Sunday, December 1, 2002


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Woggle-Bug Book, The Woggle-Bug Sheet Music Book, etc.

From Baum's Our Landlady series. This episode originally published in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, December 27, 1890.

"I say, Kernel," shouted our landlady, at the head of the head of the front stairs, "if ye want to see wat's in your sock an' eat the pancakes while their [sic] smokin' jest rustle a little an' come down to breakfus'!"

"What's that?" demanded Tom, as he came down stairs, "has the Colonel been hanging up his stocking?"

"Nothing of the kind," growled the veteran, making his appearance, "don't let Mrs. Bilkins make a fool of you."

They entered the dining-room, and there, sure enough, was a military looking stocking hung by the mantel and bulging out in a suspicious way.

"Ahem!" remarked the Colonel, turning red, "where did that sock come from?"

"Well," replied our landlady, reluctantly, as she looked fondly upon the Colonel's manly form, "it might 'a come outer the mendin', but the presincts is from Santa Claus sure!"

"Open it," said the doctr, [sic] entering the room.

"Open it," laughed Tom, "and we'll see what the Saint has sent you."

The Colonel looked from one to the other with a puzzled air.

"If this is a brutal joke," he suggested, "someone will die, but if it is a kind remembrance of Mrs. Bilkins, why I'm bound to accept it gratefully."

Our landlady smiled and blushed, and blew her nose on her apron with an embarassed [sic] air.

"You know, Kernel," she murmured, "that you allus was my favrite; not as you pays your board so mighty reglar as you might, but you allus treats me as a gentleman should treat his landlady, an' I flatters myself I know a good man when I sees him."

The Colonel bowed mechanically.

"Examine it, do!" urged Tom, refering [sic] to the stocking, "for we're getting hungry."

The Colonel unpinned the neatly-mended sock and took out a small parcel which he opened with a trembling hand.

It contained a yellowish looking cigar which he laid upon the table and Tom pocketed promptly.

The next production was a gaily-decorated blotter, bearing the inscription

"If you love me
As I love you,
No nife shall cut
Our love in to."

Tom laughed, the doctor coughed and the Colonel wiped the perspiration from his brow and made another dive at the sock.

"This," said he, "must be meant for a pen-wiper."

"Nothing of the kind!" protested Tom, indignantly, "it's a lock of hair, and it looks awfully like Mrs. Bilkins'."

The colonel darted a fierce glance at him and dropped the memento into the coal hod. Our landlady stopped giggling and looked solemnly out of the window.

"Boys," said the colonel desperately, "let's postpone the rest till new years."

"By no means," replied the doctor, "I am very interested and you know 'hope deferred maketh the heart sick.' "

"An' there's no good doctor in the neighborhood to cure it," murmurred our landlady.

"Go on," said Tom, "I think the next is a doll."

"No," said the colonel, examining the article musingly, "it's a picture of Ed. Lowe."

"What on earth makes his pockets bulge out so?" inquired the doctor.

"I suppose," replied the colonel, "that he was still secretary of the county committee when that was taken."

"That 'air," broke in our landlady, "was all a mistake, I -- that is -- Santa Claus, must 'a got hold o' the wrong pictur in the dark."

"Then he should certainly apologize," said the colonel. "What's this?"

"That," replied our landlady, with interest, "is a great thing. You can use it fer a watch key, a can-opener, a manicure set, a bread toaster, a watch charm or a corkscrew. I bought it at 33 1/3 per cent off, an' -- "

"You bought it!" shouted the colonel. "Now let me ask you, madam, by what right you inflict blotters and cigars and watch charms and locks of hair upon an inoffensive man? Have I ever done anything to warrant -- "

But our landlady had flown to the kitchen, and when she came back with red eyes and a plate of steaming cakes a quarter of an hour afterwards, the donations of Santa Claus had disappeared and the doctor was reading the paper and Tom teasing the cat and the colonel looking out of the window with an air as if wholly unconscious of the late unpleasantness. For they all liked Mrs. Bilkins, and a truce had been patched up with the colonel -- at least until after breakfast was over.

"How did you like the Charity Ball?" inquired the doctor, as our landlady poured out the coffee.

"Well, it were considerable high jinks," she replied, as the sunshine of her smile broke through her clouded face (copyrighted), "but I didn't stay long because it were so mixed an' Cholly Howard jumped on my toe so hard that I could not dance another step. But Miss. Joneses hired gal she said she never had so much fun in her life, and there was all the high toned an' the low toned jest mixed up like a hasty puddin' fer sweet Charity's sake, an' the sassiety made a heap o' money, too, altho' some cranky ones said the orchestra got half the receipts an' Hazeltine half an' the poor the other half. I seed a good many there that I know ain't paid their board bills fer weeks, but as long as it were for charity they're excusable for blowing in a dollar that way."

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 18, 1917.

The Puzzle Corner

Hamor Michener is president of the club for February, and the rest of you will have to brush up or he will run off with the honors again.

Last week's answers were hare and calf, Jack London, excuse and Saint Valentine.

Here is an old riddle. I wonder whether you know it: "Why does the letter B in the word JUBILEE resemble a secret known only to us two?"

A word meaning uncooked
Spelled backward will give
An event of the century
In which we live?

[Answers next time. No presidency will be offered--this is a historical presentation of Thompson's writings.]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 1, 2002


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Ojo in Oz, The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa, etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 21, 1920.

Once upon a time there was a fairy disguised as a princess, who lived in a beautiful castle on Suntop Mountain, which is in a country a far distance from here.

But surrounding it there are many small kingdoms and many large kings, and as more than one of them suspected the castle of being built of gold, each was determined to wed the princess. Most any summer evening you could see them charging by dozens up the steep path to her palace.

But the princess seemed in no hurry at all to wed. She caused the band to play and waltzed merrily with them all, but as for marrying--"Who cared for that," said the princess. And so delightful was this adorable little lady that the kings could scarce find time to rule their kingdoms for galloping up the mountain, and they began to cast dark glances at one another and for very jealousy to talk of war.

"For," rumbled the king of the West to the king of the South, "If I cannot have her neither shall you, for I will march upon your castle and kill you with my golden spear."

"That we shall see," growled the king of the South, and it was not long before all the kings were quarreling together, which made the princess oh, so sorrowful.

"There must be no war," sighed the princess looking down at the fair country lying all around Suntop Mountain, and she thought and thought of a way to prevent it. And soon she had found a plan. That evening, when all the kings were assembled at her court, she promised that if they would all be friendly forevermore she would wed one of them--the one who proved himself by fair trial most worthy.

The kings were loath to agree at first, but as each one got to thinking how he himself might be the lucky fellow each decided to keep peace with the others forevermore, as the princess required of them. So it came about that on the next evening they all presented themselves at the palace to try for the princess' hand. And the test seemed surprisingly easy. "For whoever can blow three notes upon this silver trumpet him will I wed!" declared the princess.

The first king stepped forward proudly and took the trumpet.

"I am surely worthy of the princess," thought he, and seizing the trumpet he put it to his lips and blew with all his might, but nary a sound was heard. And so it went with one after the other till there was left but one more king to try. Not the richest nor handsomest king by any means, just a plain, honest-looking king with blue eyes.

"Never in the world am I worthy of so lovely a lady," murmured the young king sorrowfully, "but I must at least try." And while the other kings looked on sourly he took the silver trumpet. But before he put it to his lips he raised his eyes to the princess.

