Sunday, April 2, 2023


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

Published in the Houston (TX) Post, September 12, 1915.

Uncle Abner had gone hunting. Oliver Elephant and Tommy Tapir had begged and begged, but “You’re too small—why, you wouldn’t have sense to run if Shaggy Lion charged—or a Two Leg. No, I will not take you with me and that’s all there is to it!” Uncle Abner had said. “Run! I guess not! I don’t know just exactly what I WOULD do, but I would NOT run,” Oliver had said indignantly, but Uncle Abner would not relent.

There had been reports in the Jungle Ledger that the Two Legs were seen near the jungle, but Uncle Abner did not worry himself about that. After a journey of about two days, in the early evening, while he was taking a fine roll in some soft, oozy mud, the most horrifying noises broke out and torches and dancing brown bodies seemed to almost surround him. “The Two Legs,” thought Uncle Abner Elephant. “NOW is the time to run away!” and turning he plunged in the only direction that was free from the noise and lights.

On and on he ran through the forest until bang!—BUMP—his head went crashing into a solid wall of logs. Madly he tore around the inclosure searching for an opening, but the wily black men had closed the huge gate and Uncle Abner was fairly trapped.

Once again that dreadful night the gate was opened and a small elephant came crashing into the stockade, and Uncle Abner, quiet by that time, walking over to sympathize with the newcomer, found Oliver Elephant crying as if his heart would break. “You—t—t—told me to run—and I DID. And now how in the jungle world are we going to get out?” “Never mind, Oliver Elephant, we’ll—!” began Uncle Abner, but Oliver Elephant almost shrieked, “Don’t talk to me—I want to THINK!” And he thought and thought and thought, waving his big ears and swaying from side to side. In the very early morning he crept over to Uncle Abner and unfolded a plan to him.

So it happened that when the mahouts came in the morning they found two very tame elephants in the stockade, who allowed the chain to be put on their feet without any resistance and who tried in every elephant way to make them understand that they wished to be friends. “The largest and the smallest, but the tamest we have ever caught,” the men said to each other.

A week went by uneventfully and then the looked-for day came to Oliver and Uncle Abner. The chain was unfastened and, together with the tame elephants, they were led down to the river for a bath, a mahout on the head of each elephant. Lazily Uncle Abner swam out, with Oliver Elephant close behind him. Playfully they filled their trunks with water and gave their mahout a shower bath, and then, watching their opportunity, each elephant ducked suddenly and, turning, grasped the black men and threw them far toward the land—and before the rest of the party knew what to do they were climbing up the opposite bank and tearing through the jungle as fast as only an elephant can.

By running evenly and not stopping for either food or rest, they reached home in the early morning of the following day, where Mother and Father Elephant, who had given them up for lost, wept for joy and gave them lovely fresh hay to eat and were so happy to see them again that they did not even scold Oliver for running away with Uncle Abner.

“Just the same,” said Oliver Elephant, when he was telling Tommy Tapir about it, “I learned one thing. NEVER run from a thing you are afraid of. One of the tame elephants told me that if we had charged the men instead of running just the way they wanted us to we would have upset all their plans and scared them so we would have gotten safely away. No more running for me. I’d rather face the music.”

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 14, 1918

Supposyville’s Boys and Girls

Supposyville is quite unlike
The countries that we know of.
It must be a delicious place
To play and stay and grow, love!

They think of boys and girls in that
Quaint kingdom as they should.
No wonder that they’re merry and
So very, VERY good.

The King has glanced through all the books
And rules and regulations
On raising children practiced in
The foremost Christian nations.

And he and Solomon Tremendous
Wise were sadly shaken
To find a great majority
Of theories quite mistaken.

“Why, boys and girls are like the birds
And flowers. Lots of sun
And love and air and happiness
And just old-fashioned fun

“Is what they need. Too many rules,
Too many don’ts and can’ts
Will chill the lads and lassies
Like the winter frosts the plants.

“Our treasures are our children,
And I want them understood;
And here our plans will be to make
It easy to be good!”

Thus saying did the good King many
A jolly scheme devise.
Assisted by the keen old head
Of Solomon Tremendous Wise.

And first of all they changed the motto
Which so many tears
Relentlessly have drawn and sent
Cascading down the years!

You will remember it, I’m sure.
’Tis, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
Upon the so few law books of
Supposyville in manner mild,

With all the stings withdrawn it reads
Thus: “Spare the child and spoil the rod,”
And no one finds it any ways
Remarkable or queer or odd.

They haven’t any dismal signs—
No “Get off of the grasses,”
“Beware of Watchdogs” and “The law
Will deal with all trespasses!”

And what is more, they never whip
Small boys for going swimming.
“’Tis just an instinct to be clean
And spirits overbrimming,”

The King declared, and fixed the pools
With diving boards and slides, dears,
And gave them unexpected swimming
Holidays besides, dear.

That’s why I said some fifty lines
Or maybe more ago
It is the most delicious and
Delightful place I know.
Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, March 1, 2023


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

Published in the Boston Evening Transcript, May 4, 5, 1898.


It was in the early mining days of Black Rock, when rumors of gold in the surrounding hills were first whispered around, that Jack Burgitt and Dick Hamilton formed a partnership and started out prospecting. They had ample territory to work in, for other more brilliant fields of operation in California had attracted most of the fortune-hunters and only a few sanguine men had pinned their faith to Black Rock and scattered themselves along the banks of the neighboring streams to wash the precious metal.

Hamilton and Burgitt penetrated a dozen miles into the hills and settled upon the bank of a tiny brook whose sands showed traces of gold. They built a rough shanty, containing bunks, a table and a bench, rigged up a rude, old-fashioned fireplace, and then devoted their days to persistent search for “the dust.”

