. He whisked along down to the pond to see for himself whether the ice had broken up. “What in the world did Suzanne want to live on the other side of the pond for? Hadn’t he often offered to find her a tree near them?” He tapped the ice sharply with his cane, then shading his eyes with the newspaper, stared across. Sure enough, there was a great crack in the centre and a big sign reading, “Danger! Keep off!”

The sight was very depressing and the more he thought of the cupboard full of cakes and the pantry full of nuts and pies the worse he felt. “We’ll be eating ’em for the rest of the winter, for Sarah will never allow ’em to be wasted!” he reflected sadly. “Eating what for the rest of the winter?” said a voice behind him so suddenly that Mr. Squirrel dropped his cane with a crash. “Ha! Ho! Ho! Ha!” laughed two jolly voices and Solomon’s cousins, Benjamin and Jonathan Beaver, slapped him heartily upon the back. Solomon was so relieved to see some one to whom he could tell his troubles that he cheered up wonderfully.

“To (sic) bad! Too bad!” sympathized Benjamin when they had heard all about it. “Shouldn’t wonder if the thaw lasted a considerable spell!” observed Jonathan, squinting at the sun knowingly. “Come along, Ben, we’ve a deal of wood to cut today.” Benjamin didn’t answer for he was staring across the pond as if he saw something mighty interesting over there. “What is it?” questioned Solomon, shading his eyes with the paper again. “An idea!” chuckled Benjamin, rubbing his paws together. Then giving Solomon a poke in the ribs that left him breathless, he pointed to the tree under which they were standing. Still Solomon looked mystified. But Jonathan seemed to know immediately what the idea was. “Fine!” he exclaimed, pulling off his coat!

Then Benjamin got on one side of the tree and Jonathan on the other and they gnawed and gnawed with their sharp teeth till, my goody two shoes, down it came with a crash and fell across the pond, making the finest bridge you ever saw! And Solomon Squirrel was so delighted he threw his hat up in the air and cheered for dear life. Then he shook paws with both his cousins, clapped his hat on again and scampered across to tell Suzanne and the family that they could come to his wife’s party.

All in a flutter he rushed back again to tell Mrs. Solomon Squirrel the good news. So they both put on aprons and all the little Solomon Squirrels put on aprons and in three whisks of a tail the table was set and everything was right again. At 2 o’clock Suzanne Squirrel and her family, all dressed in gray fur coats, might have been seen stepping daintily over the beavers’ bridge on their way to the party. And I’m very glad it all turned out so happily, aren’t you!

By Ruth Plumly Thompson  
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 17, 1921

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

The Forgetful Poet surely mixed himself up last week with a wakesap instead of a knapsack and tame flowers ’stead of wild flowers and woods overhead and sky underfoot. Then he used sang for trudged and trudged for sang, and left out today entirely—but for all of that it was a very fine poem HE says.
[This is the final installment of "The Forgetful Poet." There won't be any answers next time. Look for a NEW continuing feature: Supposyville Stories!]

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

Monday, October 1, 2018


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.

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


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.

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.


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


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 
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.