"By my own might alone never can I blow this trumpet," said the king, "but, if your highness permit, I will take her hand, for with her hand in mine, mayhap, it might be." The princess paled, but graciously extended her hand to the young king, and had no sooner done so than he blew lustily and such music as had never been heard in that land fell upon the astonished ears of the company.

"Him will I wed!" sighed the princess, "Because man by himself can accomplish many things, but man with the help of the woman he loves can accomplish all things. Of you all he is the only one who asked my help. Of you all he is most worthy. Him will I wed!"

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 11, 1917.

The Puzzle Corner

Mr. G. Ography was surprised that so many of you guessed his countries last week. Serbia, Tripoli and Peru were the correct answers. He did not send us any at all this week, so I was obliged to make up some myself. Now then:

What two animals are found in the human body?

What country's flag and city's name will give an American author?

What word have we here--X QQQQ?

What day is hidden in this sentence--"Nevin sat in late!"?

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 1, 2002


By Jack Snow
Author of The Magical Mimics of Oz, Spectral Snow, etc.

Originally published in Weird Tales, September 1927. 

Nerle stood for a moment in the window looking far down at the moonlit garden with its nodding, moist blossoms and lichenous, aged trunks. A moth flitted past his shoulder in search of flame. A rush of cool air swept around him, fluttering the window draperies. He was wrapped deep in thought, his mind far away, like an adventurer in strange lands. He stood on the very edge of the open window. Suddenly he felt himself falling--down--down. He closed his eyes to shut out the sight of the earth rushing toward him. A host of lights sped like comet-tails across his eyelids. He waited for the impact.

He was still falling--gently now--like an autumn leaf on a full, swelling breeze. Slowly he opened his eyes. The earth was only a few feet below him, he was floating toward it as gracefully as a feather loosened from the plumage of a bird. Now the tips of his toes touched the glistening, dew-beaded grass-blades and became moist and coolly damp with the crystal drops. And then just as his toes touched the grass he felt himself soaring high into the air again, rebounding as if he were the lightest of airy bubbles.

Far above the tops of the tallest trees he rose and floated on and on. How cool the breeze! How gently it caressed his tired body, as if it would soothe him into rest!

The earth lay far below him. He flew gracefully on through the silver darkness. At times he rolled on his back and watched the blue, peaceful heavens flow past him. The twinkling stars nodded as if all were understood between them and there were no mysteries at all. Again he lay with his face toward the dark, sleeping earth. How sad it looked and forsaken--the quiet, shell-like houses, the dim, deserted lanes and alleys, the feeble street lamps flickering, the melancholy trees sighing as the flowing wind plied their branches to and fro in a mournful revery and seemed to whistle a sorrowful accompaniment to its own melody as it swept around corners and rolled up hills and sank into vales!

All this Nerle saw as he flew on and on, and the flying was no effort, for he was a bit of the merest flotsam on a great soft sea. Once he passed over a town and swept low into the streets. Two men saw him and pointed and opened their mouths as if to shout in wonder, although Nerle heard no sound whatever. Again he circled around the belfry of an old church. The dust of the village lay thick on its stones, and as he swept past, three large bats fell from their perches and began swooping about in ever-increasing circles, their ribbed wings clicking through the wind like ghostly castanets.

He followed the liquid path of a stream whose waters were bathed in moonlight and leapt over mossy stones to leave them dripping with streams of the purest silver. He watched it farther on as it hurtled madly over a fall and dashed headlong onto the rocks below. He flew low enough to catch the cool spray in his face and listen to the roar of the waters and glimpse a silver fin leap for an instant from its depths.

Farther on, the stream widened into a lake, a placid, moonlit, shimmering lake, whose still surface rippled calmly in the breeze, hurried by no rushing current. Its edges were stagnant and fringed with round lily pads and tall, slim rushes with forms like young girls. The lake was peopled with water insects that scurried like bits of broken light over its glassy surface. From marshes came the voices of the stream animals--the nocturnal birds, the loons sorrowing and the chants of the devout frogs.

And all the while the breezes were fondling him, flowing over his naked body, tracing his shape, fluttering his hair and touching his eyelids with cool fingertips.

And then the sense of motion seemed to lull and become gradually slighter and slighter until Nerle seemed almost to be at rest. The heavens grew dim and the stars receded and glimmered like the minutest pin-points, far, far away in a remote background of nothingness. The earth became blackness and at times all was swallowed up in the blackness--earth, sky, heavens, Nerle and stars.

Nerle lay like a dead, motionless planet midway between the stars and the earth for some minutes. Then slowly he opened his eyes. He lay flat on his back in his narrow bed, gazing up at the ceiling.

So he had dreamed again. Yes, it was a dream, like those he had had many times before. Oh, the times he had flown! The times he had swung high above the earth in triumphant flight! And the still more numerous times his power was limited to short hops when he must return to the earth as if for momentum and fly only at broken intervals! He supposed everyone had dreams of this sort; he had found many accounts of them. King and beggar alike flew by night from the downy softness of velvet couches and the unyielding hardness of beds of stone.

And each time that Nerle had flown (and he had be-gun in his childhood), he had thought that surely this time he would remember after he awoke how he had done it. But always the mists and fogs of reality arose to ob-scure the revelation. There remained with him, however, the conviction that flight was as natural, as instinctive, as walking.

Tonight he had dreamed more perfectly, more vividly than ever before, and he had awakened while the dream was yet fresh and real. He was wide awake--and he re-membered! There was no doubting it, he remembered clearly, perfectly. He was not disturbed nor excited, he was entirely cool and calm. Well, why not? What else had he been expecting, waiting, hoping for? It dawned upon him that the only reason it had ever seemed difficult to fly was that he had not guessed its simplicity. How he would surprise his friends with his power! He lay staring solemnly and unblinkingly up at the ceiling.

For some time he lay motionless, his mind quivering with thought, and then he arose and crept from his bed. It was not yet morning and he could safely prove his power without fear of interference or detection.

He slipped his night-clothes from his body and stepped quietly to the window. He threw wide open the doors of the window and gazed out. It was just such a night as he had left. There was the slumbering garden; there, the tall, murmuring trees; there the starry heavens and the moon like a silver lady stepping among the twinkling flowers of her garden. Already the breeze was wrapping itself about his body, filling him with intolerable delight.

He stepped from the window. He fell horribly at first, as he had in his dream. He closed his eyes and a myriad tiny balls burst into flaming light. His bare toes touched the grass for an instant and then he soared aloft, high into the heavens. He opened his eyes. Ah, the bliss, the rapture of that flight! The floating in nothing, the contact with nothing; the complete, airy lightness; the relaxation of the strained muscles, and then the breeze--caressing, soothing, stroking, cool!

The faintest rosy glow was in the east, and toward it he was flying.

Early in the morning, just after dawn had broken, the old gardener who had some new rose-trees to set out under Nerle's window found the white, naked body of the sleep-walker lying on the ground beneath the window. It was moist and covered with the dews of the morning, which glistened like a magical cloak threaded with diamonds and possessed of miraculous power.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 4, 1917.

The Puzzle Corner

Mr. G. Ography's picture represented Lapland and hiding in Forgetful Poet's verses were forbear and negotiate, as many of you discovered for yourselves. Four prizes will be awarded at the end of each month to the boys and girls having the best puzzle record. Send in your answers to Mr. G. Ography, care of the Boys and Girls' Page.