They were simple, patient, courageous fellows, each owning an ambition to amass a fortune and return to his old home to enjoy it. Dick had a pretty, black-eyed girl waiting for him somewhere in Ohio, and Jack longed to be able to assist his old mother and her numerous brood of younger children. They had met by accident, and forming one of the sudden friendships so common in the West, had joined fortunes in their search for gold.

After a month’s hard work, their provisions being exhausted, they resolved to carry their dust to Black Rock and trade it for a further supply of groceries. They realized they had not been very successful, but were too inexperienced to know how valuable the little bags of glittering atoms might be. So they barred the door of their shanty and started on the twelve-mile walk to the village.

Quincy Brown was in those days the proprietor of the store, bank, real estate office and saloon, and did a thriving business in default of serious competition. To him the two men took their little bag of dust and asked him to weigh it.

Brown tossed the bag carelessly upon the scales, and then, after securing the weight, laboriously figured its value in dollars and cents, while Dick and Jack stood by with bated breaths and watched every mark of the pencil.

“Thirty-four dollars and a half,” announced old Brown, at length, as he pushed the paper toward them for confirmation.

“Thirty-four dollars,” repeated Jack, a bit huskily; “that’s about seventeen dollars apiece, Dick, an’ it means a month’s hard work.”

“Rather discouragin’, ain’t it?” replied Dick; “guess we’d better give up these diggin’s, ol’ man, an’ try fer a job at somethin’ else.”

“Nonsense,” said Brown, tossing the bag into a drawer of his safe, “these hills is full o’ gold, an’ no mistake. Why, on’y half an hour afore you come in I weighted up two thousan’ dollars’ wuth o’ dust an’ nuggets for one man, an’ he’s on’y been three weeks a’ work.”

Jack drew a long breath.

“Two thousan’ dollars!” he exclaimed, “why, thet’s most a fortune by itself. Who was the feller?”

“Hawks, his name is; quite a old man, too, fer sech a job. I dunno where his claim is, an’ I don’t suppose he’d tell me ef I asked him; but he’s out in the grocery, now, ef ye wanter see how he looks. ’T ain’t my business to give away other folkses secrets, an’ ye’d better keep dark what I told ye; but I thought as how it’d incourage of ye to know there was gold in these yere hills, an’ plenty of it, too.”

“I guess,” said Jack, with hesitation, “we’d better try it another month, Dick.”

“Jest as you like,” responded Dick; “it may be as our luck’ll change.”

“There’s your check, boys,” said old Brown; “ye’ll want to trade it out, I s’pose?”

They nodded and followed him into the store room. There were a few loafers idling about. A thin, gray-haired man was quietly purchasing a supply of bacon and tobacco. Brown jerked his thumb toward the latter with a significant wink, and the boys eyed their more fortunate rival as respectfully as if it were Croesus himself.

The old gentleman soon concluded his purchases, packed them carefully into a basket and started down the street to return to his camp. He looked back more than once to see that no one followed him, and he walked in several different directions before finally striking a straight path that would lead him to his destination.

Dick and Jack invested their check in enough provisions to last another month, including a big bottle of very indifferent whiskey and a dozen plugs of “navy,” and then they also set out upon their return, having no fears whatever that anyone would care to follow them.

“If we don’t have better luck this month,” said Jack, as they trudged along, “we’ll up stakes and go a bit further into the hills. If one ol’ man can wash two thousan’ dollars’ wuth in three weeks, it stands to reason there’s gold to be found, an’ we’re jest as likely to find it as anyone.”

“True ‘nough,” agreed Dick, laconically. He usually did agree with Jack, and that was one reason why they got along so nicely together.

The next morning found them working more eagerly than ever, but the days passed slowly by and their efforts were no better rewarded than before.

“We’d best give it up, ol’ man,” Dick would say, at times.

“No,” answered his partner, “we said we’d stick the month out, an’ so we will,” and whatever Jack decreed was sure to be convincing to his friend.

When two weeks had passed Jack took an afternoon off and went into the hills with his gun to hunt for game. To Dick’s surprise he was back within the hour, destitute of game, but with an eager expression upon his face that betokened a discovery of some sort.

“Dick,” he said, hurrying up to his partner, “guess what I’ve seen!”

“What?” demanded Dick, without attempting to guess the riddle.

“I’ve seen ol’ man Hawks goin’ over to Black Rock with a sack o’ dust so heavy he could hardly tote it. An’ it’s on’y two weeks sense he put two thousan’ dollars in ol’ Brown’s bank!”

Dick sat down upon a rock and gave a long whistle of amazement.

“Where’d ye see him?” he inquired.

“Not more’n thirty rode away—over by the edge of the bush.”

“Did he see you?”

“No, I kep’ out o’ sight, knowin’ he wouldn’t want no one to see where he come from.”

For a few minutes they sat regarding each other thoughtfully. Then Jack whispered,

“Dick, that were the doggondest heaviest bag o’ dust you ever seen!”

Again there was a period of silence.

“What’s we best do, Jack?” asked Hamilton, at last.

“I’ll tell ye what was on my mind, Dick, an’ you can see what ye think of it. It’s plain ’nough that that ol’ feller has struck it rich, while we’re a ploddin’ away fer a bare livin’. How would it be to watch fer him when he comes back an’ foller him to his claim? We might strike a spot that’d pay us as well as his’n.”

“I b’lieve thet’s the best thing to be done,” replied Dick, thoughtfully. “O’ course it ’pears like a underhanded act to trail the ol’ man to his find, but we’ve got ourselves to look after.”

“That’s jest it,” answered Jack, quickly, “it’s every man fer himself in this country, an’ no one’ll help us ef we don’t help ourselves. So I’ll get back to the trail after supper, an’ watch till Hawks comes along.”

“Don’t let him see you,” warned Dick, “or he’ll throw you off’n the track.”