The G. Ography man thought up these puzzles and the Forgetful Poet set them to verses:


My first's an appellation
Used to designate a man;
My next makes honey;
Next comes A--now guess me if you can!

My first you'll find a vegetable,
My last means to regret;
My whole's in South America--
Now have you guessed me yet?


My first means to trip
And my second is O--
My last means a meadow--
My whole you all know!

[Answers next time. Sorry, no prize or surprises will be awarded--this is merely a historical presentation of Thompson's writings.]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 1, 2002


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Giant Horse of Oz, King Kojo, etc.

Originally published in the King Comics issues 66 and 67, Oct. and Nov. 1941. 

The King and Queen of Plumpieland sat rocking placidly in the courtyard of Sturdicastle. The plum crop was gathered and ready for shipment and all the Plumpielanders were in excellent health and spirits, as well they might be. In this lush and lavish land everything grows seven times faster and larger than in neighboring countries, so that its flowers, fruits, vegetables and livestock are in constant demand, while its treasury overflows with good gold plumducats. It goes without saying that Plumpielanders live largely and well, and anyone weighing less than three hundred pounds is considered downright weak and puny.

The one difficulty in all this bigness was to find a husband whose fortune, importance, and poundage would match that of the royal princess, Vera Big! Queen Plumpsie and King Plumpadore had given the matter much thought and invited many titled visitors to Sturdicastle. But one glimpse of their big, beautiful four-hundred-pound daughter sent the young princes fairly galloping back to their homelands. Not her father's wealth nor half the kingdom would tempt them to wed this gorgeous, gigantic maiden. Only one royal visitor (and he, it must be admitted, had come unbidden) tarried to court the princess in real earnest. Tall, thin and waspish, a king in his own right, Tumbo had persisted in his attentions, but to no avail.

The rulers of Plumpieland were terribly impressed by his retinue, rank and the importance of Timbertonia, his mountain kingdom. The princess, however, regarded him with dislike if not positive aversion. The peasants of Plumpieland shared her distrust, muttering darkly that Tumbo was a wizard as well as a king, for strange tales had come filtering down from the goat herds on the mountain. After a month of frowns and rebuffs, Tumbo had taken himself off, and though he had promised to return and win the princess in spite of herself, nothing further had been heard of him. At first the King and Queen had been rather dashed to have Vera refuse so powerful a monarch. There did seem some danger of her not marrying at all, but the princess was so sweet-tempered and such a big help around the castle they did not worry too long, and it was of her they were talking on this bright summer morning. As they pondered a suitable birthday present for the dear child, a sudden darkening of the sky made them glance upward. Overhead soared a huge bird, casting its shadow over the entire courtyard. Before the royal couple could stir, a fiery ball dropped from its beak, exploding with such force that both rockers were blown backward and the Queen's plumpoodle was hurled into the fountain. By the time Plumpadore had got to his feet and rescued the Queen and her plumpoodle, servants and courtiers had come running from every direction.

"What was it? What happened? Have we been bombed?"

"By a bird? Nonsense!" croaked Foozle, the Wise Man of Plumpieland. "Beware, stand back there! Don't touch anything!" Then having frightened everyone else off, the old sage, with all his seven chins aquiver, leaned down and pulled a thin sheet of metal from the smoldering powder where the fiery ball had struck the earth. Letters, blackly burnt, spelled this menacing message:


"Rack and ruin! Oh my, hi-pie, what'll we do, Foozle?" wailed the King, beating his fat hands together.

"Do as it says," advised the Wise Man. "Fetch a king and have him wed the princess at once."

"What king?" roared Plumpadore dismally.

"Why not Tumbo?" proposed Foozle craftily. "Dispatch a courier immediately! We'll just have time to bring Tumbo back before nightfall."

"Right!" agreed Plumpadore. At this moment, however, the princess herself rushed out. When she heard the news, she put her left foot down so hard on her father's right he limped for weeks afterward.

"I won't do it!" declared Vera Big. "I'll not marry that wretch, even to save Plumpieland."

"Now look!" One of the guards, reading the message over Foozle's shoulder, plucked him sharply by the sleeve. "It does not say Tumbo or any special king, so why not find a king the princess will marry?"

"Where are there any?" groaned Plumpadore, hopping 'round on one foot and punctuating his hops with little moans.

"Well," explained the guard backing uneasily away from the princess, "there's a poorish kingdom to the south of here called Rockbottom, with a bachelor king, name of Jonathan, and as nice a fella as if he weren't no king at all. I met him one day a-hunting."

"All right, then. Fetch this Jonathan!" commanded Plumpadore. "Surely," he wheezed, turning pleadingly to his daughter, "surely you'll make some sacrifice to save your poor old father and the country?"

"That," said Vera stoutly, "depends on Jonathan."

Looking very glum, the guards marched off to the south. And, looking very determined, the princess marched back into the castle.

"Here! I say now, what is the meaning of this?" Suddenly set upon by two tremendous Plumpielander guards, King Jonathan, who'd been snoozing comfortably beneath an oak tree, woke with an indignant start and jerked about in an effort to free himself. "Unhand me, ruffians!" he panted angrily. And taking a long breath, he tried to whistle for help. But a huge hand was clapped over his mouth. Pushing King Jonathan ahead of them and followed by thirty more of Plumpadore's henchmen, the two guards set off at a run for the border. It was useless for anyone to struggle with these five-hundred pounders, so King Johnny, being somewhat of a philosopher, bore it all with what grace he could.

"Stop pulling back, can't ye? `Tis a great honor as awaits y'r Majesty," grunted Terry Blee Blue, the guard on the right.

"Aye, come along or we'll be late for the wedding," urged Notso Blue, the guard on the left.

"Oh, so this is an invitation to a wedding!" muttered Johnny, relieved to think it was nothing worse.

"In a manner, yes," admitted Terry Blee Blue grimly. So, hustled and dragged along in the midst of the guards, the puzzled young monarch arrived about noon at Sturdicastle. In the courtyard, against a bank of ferns and flowers, stood the bishop, the King, the Queen, and all the courtiers. As it was Jonathan's first glimpse of his enormous neighbors, he was completely overcome and too astonished to speak a word.

"I trust your Highness will pardon the suddenness of this summons," began Plumpadore, advancing pompously. Pulling down his frayed sleeves as the guards cautiously released him, King Johnny met the sovereign's gaze with a stern and calm disapproval. "Fact is," Plumpy stuttered, throwing caution and etiquette to the winds, "we've had dark and threatening tidings this morning. Unless our royal daughter marries a king before dark, Plumpieland is as good as ruined. And, er--er, you, sir, being the nearest and most eligible-" Plumpadore hesitated a little as he noted the plain and shabby coat of Rockbottom's ruler, "--er, you have been chosen for this great honor."

"Hm-mmmm!" King Johnny rubbed his chin more than dubiously. "And where is your royal daughter?"

"Here!" Emerging from the castle, Vera Big trod majestically out into the courtyard. To hide his alarm, Johnny bowed.

"And does the princess agree to this marriage?" he asked gravely.

"If there is no other way to save Plumpieland, yes," said Vera Big, peeping from under her lashes at the tall, handsome stranger and beginning to think marriage might not be such a hardship after all.

"May I ask who threatens this fair kingdom with ruin and so on?" Folding his arms, Johnny looked inquiringly `round. So Foozle, who'd felt left out up to now, hurried forward with the blackened sheet of metal, explaining in short breathless sentences how it had been dropped into the courtyard. Johnny read the message carefully twice through. "It says here that Vera Big must marry before dark tonight. Well then--" The King of Rockbottom smiled cheerfully and handed the message back to the Wise Man. "Let there be no dark tonight. No dark tonight, no rack and ruin! Am I clear? Light all the lamps in the streets and on the highways, all the candles in cottages and in the castle. Keep them burning till morning."

"Why, that--why that is a superb solution!" Relief swept the lines of worry from Plumpadore's round face. "Guards! Guards!" he shouted. "Ride through the towns and villages. See that fires are lit at sundown, keep processions with torches marching on top of the city walls!"

"This is taking a dreadful chance, if you ask me." Foozle wagged his head dismally, disgusted to think he had not thought up such a trick himself. "When a message comes by magic, heed it well, say I!" Noting the King and Queen were beginning to waver, King Johnny rubbed his chin hard and then spoke again.

"Let the princess marry by all means," he urged heartily, "but let her marry one of her own countrymen. Rockbottom is small and unimportant and I myself am neither rich nor famous enough for her Plumpieland Highness.

Is there no one in the country you fancy, my dear?" Astonished by this frank question, the princess unconsciously glanced at a stalwart young courtier standing near her father. Quick to catch this glance, Johnny strode confidently forward. "Now this young nobleman seems to me in every way a desirable husband for your royal daughter."

"But you forget he is not a king," faltered Plumpadore, avoiding Vera's pleading eye.

"Oh, that's soon remedied!" Johnny snapped his fingers airily. "All your Majesty need do is abdicate and name this--er--"

"Dukeof Wopping," grinned the enormous youth, edging closer to Vera Big.

"--wopping duke as your successor," proceeded Johnny gaily. "Then Wopping marries the princess today. Tomorrow he abdicates and you have your kingdom back. How's that?"

"Why--why, it's WUN-derful!" exclaimed Plumpadore. "You agree to abdicate tomorrow, my dear Wopping?"

"Absolutely!" cried Wopping, seizing Vera's big hand. Well, after that things happened so fast even Johnny was surprised at the forces he had set in motion. First and foremost and in the presence of the entire court, Plumpadore abdicated and placed his crown on the duke's head. Then, moving forward ponderously, as became the Bishop of Plumpieland, this dignitary performed the royal marriage. The new King had just set a large kiss upon the cheek of his bride when a clatter of hoofs announced a new arrival in the courtyard. It was Tumbo, dressed with extreme care and accoutered with great elegance.

"I have only just heard the shocking news," cried Tumbo, dismounting with more speed than grace. "May I offer my services in this dark hour? Only a king can save you from this impending disaster, I understand."

"A king has saved us; two kings, in fact," announced Plumpadore with a sidelong glance at Johnny. "And one as you see, has just married my daughter."

"Mm--married your daughter!" Aghast, the ruler of Timbertonia stopped in his tracks, aware for the first time of the bluff and confident figure standing so proudly beside Vera Big, a figure moreover wearing the Crown of the Realm.

"I have just abdicated in my son-in-law's favor," murmured Plumpadore with a bland wave of the hand. "Have some cake, my dear Tumbo, or perhaps a glass of wine?"

"Wine!" With a strangled oath that made the great ladies of the court clap their hands to their ears, Tumbo leaped on his horse and galloped furiously away. King Jonathan, after congratulating the happy pair, was about to make a more discreet exit when Plumpadore bore anxiously down upon him.

"Wait! Wait! I must know you better," puffed the ex-king of Plumpieland, clutching Johnny by the sleeve. "I believe Tumbo was at the bottom of this whole affair! How else would he have heard so soon or arrived so opportunely to save us?"

"I agree with you," declared Johnny, readily enough. "Whether the King of Timbertonia is a wizard or not, he could easily have camouflaged an airplane to resemble a gigantic bird, and dropping a small bomb from its bill would be a simple matter indeed. Since the fellow could not win your daughter by fair means, he quite evidently resorted to fowl!"

"Ha, ha, HA!" roared Plumpadore, laughing so hard he fairly gasped for breath. "I never met a cleverer fellow than yourself."

"I thank your Majesty," smiled Johnny, who was of the same opinion as the King. "But now I must really be gettting back to Rockbottom. I left, as you doubtless will recall, in a great hurry, and there are matters there requiring my attention."

"Not yet! Not yet!" implored Plumpadore. "Stay at least till tomorrow. Wopping may refuse to abdicate, you know, and then where would I be?" he whispered fearfully.

"Very well off," grinned Johnny, "but I believe you alarm yourself needlessly. Yon duke is as honest as plum cake and you will never have cause to regret this day. Nor will you, come to think of it, ever enjoy another day like this. Since you are not a king today, come visit me in Rockbottom and we'll be as carefree as a couple of commoners."

"You are simply full of splendid ideas," beamed Plumpieland's ex-ruler. He snapped his fingers for the royal coach and when it arrived he stepped in, pulling Johnny after him. In the confusion and hilarity following Vera Big's wedding, they rolled off unnoticed, and never in his large and luxurious life had Plumpadore spent a gayer afternoon and evening. A bit of fishing, a spot of hunting, supper in the shabby game room of Rockbottom's old castle, with barrels of good ale and a roistering chorus of hearty huntsmen to sing the country's songs!

"I'll be back," promised Plumpieland's ex-king as he climbed regretfully into his coach next morning. "I'll be back, and SOON!"

He was, too, for thus began a friendship between two kings and two countries as unlike as butter and salt. Yet how well these two ingredients go in a sauce.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 28, 1917.

The Forgetful Poet

Mr. G. Ography has sent us a picture this week. He says it represents a country. How many of you can find it on the map?

What Country Does This Represent

And of course we could not do without a few riddles from the Forgetful Poet.

A word meaning to be patient,
Two plus two and after that
An animal well known--
Will give a word you've often heard
But seldom used, I'll own!

My first's a part of the body,
A part that begins with K.
My next is used when we depart.
My third we always say
Referring to a woman,
And my last is 5 plus 3,
And adding all together you
Will have the whole of me.

Last week's answers were: Bread, orange, calendar, and Delaware River.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 1, 2002


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Woggle-Bug Book, The Woggle-Bug Sheet Music Book, etc.

Originally published in The Russ (a publication of San Diego High School), San Diego, California, June, 1905.

I do not know exactly what naughty thing Princess Nelebel had done. Perhaps she had been making eyes at the Gnomes - which all fairies are forbidden to do. Anyway, she had been guilty of something so sadly unfairy-like, that her punishment was of a grievous nature. She was no more to inhabit the palace of the Fairy Queen, in the beautiful forest of Burzee--she was not even to live in Burzee at all, at least for a hundred years--but was condemned to banishment and exile in the first land she might come to, after crossing the ocean to the eastward.

Really, Nelebel must have done more than merely make eyes at the Gnomes; for the punishment she incurred was something awful. Yet the sweet, dainty little fairy could not have been very wicked, I am sure; for she was not the only one that wept when she prepared to leave Burzee, with its hosts of immortals, to take residence in some dreary, unknown land across the seas.