“Never you fear—I’ll do the job right,” was the rejoinder; and the programme being thus agreeably settled, each indulged in another drink.

Jack succeeded in following his man, and located the claim about two miles farther into the hills. It was oddly situated, at the foot of a high, rocky precipice covered with brush, where a small stream issued from the hill and flowed in many windings down the valley. Old Hawks had built a lean-to against the hill, which so effectually protected his claim that our two friends could see no possible way of profiting by their discovery.

The next day they abandoned all work and sat thoughtfully at the door of their shanty, consuming so much whiskey at intervals that before long the big bottle was entirely empty.

After that they grew surly, and all most quarrelled with one another over the most trifling things. Burgitt smoked his pipe persistently, and lay upon the grass hour after hour, buried in deep thought, while Hamilton made fierce inroads into the “navy” as he sat pondering upon a rock.

“It don’t seem right,” said Jack, one evening, “fer that ol’ man to be makin’ his pile while we’re doin’ nothin’.”

“No,” responded Dick, slowly; “it don’t seem right.”

“Someone,” continued Burgitt, “will light onter him some day, an’ stick a knife in him, an’ jump his claim.”

“Very likely,” agreed Dick, soberly, “sech things happen at times.”

The conversation languished here, and both returned to their former musings, only to resume the topic the following morning.

“As a rule,” Jack announced, abruptly, “I b’lieve in bein’ honest. Mother allus said that a man as kep’ honest would prosper better in the long run. But when I think o’ the ol’ lady slavin’ her life away at home to bring up that lot o’ brats, an’ how comf’table I could make her if I had the dust, I’m ‘most tempted to jump ol’ Hawkses claim myself.”

Dick looked at him curiously a minute.

“Jack,” he whispered, hoarsely, “I’ve ben thinkin’ o’ that myself. With Hawks’s gold I could go back an’ marry Susie; only—”

“Only what?” demanded Jack.

“I couldn’t bear the sight o’ her clear eyes ef I knowed I’d stuck a man to git the money!”

Jack moved uneasily upon the grass and turned his back to his partner. Presently he said:

“It’s near time fer the ol’ man to make another trip. He must hev’ quite a heap o’ dust on hand by this time.”

“I was thinkin’ o’ that,” said Dick, softly.


An hour dragged slowly by without further remark. Then Jack sat up and addressed his friend in a quick, decided voice:

“It’s no use beatin’ around the bush, Dick. This here is our big opportunity, an’ you know mighty well the job’s got to be did! I don’t like it no more ’n you do, but the money means a deal more to us than to that ol’ chap, who’s got one foot already in the grave. When we’re rich no one’ll ask any questions. Now, then, who’s to do the work—you or me?”

Dick shrank away with a look of fear upon his face.

“Not me, Jack—not me! Think o’ Susie!”

“I hev thought,” said Jack, doggedly, “an’ I’ve thought o’ mother, an’ her prayers fer me. But men do these things, an’ they’re never found out—not in the cases o’ this kind. I know it’s wrong, but it seems like a devil had got hold o’ me an’ wouldn’t let go, an’ sooner or later I’ve got to give in. One of us has got to do the job, pard, and you’re no better nor I am!”

“We’ll draw cuts,” said Dick, desperately.

“Thet’s sensible,” returned Jack, springing to his feet, “an’ it sounds like business. If I hed to think o’ this thing much longer, I should go crazy. Which does the job—the long or the short?”

“Short!” said Dick, faintly.

“Then draw!”

Dick reached out a trembling hand and drew the long blade of grass. Then they looked into each other’s eyes a moment and turned away.

Soon after Jack emerged from the shanty in his coat and hat. The butt of a revolver protruded from his pocket and his bowie was stuck in his belt. His white face wore a stern expression as he walked up to Dick and reached out his hand.

“Shake, pard,” he said, grimly, “it’s the last time I can hold out an innercent hand!”

“Don’t go, Jack!” exclaimed Dick, with almost a sob; “don’t go, ol’ man!”

“I must,” was the reply, “there’s no backing out now.” And he marched away toward the brush.

Old Hawks was busily at work that afternoon when a gruff voice at his side startled him.

“Hello, pard!”

He looked up to see Jack Burgitt standing near, his eyes fixed eagerly upon a nugget of gold which had just been washed out. Hawks examined the face of his visitor with shrewd intentness, and shrank from what he saw there.

“Where did you come from?” he asked, slowly, as he thoughtfully considered the consequences of this visit and the character of the man before him.

Jack made a motion with his head.

“Down the valley,” he answered.


“Yes. I see you’ve struck it rich.”

“Fair; only fair,” replied Hawks, with a sigh.

Jack looked at the ground, at the little pile of dust in the tin at Hawks’s feet, anywhere except at the face of the old man.

“Kin ye give me a bunk fer the night?” he asked at length.

“Certainly,” answered Hawks, promptly, concealing his fears and glancing briefly at the sun. “It’s near supper time, now, and I’ll stop work and fry us a bit of bacon. You’re welcome to stay and rest as long as you please.”

Hawks was a fair judge of human nature, and while he knew perfectly well from his visitor’s actions that the man had come to rob if not to murder him, there was somehow a look of innate honesty in Jack’s face that puzzled him. As he cooked the supper he reflected how he could best extricate himself from his uncomfortable position. By a few casual remarks he drew Jack out, and soon discovered that he already knew of his rich find and that Hawks had carried large quantities of dust to Brown’s Bank at Black Rock.

Hawks valued money, but after all life was much sweeter to him than gold, and he decided to bend all efforts toward saving his life.

Therefore he conversed frankly with his visitor, and as Jack became more at his ease Hawks found himself thinking that his guest was far from being a hardened criminal, and under other circumstances might possess many admirable qualities.