Of course, the beautiful fairy was not to go unattended, even into exile. Queen Lulea appointed forty of the crooked wood-knooks, and forty of the sprightly field-ryls, and forty of the monstrous gigans to accompany and protect Nelebel in her new home. The knooks, you know, are the immortals that make the trees and shrubs grow and thrive; and the ryls feed the flowers and grasses, and color them brilliantly with their brushes and paint-pots. As for the gigans, they were only strong and faithful.

On a fine morning, while the eyes of her old comrades were all wet with sorrowful tears, Princess Nelebel waved her wand and vanished with her little band from Burzee, to begin that exile which had been decreed, in punishment of her fault.

Although I have examined the Records of Fairyland with great care, I do not find anywhere the slightest reference to that journey of Nelebel across the great ocean; which leads me to believe the flight was so instantaneous, that there was no time for anything to happen; or else the journey was too unimportant to need recording.

But we know that she came to a strip of beach both rocky and sandstrewn--a barren waste, gently washed by the waves of the mighty Pacific--and that her first act, upon setting foot on this shore, was to throw herself flat upon the ground and sob until the very earth shook with the tremor of his wild expression of grief and loneliness.

The forty knooks squatted about her, silent and scowling. These creatures are very kindhearted, in spite of their ugly crookedness, and they scowled because the lovely princess was so sad. The restless ryls, sorrowful but busy, pattered around and touched the knolls and hills, here and there, with their magic fingers. So presently the brown earth and yellow sands were covered with emerald grasses, wherein banks of fragrant roses and gorgeous poppies nestled. And, as Nelebel wriggled around in the abandon of her grief, her fair head finally rested upon a mass of blooming flowers, and their touch soothed her. And sweet grasses brushed and cooled her tearstained cheeks, till under their comforting influence she fell asleep. And upon her fell the warm rays of the kindliest sun that any country has ever known--or ever will know--and brought to the little maid forgetfulness of all her woes.

The crooked knooks, noting the transformations effected by the busy ryls, seemed suddenly to become ashamed of their own sullen inaction. They sprang up and bestirred themselves; and when they do this, something is bound to happen. Before long their masterful art had evoked a grove of graceful palms, which now, for the first time, vanquished the barrenness of this neglected coast, and gave the evening zephyrs something to play with. When the sun wooed the sleeping fairy too warmly, the palms threw their shadows over her; but the breeze crept low and kissed her brow and whispered lovingly into her pink ears. And Nelebel smiled, and sighed, and slumbered sweetly.

But what do you suppose the gigans were doing all this time? Where do you imagine they disposed of their enormous bodies, that the repose of their wee mistress might not be disturbed? From all accounts those gigans were the largest of all beings ever known, and even the giants that Jack killed must have been mere pygmies beside them. I am informed that seventy-four years, five months and eight days after the events I am recording, Queen Lulea, becoming annoyed at the awkwardness of the huge gigans, transformed them into rampsies--the smallest of all immortals. So there are no gigans at all, in these days.

Well, while Princess Nelebel was sleeping away her grief on the brow of the hill,* her forty gigans were squatting in the sand of the beach, close to the water's edge. And here, idly amusing themselves, the big fellows began digging in the sand--just as children do now-adays. They scooped up huge mountains of sand at every handful and tossed it out into the sea; and this soon built up a ridge of land between them and the ocean, while the hollow they made filled up with seawater and became an inland lake. When, in their digging, they came across a rock, they tossed it to the north of them; and thus was formed the promontory we now know as Point Loma. Then these playful gigans--not knowing they were changing the geography of a country--heaped piles of rock and sand and earth to the southward, forming those peaks, known to future ages as the San Bernardino range of mountains. And one of the gigans, finding the inland lake was now deep enough, stretched out an arm and hollowed a trench against the side of Point Loma, that soon connected the lake with the ocean, thus creating a bay that is now world famous.**

What more those tremendous gigans might have accomplished, is uncertain. The ryls and knooks had, until now, been too busy to interfere with their big comrades' pastimes. But, at this moment, Nelebel awoke and sat up, and gave a little cry of delight.

All about her spread a carpet of green grass, inlaid with exquisite patterns of wild flowers. Gracious pepper and eucalyptus trees nodded to her a pleasant greeting. At her feet lay the beautiful bay, its wave-tips sparkling like millions of diamonds. And, while Nelebel gazed, a sun of golden red sank toward the rugged head of Loma and touched it with a caressing good-night kiss.

The exiled fairy, turning with indrawn breath to gaze upon the purple and rose tints of the mountains, clapped her pretty hands in an ecstacy of joy, and cried to her faithful servants:

"Here is a new Fairyland, my friends! and to me it is far more lovely than the dark and stately groves of old Burzee. What matters our exile, when the beauties of this earthly paradise are ours to enjoy?"

They are silent people--these knooks and ryls and gigans--so they did not bother to tell Princess Nelebel, that the magic of busy hands and loving hearts had made a barren waste beautiful to soothe her sorrow. Instead, they contended themselves with bowing mutely before their mistress.

But Nelebel wished a response to her enthusiasm.

"Speak!" she commanded. "Is it not, indeed, a new Fairyland?"

So now a crooked, scarred and grey-bearded knook made bold to answer:

"Wherever the fairest of the fairies dwells," said he, "that place must be Fairyland." Whereat she smiled; for even fairies love compliments.

The Records, after dwelling long upon the beauties of this favored spot (which, long afterward, was called "Coronado"), relate the grief of Nelebel when her term of exile expired, and she was compelled to leave it. But the charm of her fairy presence still lingers over land and sea, and to this day casts its influence upon the lives of those pilgrims who stray, by good fortune, into the heart of Nelebel's Fairyland.

* Now called Florence Heights.

** The Bay of San Diego.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 21, 1917.

The Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet sent us some puzzles, for he is convinced that you like his puzzles just as much as you do Mr. G. Ography's--and here THEY are:

It rises, not to bow, though,
'Tis needed in two ways;
'Tis known where'ere a man can go
And all men sound its praise?

Round like a ball,
Gold like the sun,
With little white fairies
In every one?

It isn't a soldier,
And yet it marks time,
'Tis good but a year,
And it costs but a dime!

My first rhymes with well,
And my second is A,
My third stands for merchandise,
What river, pray?

Last week's answers were Monterey, the Sea of Marmora and New Orleans.

Send in your answers to Mr. G. Ography and the boy or girl having the best puzzle record for the month will be surprised, and so will the second best puzzle guesser. So far Hamor Michener is ahead.

[Answers next time. No prize or surprises will be offered--this is merely a historical presentation of Thompson's writings.]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 1, 2002


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Hungry Tiger Of Oz, King Kojo, etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, October 19, 1919.

There was once upon a time a merry knight, whose fortune had been used up in the entertainment of himself and his friends. His castle, badly in need of repairs--lacking the store of cheer to which he was accustomed--seemed so dismal and his outlook so mean that the miserable fellow plunged from the wall into the river.

Down, down, down went the knight and supposed himself to be well drowned and through with life. What was his surprise to find himself before a golden palace, guarded by two sea serpents. Even then he fancied himself dreaming or in the strange country of the dead.

Just then the gates opened and the most beautiful girl the knight had ever seen bade him enter. Looking with some trepidation at the sea serpents, the knight stepped through the door and it shut behind him.

Taking off his plumed helmet (sadly draggled by the water), he followed the girl through magnificent halls to a jeweled chamber, where the king and queen of the river sat upon their thrones.

Sir Garen fell upon his knees, overcome by the splendor of his surroundings, and asked in tremulous tones where he was. The maiden smiled and bade his rise, and she told him that she was the king's daughter, and the king and queen smiled, and everything was so pleasant that the knight regained his composure.

Really, dears and ducks, he was a delightful sort of a knight, in spite of his improvidence (which word I hope you understand). The king's daughter, who had no one to talk with except fish and odd sorts of sea urchins, was charmed.

A great feast was spread in his honor, and they made merry till sun came up out of the river. Still the king's daughter was not tired. He told her all about the earth people and sang many songs to while away the time.

The king and queen, pleased to see their daughter so happy, begged him to stay as long as he could, and with various winks and nods made him understand that he might stay as their son-in-law had he a mind to.

The knight had almost resolved to marry the river princess, when one evening she gave him the key to the treasure room.

"Take as much as you please!" she laughed, bidding him good-night. Sir Garen wandered about among the chests of gold and jewels and a great homesickness seized him.

"My castle could be restored and my fortunes retrieved by but a handful of these," he murmured to himself. Next thing he had filled his pockets and helmet and doublet with jewels. He tiptoed through the golden halls, but every one was in bed. With a shudder, as he thought of the sea serpents, he opened the castle door and, closing his eyes, stepped out into the river. Princess, promises, everything was forgotten.

Up like a shot went the knight to the surface of the water. Puffing and blowing he scrambled ashore and secretly entered his castle.

What a rejoicing among his friends and retainers took place next day! What feasting and singing and delight at the merry knight's return!

Where he had been, or how his fortune had been mended, Sir Garen never told, and plunging into his old merry ways he soon forgot himself all about the river maiden.

Six months later he had won the hand of a neighboring duke's daughter, and the wedding guests assembled in hundreds at his castle. All is in readiness, the bishop opens his book, the knight takes his lady's hand. Then, up with a roar rose the river and came thundering over the wall.

Castle, guests, knight and lady--where are they? Swept into the angry current and nothing remains of Sir Garen's castle or domain. "He who breaks faith with the river people will repent!" Carved on a stone, the only mark of the knight's castle, stand these words. And that is all of the story.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 14, 1917.

Some Puzzle Nuts to Crack

Mr. G. Ography, who is spending the month of January somewhere in Mexico, has sent us a few puzzles--so we can start the new year right--he says. "Wits, like pencils, lose their points and puzzles, like penknives, are great sharpeners!" That is how he ended his letter, the queer old fellow. And here are his puzzles:

Yet--me--nor. Rearrange to make a city of Mexico.

A word that means additional
Preceded by a word
That means to spoil, plus a, will give
A sea of which we've heard?

Answer my questions,
And in a row
They'll spell a city
I'm sure you know.
What is that which
Is not old?
What's another name
For gold?
When something bends,
A word that means
The same we often use
It ----?

The Forgetful Poet said that a road wound up and ran down and was brown, and that resolutions and promises were made and broken easily this time o' year, and that the animals he used when he wrote a letter were the deer and seal--one at the beginning and one at the end. He said his umbrella went up the chimney down, for, of course, it wouldn't go up UP! Ha, ho! Send in your answers to Mr. G. Ography, care of the Boys and Girls' page, and the boy or girl having the best puzzle record for the month will be president of the puzzle club and will also receive a prize.

[Answers next time. No prize will be offered--this is merely a historical presentation of Thompson's writings.]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 1, 2002


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 1904

[In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the musical extravaganza The Wizard of Oz on June 16, 1902, in Chicago, Illinois, Hungry Tiger Press is proud to present this rare Oz story by William Wallace Denslow, original illustrator of the book the musical was based on and designer of several costumes of the principal characters. This story treats the Oz characters as if they are actually performing their roles in the show during its smash Broadway run in New York City. The roles were actually played by Fred Stone (the Scarecrow) and David Montgomery (the Tinman). This former vaudeville comedy team rocketed to stardom in The Wizard of Oz, and the popularity of their character interpretations resulted in the long series of Oz books.]

"It is a shame, said the Scare-crow to the Tin-man, one afternoon as they were resting after the performance, here we are working day after day, night after night to amuse the children, and we haven t time for any fun ourselves. I'm going to strike, I am."

"That's so," said the Tin-man, "we haven't had a vacation in two years."

"Say--let's break out and wake up the town," replied the Scare-crow. "Come on."

So, while the manager was counting his money, the Scare-crow and the Tin-man quietly stole out of the stage door and ran down the street, greatly to the surprise of the stage doorkeeper, who told the manager that the stars had run away.

There was a great hubbub back of the scenes when they found that the Scare-crow and the Tin-man had fled.

The police were notified and searchers were sent everywhere to catch the truants, for the evening performance could not go on without them.

Meanwhile the runaway pair were having a wild, jolly time in the old town.

They ran until they thought they were safe from pursuit, and then jumped on a street car to get as far from the theater as they could in a short time.

"Fare," said the conductor.

"What's that?" asked the Scare-crow.

"Pay your money or get off!" said the conductor.

The Scare-crow and the Tin-man laughed at the idea of anyone wanting money from them.

"We haven't any," said the Tin-man.

"Then off you go!" and the conductor tossed the two from the car.

"That Tin-man had a hard face," said an old lady near the door.

Bang! went the Tin-man and the Scare-crow into a banana and apple stand kept by an Italian on the corner, as they came off the car in a hurry.

Down went the stand, fruit and the two friends into the gutter.

Of course the banana man was angry, and talked loudly in broken English.

Away the two friends flew down the street with the angry banana man after them, calling loudly for his pay for the spoiled fruit.

"Everybody seems to want money," said the Scare-crow, as he jumped into an automobile that was standing by the curb. In tumbled the Tin-man, and away they dashed, leaving the Italian waving his arms wildly on the corner.

"This is great," said the Scare-crow.

"It beats the theater all to pieces," replied the Tin-man, as they fairly flew over the avenue at a reckless pace.

"Hi! Stop there," shouted a bicycle policeman. "You are going too fast."

But they only waved him a tra-la as they sped along.

The policeman blew a loud blast on his whistle, and the auto was hemmed in and surrounded by policemen just as the Scare-crow steered the machine into a mortar bed in front of a new building.

The automobile turned a complete somersault, scattering mortar, brick and sand in all directions over the policemen and the crowd that was collecting.

At this stage the auto commenced to sizzle and suddenly blew up sending our friends high in the air.

One of the policemen turned in an alarm, and the fire-engines were soon on the spot to put out the fire on the auto, and taking advantage of the confusion the two friends dodged down an alley, out on another street and were soon far away.

By and by they found themselves in Madison Square near the fountain, when a man carelessly threw a lighted match directly in to the straw that was sticking out of the Scare-crow's chest and set him in a blaze.

The Tin-man seeing this danger, with rare presence of mind caught up his friend and dumped him into the fountain, but in doing so he stumbled and fell in himself.

Now, what was good for the Scare-crow was not good for the Tin-man, and after they had crawled out of the water he began to rust, and as he had left his oil-can at the theater, he was soon stiff in all his joints, so that the Scare-crow had to help him along.

Just then they heard a voice behind them say, "There they are; arrest them."

It was the voice of the manager who was hunting them with a squad of policemen.

There was no escape, as the Tin-man was so rusty by this time that he could scarcely move, and the happy pair were soon hustled into a patrol wagon and given a ride to the station.