“It is this horrible thirst for gold that has mastered the fellow,” thought the old man, “and made him capable of a crime in order to obtain it. Very well, as I am too weak to cope with him, I shall sacrifice a part of my wealth to purchase my life.”

Jack was eating his supper slowly and swallowing each morsel with great difficulty. His face retained its pallor, but also bore an expression of stern resolve. Old Hawks looked at him slyly and trembled.

“Will you be returning to Black Rock tomorrow?” he asked.

Jack nodded.

“Then you can do me a great favor.”

“How is that?”

“I have a large quantity of gold on hand, and if you will take it to Brown’s for me and deposit it to my account it will save my making the trip.”

Jack stared at him in amazement.

“How much is there?” he demanded.

“About twenty-five hundred dollars’ worth,” replied Hawks, after a moment’s hesitation, during which he resolved to make the stake large enough to save himself beyond question. “It will be heavy, I know, but I shall be glad to pay you for your trouble.”

Burgitt pushed back from the table, his face flushing a deep red.

“An’ you’d trust me with all that dust?” he demanded.

“Yes,” answered the old man, with a smile that was rather forced. “I can see well enough you’re an honest chap, and I’m safe to trust to your honor.”

Jack winced, and to cover his confusion pulled out his red handkerchief and slowly wiped his brow.

“All right, pard,” he said, shortly; “I’ll take it.”

“The gold is in gunny-sacks, stowed away in this crevice of the rock,” continued Hawks, who had decided it was better to betray his hiding-place voluntarily. Jack nodded.

“It’s easy got at, if once you know where it is,” explained the old man, “but as a rule no one would ever think of looking in that crevice for it.”

“Why did you tell me about it?” asked Burgitt, with a frown.

“Because,” repeated Hawks dryly, “I believe you to be an honest man.” He did not think it wise to say that a knowledge of the hiding-place would render it unnecessary for his guest to murder him in order to search for the gold at his leisure. Now that he had told him plainly where to find it, he felt assured his gold and his visitor would disappear together during the night.

But, to his surprise, Jack was there the next morning, and the gold as well. After breakfast, during which he had many disturbed thoughts, Hawks brought out the bags and placed them in Jack’s hands.

“I’d like you to see old Brown weigh it,” he said, to keep up appearances, “for then he won’t dare to cheat me.”

“I will,” replied Jack.

Hawks stood in his doorway and watched the powerful form of his late visitor move down the valley.

“There goes the result of two weeks’ hard labor,” he said, with a sigh, “but there is more to be washed out, and after all, I have escaped very cheaply.”

Jack walked into the camp, where Dick sat stolidly upon his rock, and threw down the heavy sacks of gold.

Dick shuddered and turned away his eyes.

“Is he dead?” he whispered, hoarsely.

“No,” replied Jack, in quite a cheerful tone, “He’s alive an’ well, fer all I know.” Then he sat down beside his partner and told him how old Hawks had innocently taken him for an honest man, and trusted him to carry his wealth to the bank.

“I’m glad ye didn’t hev to kill him,” said Dick, when he had heard the story, “for I should never ’a’ felt like the same man. I didn’t sleep a wink las’ night, Jack. But I s’pose we’d better git our traps together an’ make tracks. It’s a pretty good strike fer us, when you think how easy it was come by.”

“What d’ye mean?” asked Jack, fiercely.

“As how?” returned Dick, in surprise.

“About our makin’ tracks. D’ye s’pose I’d steal the dust?”

“Why—didn’t ye start out to—to—” stammered Dick, and then he stopped short and looked at Burgitt with an expression of intense relief.

“See here, Dick Hamilton,” said Jack, proudly, “ol’ Hawks said as he’d trust to my honor. Did ye ever know me to break my word?”


“Well, I won’t begin now. Thet gold’s goin’ inter ol’ Brown’s bank an’ to Hawks’s credit, or else my name ain’t Jack Burgitt!”

Dick held out his hand.

“You’re right, pard,” he said, “an’ we’ve been a pair o’ low scoundrels! You jest tote them bags over to Brown’s, an’ I’ll begin washin’ fer dust agin. Our claim ain’t so durned bad, after all, ef it’s well worked.”

When Jack carried Brown’s receipt up to Hawks, the old man was nearly paralyzed with amazement.

“I owe you an apology, my friend,” he said, when he had recovered his breath; “my worry over this confounded gold has made me suspicious of everyone. I took you for a thief that night, and thought you meant to murder me!”

“I did,” said Jack, simply, “but when you trusted to my honor, why you jest knocked me clean out.”

And then he frankly told Hawkes [sic] the whole story, and the old man was so affected that he invite the two partners to join him at once in working his rich claim.

“I’ve got nearly as much as I need already,” he said, “and there’s plenty left to make us all rich. Besides, it’s dangerous working alone, and I shall feel safer with your protection. I’ve prospected in different parts of the country for six years, and I know that gold is hard to find, but an honest man, Jack Burgitt, is scarcer in these diggings that gold itself!”

A year later, when Jack took his fortune to his old mother and smiled delightedly at her amazement, he kissed her and said:

“It’s honestly come by, mother, ev’ry cent! An’ yet, that ain’t altogether my fault, but the mistake that old Hawks made when he took me fer an honest man!”

Originally published in the Oakland Tribune, April 7, 1918

The Substitute King of Supposyville

“My love”—the good Supposy King
With finger tips together
And thoughtful mein addressed his Queen—
“This lovely April weather
Has made me long to get away
And leave all pomp behind.
The only thing’s to find a King
Of fair and generous mind
To substitute while we are gone.”
The Queen jumped up in glee.
“Why, I can think of plenty. There’s
The royal tailor—he
Has always seemed an honest man
Industrious and steady.
And there’s the blacksmith. While you choose
I’ll run off and get ready.”

The good King chuckled: “Choose I will
And from the humble folk who serve,
And he who takes the message best
Shall have the honor he’ll deserve,”
And thereupon he wrote four notes
And fixed his royal seal.
“At three o’clock you will be King
For two weeks, woe or weal!”
Then chuckling once again, of snuff
He took a mighty sniff,
And in the corner of each note
He put a little “if.”

Off galloped now the couriers.
’Twas two o’clock. The first
His message did the tailor reach,
And pshaw! he nearly burst
The buttons off his homespun coat—
He dropped his tape and shears,
Dismissed his helpers sternly and
With trembling hands, my dears,
Pulled on a suit he’d lately made
To please his Royal Highness.
Pushing his wife aside, he hurried
Out in pride and fineness!

The baker got his next. He flung
His board upon the floor,
And leaving all his ovens full
Dash [sic] pell mell out the door.
The gardener read the note, threw down
His tools and even faster
Rushed off; the hose left to itself
Worked ruin and disaster
Among the beds, while through the gate,
Left wide, the chickens scurried
And ate up all the seeds and bulbs
Unscolded and unhurried.

The blacksmith got his message last—
’Twas twenty after two—
“My! my! I’ll have to hurry up
To get my work all through!”
He muttered and blew up his fire
And hammered blow on blow,
And not till every horse was shod
Did he prepare to go.
He begged his young assistant to
Keep shop while he was gone,
And kissing all his family put
His leather jerkin on
And set out for the castle. In the
Meantime—long before
The time appointed came—the other
Three met at the door.

The King received them kindly.
The blacksmith was quite late
And when he came the King began:
“The minister of state
Has gone to see which one of you
Has left his own affair
In the best manner and to him
I’ll trust my crown and cares
While I’m away,” Uneasily
The baker screwed about,
The tailor started for the door,
The gardener’s tongue hung out.
The blacksmith sat serenely, and
No doubt you now have guessed;
The King chose him for substitute
Because he’d stood the test.
Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023


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

Published in the Pittsburg (PA) Press, January 17, 1915.


OOO—OOH! Once upon a time there was a little bear just about as big as you, who did not want porridge for breakfast. Every morning he would climb into his high chair and wiggle his nose and shake his head and pound his spoon down on the tray and cry in his little bear voice, “I don’t want porridge for breakfast!” Then his big Bear Mother would get the switch that hung in the corner and cry in her big, deep Mother Bear voice, “Eat up your porridge or—” Then she would shake the switch and the little Bear would gobble up his porridge so fast that it would scald his throat.

One morning, while his mother was stirring up the yellow porridge in the big black pot, the little bear slid out of bed and went tiptoeing out of the house on his little bear toes. “I don’t want porridge for breakfast,” cried he in his little bear voice as he ran down the road.

And he ran and ran—and RAN until he came to Mother Fox’s house. “Come in,” said Mother Fox, “and have some breakfast with us!” All the little foxes were sitting around the table eating out of yellow bowls. Then Mother Fox brought him a yellow bowl. Ooo-ooh! It was porridge! The little bear sniffed and snuffed and then he cried in his little bear voice, “I don’t want porridge for breakfast!” And he slid down from the table and ran out of the house.

And he ran and ran—and ran until he came to Mother Wolf’s house. “Come in,” said Mother Wolf, “and have some breakfast with us!” All the little wolves were sitting around the table lapping out of a big black pan. “Help yourself!” said Mother Wolf. The little bear sniffed and sniffed. Ooo—ooh! It was porridge! “I don’t want porridge for breakfast,” cried the little bear in his little bear voice, and he slid down from the table and ran out of the house.

And he ran and ran—and RAN until he came to Mother Lion’s house. “Come in,” said Mother Lion, “and have some breakfast with us!” All the little lions were sitting round the table, but there was NOTHING on the table at all. “Ooo—ooh, what are you going to have for breakfast?” cried the little bear voice. “YOU!” roared the Mother Lion. “YOU!” roared all the little lions.

And jumping upon the little bear they GOBBLED HIM ALL UP.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 31, 1918

How They Do It in Supposyville

Aho! when old Supposyville
Awakes on Easter day, dears,
The golden chimes a thousand times
Begin to toll and play, dears,

The old glad Easter carols, and
Each door’s a very bower,
With hyacinths and daffodils
And roses all in flower.

The Queen has seen to that, you know;
And on my word, the King
Himself has helped the Easter bunny.
Rabbits kindly bring

Each lad and lass an Easter nest,
And even the royal horses
Are not forgotten and enjoy
Delicious Easter courses!

They don’t go ’way on Easter day,
But stay home all together,
These dear Supposy People and
With hearts as light as heather

They go to church, and after that
In all their togs of spring
Hie joyously to call upon
Each other and the King!

And there upon the palace green
The youngsters roll their eggs,
And the little live white rabbits hop
About and stretch their legs.

And all the artists of the court,
With paint and brush and jollity,
Paint faces on the hard-boiled eggs
Of mirth-provoking quality.

The Easter Bunny peering from
His home on Sugar Hill
On all the world looks longest down
On dear Supposyville.

And chuckles as his telescope
Shows all their artless merriment,
So free from stress and wickedness,
From war and woe and worriment!
Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.


Sunday, January 1, 2023


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

Originally published January 29, 1905.

Mr. Wimble was one of the heroes of the Spanish War. In climbing San Juan Hill, a cannon ball carried away his left leg, and now he was obliged to strap a wooden leg to the stump that remained and so hobbled around with the aid of a cane.

The government paid him enough pension money to enable him to live frugally, and Mrs. Wimble was such a good manager that she kept the little cottage neat and comfortable and cooked her hero husband dainty meals and cared for him most tenderly.

She placed a cushioned chair for him on the front porch every morning, where he sat and enjoyed the sunshine and the admiration of the crowd of children that always assembled to look with awe upon his wooden leg and listen enraptured to his tales of war. When he wanted a match to light his pipe, one of the children would eagerly run to fetch it, and it was considered a great honor to any child to be permitted to get the hero a cup of water from the pump.