When they came before the judge, and he had heard the complaint of the manager, he sentenced the Scare-crow and the Tin-man to another year in the theater to make fun for the children.

"That's all right," said the Scare-crow. "We have had out little fun and it's all right. We go back with pleasure."

The Scare-crow oiled up the Tin-man so that he was as good as ever, and got some new straw to swell out his own chest, and the two friends shone with new luster at the evening performance that night. The children laughed as they had never laughed before at the droll antics of the Scare-crow and the Tin-man.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 7, 1917.

The Forgetful Poet Says

That he supposes by now you know just what was in the toe of your Christmas stocking--so he won't have to tell you (Ahem--as if he knew)--and the rest of the answers, he says, were plum pudding, Santa Claus and the North Pole and charm, which turned about equals March--a far from charming month.

If you were writing a letter, what animal would you begin it with, and what animal would you end it with? My goodness! I did not think we would need any--but he says we do.

What Is It?

That winds up
And runs down--
No--'tisn't a top,
And it's dusty brown.


This time o' year--
What's quickly made
And quickly broken--
Forgotten soon as
It is spoken?


What can go up the chimney down?

{Answers next time}

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 1, 2002


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Woggle-Bug Book, The Woggle-Bug Sheet Music Book, etc.

An episode from the Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz comic page, February 26, 1905.
[This story takes place during the visit of a group of Oz characters to the United States of America.]

The Wogglebug is greatly interested in American customs, yet our ways are sometimes difficult for him to understand.

The other day, in walking down the street, he came upon a beggar sitting silently at the edge of the curb. His limbs and body were bent and twisted, his clothing was old and ragged and his face expressed considerable misery. In his hand he held a tin cup, extended invitingly toward those who passed by.

The Wogglebug watched the beggar with much interest. A newsboy, who had sold out his stock, came along and cheerfully dropped a penny into the tin cup; a prosperous-looking gentleman passed by and never saw it; several ladies, nicely dressed and wearing diamonds and jewels, gave contemptuous glances at the beggar and passed on; a bartender, clothed in loud checks, rattled a silver quarter into the cup and a shop girl jumped on the car and gave the beggar the nickel which the conductor had neglected to collect from her.

Then for a time the people streamed past without seeming to know the beggar was there.

"It's a great shame," thought the Wogglebug, "that so few people take notice of this poor man and give him alms. I'll see if I cannot help him."

Then he ran to a big hardware store, and by leaving his watch for security (for he had no money) managed to borrow from the proprietor four large and bright tin cups. With these he returned to where the beggar sat, and holding one of the cups in each of his four hands he began rattling them noisily one against another, and crying out: "Help the poor, good people! Please help the poor!"

People stopped to stare wonderingly at the Wogglebug, and then laughingly began to rain pennies and nickels into his tin cups. If afforded them much amusement to see the four-handed, highly magnified insect thrusting his four cups in four directions at once, and when people are amused they are usually quite willing to pay for it. Before long the cups became so full that the Wogglebug had to empty them into the pockets of the beggar; and then he began to fill them anew.

For hours the generous Wogglebug stood there collecting coins for the miserable beggar, whose countenance seemed to grow more and more sad and pitiful as his wealth increased. But by and by evening came on and the crowds grew thinner, because so many people had gone home to supper. And now every pocket the beggar possessed was bulging with the weight of the money the Wogglebug had collected.

"These American people are not really uncharitable," said the insect. "I think the reason they did not stop to give you alms was because they failed to notice you sitting here by the curb."

"Oh, that's all right," answered the beggar, speaking quite cheerfully and for the first time. "Business is usually pretty good on this corner, but I have never known it half as good as it was to-day. I think I'll go home to dinner. Much obliged to you, I'm sure."

To the Wogglebug's surprise he straightened out his crooked limbs and slowly rose to his feet.

"A fellow gets cramped sitting like that all day," he remarked. "Here is my card; come and call on me some evening. I'll be glad to see you."

He thrust a soiled card into the Wogglebug's hand and walked away with scarcely a limp.

"Clever fellow, that," remarked a policeman, as the Insect gazed wonderingly after the beggar's departing form. "He's one of the syndicate, you know."

"What's that?" asked the Wogglebug.

"Why, the beggars' syndicate have all the good corners in the city, and pay us to let them stay here and keep the other fellows out. It's a pretty good business, too, and some of 'em get pretty rich. Why, only last week I was invited to the 'Blind and Crippled Beggars' Ball,' that was held in Turner Hall, and they were dressed just as gay as the Barbers' Ball the week before."

"But it's a shame and an imposition!" declared the Wogglebug, indignantly, "to solicit alms from the public when help is not needed!"

"Perhaps it is," answered the policeman, reflectively, "but it does the public a heap of good, too. Many a person drops a nickel into a tin cup and feels good all day because he's dome something generous. Lots of times it's real charity, too. They aren't all frauds, you know. I've thought it all over, and I believe the beggars a good thing, for they encourage the people to kind actions, and my experience with people is that they need just that sort of encouragement."

"Perhaps you are right," said the Wogglebug, and he carried the cups back to the hardware store and redeemed his watch.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 24, 1916.

The Forgetful Poet's Christmas Puzzles

The very first puzzle I'm certain none of you can answer and the Forgetful Poet says he is SURE you can't. Here it is then:

What is in the toe of your Christmas stocking?

And what is--
Round like the earth
And full of -----?
Which you will find
To rhyme with thumbs?

What place and person are mixed up in this comical sentence: Can A help salt us or not?

What word of five letters equals a month that is windy?

Although he was in a good bit of a hurry, I managed to get last week's answers from him. The people Mr. G. Ography meant were: A Chinaman, an Irishman, an Englishman, an Italian, a German, an Eskimo, a Dutchman and an Arab. The vegetable that spells a month backward is yam (May) and the words left out of the verses--list and got.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved. 

For more books about the Wogglebug, click on these links:
The Woggle-Bug Book
The Woggle-Bug Sheet Music Book

Monday, April 1, 2002


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Woggle-Bug Book, etc.

From American Fairy Tales, 1901.

Jim was the son of a cowboy, and lived on the broad plains of Arizona. His father had trained him to lasso a broncho or a young bull with perfect accuracy, and had Jim possessed the strength to back up his skill he would have been as good a cowboy as any in all Arizona.

When he was twelve years old he made his first visit to the east, where Uncle Charles, his father's brother, lived. Of course Jim took his lasso with him, for he was proud of his skill in casting it, and wanted to show his cousins what a cowboy could do.

At firs the city boys and girls were much interested I n watching Him lasso posts and fence pickets, but they soon tired of it, and even Jim decided it was not the right sort of sport for cities.

But one day the butcher asked Jim to ride one of his horses into the country, to a pasture that had been engaged, and Jim eagerly consented. He had been longing for a horseback ride, and to make it seem like old times he took his lasso with him.

He rode through the streets demurely enough, but on reaching the open country roads his spirits broke forth into wild jubilation, and, urging the butcher's horse to full gallop, he dashed away in true cowboy fashion.

Then he wanted still more liberty, and letting down the bars that led into a big field he began riding over the meadow and throwing his lasso at imaginary cattle, while he yelled and whooped to his heart's content.

Suddenly, on making a long cast with his lasso, the loop caught upon something and rested about three feet from the ground, while the rope drew taut and nearly pulled Jim from his horse.