At evening Mrs. Wimble helped him into the little parlor, where his slipper was warming beside the stove, and she hung up his hat and waited upon him lovingly, seeing that his place was supplied with the choicest bits she could afford to provide.

It is really delightful to know how our gallant soldiers are honored when they have suffered for their country.

Well, our friend Jack Pumpkinhead, one of the queer people from the Marvelous Land of Oz, passed by one day and noticed Mr. Wimble’s wooden leg as he sat upon the porch sunning himself. “Poor fellow!” thought Jack. “I must really do something to relieve him!”

Jack is a bit stupid (being a Pumpkinhead), but he has a heart of oak, so he went home and performed a magical incantation that a powerful witch in the Land of Oz had once taught him. Mr. Wimble knew nothing of what Jack was doing, and went to bed in a peaceful frame of mind, his good wife unstrapping his wooden leg and hanging it on a peg beside the bed. But during the night the Pumpkinhead!s incantation took effect, causing a new leg of flesh and blood to grow upon the stump of Mr. Wimble’s old leg, so that when he got up next morning he found, to his amazement, that he was just as good a man as he was before he went to war!

Mrs. Wimble was too astonished to say much. All her husband’s trousers had the left leg cut off, so she had to patch up two pair to make one of them have both legs, and this seemed to her very wasteful.

While they were at breakfast the pension agent came around and, finding the hero had now two legs, refused to pay him any more money. This made Mrs. Wimble nervous and angry.

“Get out of here!” she cried, pushing her husband toward the door. “You must find a job, now that you are an able man, and hustle to earn us a living!”

Poor Mr. Wimble knew not what to do. He had got out of the habit of work, and now found that, instead of being petted and cuddled, he would be called upon to lead a strenuous life. Formerly he had been a bookkeeper, but he knew it would be quite difficult for him to get another position as good as the one he had abandoned to fight for his country.

As he stood upon the front porch thinking of this, the children came along, but finding that their formerly interesting hero was now just like other men, they passed on their way to school with jeers and jokes at his expense.

Poor Mr. Wimble! The grocer came up, having met the pension agent, and said: “Now that you are no longer paid by the government, I must have cash in advance for my goods.” And the tailor followed, waving a bill for the last one-legged trouser he had made and demanding his money.

Then came Jack Pumpkinhead, proud and glad to see the hero with two whole legs, and he told Mr. Wimble of his incantation.

“Alas!” cried the unhappy man, “why did you interfere with the decrees of Providence? With one leg I was happy and honored; with two I am miserable and despised!”

“Well,” said Jack, surprised to find his kind intentions had done harm rather than good. “It is easy enough to remove the leg again.”

“Then do! Do it by all means!” begged Mr. Wimble, anxiously. “It was really shot away in the war, you know; and you had no right to replace it without my consent.”

So Jack did another incantation that same night, and when Mr. Wimble awoke the following morning he called to his wife:

“Come, Susie, and strap on my wooden leg!” And, sure enough, there was only a stump where his left leg should have been!

As he sat on the porch that morning, telling stories to an awed group of children while his wife arranged cushions to support his back, Mr. Wimble looked and saw the Pumpkinhead.
“Thank you, my friend from Oz,” said he. “I’m all right now; but for goodness’ sake, don’t interfere in my affairs again!”

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 24, 1918

Supposyville Prepares for Spring

The air is balmy with that tender,
Fragrant breath of spring—
The castle’s in a bustle of
Some kind. The Queen and King
Are chuckling over yards of silk,
Of ribbons, cloth and twillings;
Exulting over trimmings, buttons,
Lace and chiffon frillings!

And in the ballroom, in the garden,
In the castle hall,
A-sitting on the golden stairs
And perching on the wall,
Five hundred costume makers stitch
And clip and baste and sew,
Helped out by all the ladies of
The court, while to and fro,

The pages and prime ministers
Run fetching spools and shears.
Oh, what a hum of cheeriness
And gayety, my dears.
The fiddlers fiddled valiantly,
Upon my heels and toes!
The King and Queen and court could never
Wear out all these clothes!

But pshaw—they will not have to, dears,
Wear all these suits and frocks.
These laceful, graceful bonnets,
Waistcoats, dress coats, bows and sox
Are given to his subjects by
The good Supposy King—
So they in proper spirits will
Enjoy the gladsome spring.

Each man and maid, each lad and lass,
Completely is outfitted.
No, not a single one of them’s
Forgotten or omitted.
“You wouldn’t ’spect a flower to
Dance lightly on its stem,
With half its petals withered and
The trees—just look at them!

“Decked out all new, the meadows, too.
Do you suppose they’d bring
With fallen leaves and faded grass
The message of the spring?
And people are the same, you know;
They need a gay renewing;
They need to dress for springtime as
The trees and flowers are doing!”

Thus spoke the dear Supposy King,
And he is right, and reasonable,
This springtime dressing isn’t pride
At all! It’s simply seasonable.
Pshaw! pshaw! just now a-thinking
Of that dear delicious place,
I’d love to hie me hither and
Leave neither sign nor trace!
Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.


Thursday, December 1, 2022


By Ruth Plumly Thompson 

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 23, 1917.
Heighho! To the North,
Where the winter wind blows—
To the North, to the North,
In the country of snows,
Is the City of Chimneys,
Old Santa Claus Town;
And there isn’t a door
In the whole frosty town (really);
But of jolly red chimneys
A thousand times ten,
For the chimneys are doors
For the quaint Brownie Men,
And for dear old St. Nicholas.
Each has a bell
Or a knocker, the coming
Of company to tell;
And when there’s a ring
The wee Brownie wives say
To the wee Brownie children,
“Run now, right away,
For the chimney is ringing,
And see who is there;
But mind that the soot
Doesn’t fall in your hair.”
And tied to each chimney’s
A long-whiskered broom—
I declare there’s a chimney
For every room
In these comical cottages.
Just from a hint
I imagine they’re all
Made of peppermint!
Oh, it’s set like a heart
In a platter of snow;
What a gay little splash
Of a town it is, though!
The Christmas tree forest,
Abloom with gay balls;
The darling wee cottages
Over whose walls
The holly climbs rioting,
And the huge shop
Where the toys are all make;
Pshaw! I never can stop
Once I start to relate
Of this city of snows;
My heart gives a bounce,
And away, sir, it goes!
But pshaw, I must stop—
Merry Christmas! My dear,
My duck and my love;
And a Happy New Year!
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 17, 1918

The Supposyville Flag

The Supposy King, one day in spring,
    Was sunk in deep reflection.
Beside him sat the lovely Queen,
    The pink of all perfection.
Said he, “My dear, while we have here
    A realm of some dimensions,
Free from all care and everywhere
    Averse to all dissensions,
I find we have forgotten something
    Which in our position
Embarrasses and really is
    A serious omission!”
“What is it?” laughed the merry Queen;
    “Your highness speaks in riddles.
I thought we had just everything
    From buttonhooks to fiddles!”
“We have no flag, no emblem,”
    Sighed the King; “these colored banners
Are very well but cannot tell
    Our hopes, ideals and manners!”
The Queen, her needle poised in air,
    Grew troubled. “Let’s dispatch
A summons to the artists and
    Announce an emblem match!”
No sooner said than done. In less
    Than twenty minutes there
The artists of the nation stood
    With flowing ties and hair.
The King explained the matter and
    He begged them to design
A flag that would, in color, shape
    And message show the fine
And happy spirit of the realm.
    How paint and charcoal flew!
Upon the easels magically
    The painted banners grew.
One wrought the lovely Queen into
    A crest; another took
The King’s head; still another chose
    A crown and sceptered crook.
All worked so busily the King
    And Queen were just delighted.
Then all at once an idle one
    The kindly monarch sighted.
“Can you not think of aught to draw?”
    Thus spoke the gentle King.
The artist gave his brush a toss,
    His pencil box a fling.
Then leaning down he took a stick
    And roughly marked a line
Around a spangled flower bed.
    “This,” chuckled he, “is MINE!
A bit of our own glad green earth
    ’Broidered with posies gay.
A posy flag I give to dear
    Supposyville to-day!”
Their majesties were so much charmed
    That right upon the spot
They chose it for their emblem,
    And ’twas lovely, was it not?
And when you next behold it
    Floating from the turrets high,
You’ll surely know the thus and so,
    The wherefore and the why!
Copyright © 2022 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022


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.

Published May 18, 1902, in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Click image to enlarge.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 10, 1918.

Supposyville Has a Wishing Time of It

The Wishing Day set by the King
All duly doth arrive;
With laugh and jest, dressed in their best,
Supposies block the drive.
The King’s Highway, the castle green,
And sit upon the fences;
A shrill blast from the pages and
The Wishing Test commences.

The Fairies gave the King a wish—
He tried and tried and tried,
But found himself, the dear old thing,
Completely satisfied!
The Queen likewise declared herself
Without a wish, so now
They’ve called the good Supposies up
To ask them where and how

To use the wish. Well, well, upon
My heart! they sat there blinking,
All solemnlike and serious,
A thinking, thinking, thinking!
The King began to look distressed,
When not a sound he hears;
“They’re out of practice, for they haven’t
Wished,” sighed he, “for years!”

The whole truth of the matter, dears
And ducks, was this alone;
In the whole Supposy Kingdom
There was not one wee wishbone—
No wishbone, dears, among them.
“Here’s a pretty howdedo,”
Quoth the Queen unto her consort,
“Trying to wish has made us blue!”

“We must use the wish or else
The fairies will be hurt,” said he.
“Ahem! I’ll have to try again.
Ahem! just let me see.”
It was no use; in that delightful
Kingdom—there was naught
To want or wish for; there they sat
And thought and thought and thought.

Just glancing o’er the garden wall
Their giant neighbor spied ’em
Looking so solemn, he called across
To know what ’twas that tried ’em.
At that the King jumped up and called,
“Big neighbor, if you had
A wish, what would you wish with it?”
“A wish?” quoth he. “Egad!

“If wishing were of use at all
I’d wish myself a wife,
For I’m a social giant and
I lead a lonely life!”
“Heighho!” the King bounced to his feet
And roared with mirth and glee,
“I wish our neighbor here a wife
As fine and big as he!”

A rumble shook the earth; the good
Supposies all fell flat,
And when they rose—well, what you ’spose?
Upon the wall there sat
A huge and lovely giant girl,
Tremendously delightful.
Indeed she was amazingly
Good looking and a sightfull.

The marriage was arranged and then
Was tied upon the spot,
And all Supposyville was there.
Exciting, was it not?

Copyright © 2022 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 31, 2022


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 7, 1916.


He would go! In spite of all the horrible stories we told him, in spite of all the good advice about the proper place for boys, in spite of everything, in fact, he and Ted quietly went on with their preparations to go from Philadelphia to Cape May by canoe.

Their allowance was not very large, and it took quite a bit of planning and self-sacrifice to buy the canned goods, coffee, salt and sugar. But they bought a little at a time and finally one very sultry Monday in the early part of August they started off on the great adventure.

“I can’t see why you brought these blankets along, Jack,” Ted complained bitterly, while they were carrying supplies to the canoe. “We’ll never in the world need them!”

“That’s all you know about it,” was Jack’s scathing rejoinder, “and you’d jolly well better take good care of them, too; they’re mother’s, and these rubber camping blankets we borrowed won’t feel very soft.”

Silently and perspiringly they stored away their provisions and blankets and the suit of clothes they had worn over their bathing suits, but when they were finally seated in the canoe and all was ready for the start their spirits rose. It was only 5 o’clock and the river was really lovely.

“Take slow, easy strokes, Ted,” advised Jack, “and we’ll keep inshore on account of the wash from the boats. Take it easy, now! Remember that you’re pretty soft!”

Where they were going to spend the night the two had no idea, preferring to “just go until we’re tired and then we can go ashore and make camp on the bank!”

By 10 o’clock the sun was very warm, and both boys’ faces, arms and shoulders were a fiery red.

“I say! Let’s get under shelter for a little while,” Ted said at last. Jack looked at him and quietly handed him his coat and slipped into his own. The rough serge scratched and rubbed their tender arms and shoulders, but it protected them somewhat and they “stuck” at it, getting occasional rests by letting the canoe drift with the current.

Twice they were nearly upset by passing steamers, but Jack saved the day both times by quick action.

By 6 o’clock they were both completely exhausted and paddled slowly along the shore to find a place to land and cook their supper. For one hour they searched, but no solid land was in sight—only marshes. There were billions of mosquitoes and green flies, which settled on their sunburned shoulders, and they were forced to stay several yards from the shore while they ate their cold tinned supper.

Such a night! Most of it was spent wrapped in the hot suffocating blankets, with a dive overboard when the mosquitoes became too bad. Their muscles, especially Ted’s, ached from the steady paddling, and the sunburned shoulders raised in huge white blisters which burned and throbbed.

At the first streak of light they started off again, bound to “be game.” Once they landed and sent postals home, telling what a wonderful trip they were having. They also bought a cup of coffee and these extravagances reduced their money to 17 cents between them.

About 5 o’clock in the afternoon the sun went in and a cool damp breeze started up, making it difficult to keep the canoe steady. The river became very rough, and Jack insisted that they keep close to the shore. “We’ll be eaten alive! I simply cannot stand one thing more,” complained Ted and gave his paddle a jerk.

Over went the canoe—trousers, money, mother’s blankets, borrowed camping blankets, food and boys all were plunged into the water. Fortunately, both boys were good swimmers and were able to clamber into the canoe again after a struggle, but everything was lost. To make matters worse, it started to rain and chilled the boys to the bone.

Ted began to shiver and Jack could hear his teeth chattering. Drawing the canoe closer to shore and holding her with one hand by the tall marsh grass, Jack took off his wet coat and wrapped that around his friend.

“I w-w-wish we’d ne-ver c-c-come!”

Jack wished so, too, but wishing did not help matters at all. Ted tossed and moaned all night, until about 2 o’clock, when he became very still. Strain his ears as he might, Jack could not hear him breathe, and when he reached out a cautious hand (for it was pitch dark) he could feel no sigh of life.

“He’s dead! I’ve killed him! What shall I do?” he sobbed over and over to himself. He was a boy who decided things quickly, and pushing out into the current he paddled along blindly, guiding the canoe by lights he could see down the river.

By 6 o’clock he reached a settlement, and, after waking up nearly all the people, succeeded in finding a doctor!

Ted was not dead! It was simply hunger, exposure, and exhaustion, and a long sleep did wonders for him.

The question now was how to get home. They had no money and no clothes (their bathing suits being hardly suitable for traveling). They had suitcases, which they had expressed down to Cape May, but they were just as far from there as they were from home.

The doctor finally agreed to let them have the fare to Cape May, and, by helping the baggage master, they were allowed to ride in the baggage car in their scanty clothing.

It was Friday when they arrived and they had not had a real meal since Tuesday. A sympathetic friend filled them up on delicious griddle cakes, honey and coffee and they telegraphed home for money.

They were the most forlorn boys you could imagine. The blisters had broken and their shoulders and necks were raw. They had lost about 10 pounds and their faces were drawn and white with exhaustion. They simply fell into bed and slept two whole days, only waking long enough to eat.

They will never take another canoe trip. It took them a whole year to pay for the blankets they lost overboard, and they have been teased unmercifully. (You know yourself how you would hate that.)

Originally published in the Evansville (Indiana) Journal-News, March 3, 1918.
The King’s Dilemma

Time passes in Supposyville
So swiftly and so sweetly
’Tis just a wonder that they don’t
Lose track of it completely!

But what I started out to tell
Was of the strangest thing,
That happened not so long ago
To none less than the King.

The sun had just slipped down the steps
Of skytown, and the moon
Looked out her window yawning ’cause
She had to rise so soon.

The King was softly treading here
And there with bits of cake.
“The fairies of the garden now
Will soon begin to wake!”

He chuckled to himself, when all
At once, and in a ring,
Up from the ground a hundred of
The little people spring.

They lightly dance around him.
“Merry monarch, for your care
And thoughtfulness we grant to you
A wish—pray wish it fair!”

Then dropping at his feet a little
Note of blue that said,
“Open when you wish,” away
Into the dusk they sped.

Not knowing whether he had dreamed,
Down sat the kindly King
And thought and thought and thought and thought
And couldn’t find a thing

To wish for. “I will ask the Queen.”
They both sat down and thought.
“My dear,” thus spoke the Queen at last,
“’Tis clear we wish for naught!”

And though that may sound funny,
As doubtless now it will,
Remember what a happy place
Is old Supposyville!

“Let’s put the wish away until
It’s needed” laughed the King.
“That might offend the fairies,”
Said the Queen. “Suppose we bring

Our subjects all together and
Let every one suggest
A wish.” “Quite right,” the good King beamed,
“Of course that will be best!”

So lo! a wishing day’s proclaimed,
And if I am invited
I’ll tell you just what happens—my!
Supposyville’s excited! 
Copyright © 2022 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.