This was unexpected. More than that, it was wonderful; for the field seemed bare of even a stump. Jim's eyes grew big with amazement, but he knew he had caught something when a voice cried out:

"Here, let go! Let go, I say! Can't you see what you've done?"

No. Jim couldn't see, nor did he intend to let go until he found out what was holding the loop of the lasso. So he resorted to an old trick his father had taught him and, putting the butcher's horse to a run, began riding in a circle around the spot where his lasso had caught.

As he thus drew nearer and nearer his quarry he saw the rope coil up, yet it looked to be coiling over nothing but air. One end of the lasso was made fast to a ring in the saddle, and when the rope was almost wound up and the horse began to pull away and snort with fear, Jim dismounted. Holding the reins of the bridle in one hand, he followed the rope, and an instant later saw an old man caught fast in the coils of the lasso.

His head was bald and uncovered, but long white whiskers grew down to his waist. About his body was thrown a loose robe of fine white linen. In one hand he bore a great scythe, and beneath the other arm he carried an hourglass.

While Jim gazed wonderingly upon him, this venerable old man spoke in an angry voice:

"Now, then--get that rope off as fast as you can! You've brought everything on earth to a standstill by your foolishness! Well--what are you staring at? Don't you know who I am?"

"No," said Jim, stupidly.

"Well, I'm Time--Father Time! Now, make haste and set me free--if you want the world to run properly."

"How did I happen to catch you?" asked Jim, without making a move to release his captive.

"I don't know. I've never been caught before," growled Father Time. "But I suppose it was because you were foolishly throwing your lasso at nothing."

"I didn't see you," said Jim.

"Of course you didn't. I'm invisible to the eyes of human beings unless they get within three feet of me, and I take care to keep more than that distance away from them. That's why I was crossing this field, where I supposed no one would be. And I should have been perfectly safe his it not been for your beastly lasso. Now, then," he added, crossly, "are you going to get that rope off?"

"Why should I?" asked Jim.

"Because everything in the world stopped moving the moment you caught me. I don't suppose you want to make an end of all business and pleasure, and war and love, and misery and ambition and everything else, do you? Not a watch has ticked since you tied me up here like a mummy!"

Jim laughed. It really was funny to see the old man wound round and round with coils of rope from his knees up to his chin.

"It'll do you good to rest," said the boy. "From all I've heard you lead a rather busy life."

"Indeed I do," replied Father Time, with a sigh. "I'm due in Kamchatka this very minute. And to think one small boy is upsetting all my regular habits!"

"Too bad!" said Jim, with a grin. "But since the world has stopped anyhow, it won't matter if it takes a little longer recess. As soon as I let you go Time will fly again. Where are your wings?"

"I haven't any," answered the old man. "That is a story cooked up by some one who never saw me. As a matter of fact, I move rather slowly."

"I see, you take your time," remarked the boy. "What do you use that scythe for?"

"To mow down the people," said the ancient one. "Every time I swing my scythe some one dies."

"Then I ought to win a life-saving medal by keeping you tied up," said Jim. "Some folks will live this much longer."

"But they won't know it," said Father Time, with a sad smile; "so it will do them no good. You may as well untie me at once."

"No," said Jim, with a determined air. "I may never capture you again; so I'll hold you for awhile and see how the world wags without you."

Then he swung the old man, bound as he was, upon the back of the butcher's horse, and, getting into the saddle himself, started back toward town, one hand holding his prisoner and the other guiding the reins.

When he reached the road his eye fell on a strange tableau. A horse and buggy stood in the middle of the road, the horse in the act of trotting, with his head held high and two legs in the air, but perfectly motionless. In the buggy a man and a woman were seated; but had they been turned into stone they could not have been more still and stiff.

"There"s no Time for them!" sighed the old man. "Won't you let me go how?"

"Not yet," replied the boy.

He rode on until he reached the city, where all the people stood in exactly the same positions they were in when Jim lassoed Father Time. Stopping in front of a big dry goods store, the boy hitched his horse and went in. The clerks were measuring out goods and showing patterns to the rows of customers in front of them, but everyone seemed suddenly to have become a statue.

There was something very unpleasant in this scene, and a cold shiver began to run up and down Jim's back; so he hurried out again.

On the edge of the sidewalk sat a poor, crippled beggar, holding out his hat, and beside him stood a prosperous-looking gentleman who was about to drop a penny into the beggar's hat. Jim knew this gentleman to be very rich but rather stingy, so he ventured to run his hand into the man's pocket and take out his purse, in which was a $20 gold piece. This glittering coin he put in the gentleman's fingers instead of the penny and then restored the purse to the rich man's pocket.

"That donation will surprise him when he comes to life," thought the boy.

He mounted the horse again and rode up the street. As he passed the shop of his friend, the butcher, he noticed several pieces of meat hanging outside.

"I'm afraid that meat'll spoil," he remarked.

"It takes Time to spoil meat," answered the old man.

This struck Jim as being queer, but true.

"It seems Time meddles with everything," said he.

"Yes; you've made a prisoner of the most important personage in the world," groaned the old man; "and you haven't enough sense to let him go again."

Jim did not reply, and soon they came to his uncle's house, where he again dismounted. The street was filled with teams and people, but all were motionless. His two little cousins were just coming out the gate on their way to school, with their books and slates underneath their arms--so Jim had to jump over the fence to avoid knocking them down.

In the front room sat his aunt, reading her Bible. She was just turning a page when Time stopped. In the dining-room was his uncle, finishing his luncheon. His mouth was open and his fork poised just before it, while his eyes were fixed upon the newspaper folded beside him. Jim helped himself to his uncle's pie, and while he ate it he walked out to his prisoner.

"There's one thing I don't understand," said he.

"What"s that?" asked Father Time.

"Why is it that I'm able to move around while everyone else is--is--froze up?"

"That's because I'm your prisoner," answered the other. "You can do anything you wish with Time now. But unless you are careful you'll do something you will be sorry for."

Jim threw the crust of his pie at a bird that was suspended in the air, where it had been flying when Time stopped.

"Anyway," he laughed, "I'm living longer than anyone else. No one will ever be able to catch up with me again."

"Each life has its allotted span," said the old man. "When you have lived your proper time my scythe will mow you down."

"I forgot your scythe," said Jim, thoughtfully.

Then a spirit of mischief came into the boy's head, for he happened to think that the present opportunity to have fun would never occur again. He tied Father Time to his uncle's hitching post, that he might not escape, and then crossed the road to the corner grocery.

The grocer had scolded Jim that very morning for stepping into a basket of turnips by accident. Sot he boy went to the back end of the grocery and turned on the faucet of the molasses barrel.

"That'll make a nice mess when Time starts the molasses running all over the floor," said Jim, with a laugh.

A little further down the street was a barber shop, and sitting in the barber's chair Jim saw the man that all the boys declared was the "meanest man in town." He certainly did not like the boys and the boys knew it. The barber was in the act of shampooing this person when Time was captured. Jim ran to the drug store, and, getting a bottle of mucilage, he returned and poured it over the ruffled hair of the unpopular citizen.

"That'll probably surprise him when he wakes up," thought Jim.

Near by was the schoolhouse. Jim entered it and found that only a few of the pupils were assembled. But the teacher sat at his desk, stern and frowning as usual.

Taking a piece of chalk, Jim marked upon the blackboard in big letters the following words:

"Every scholar is requested to yell the minute he enters this room. He will also please throw his books at the teacher's head.
Signed, Prof. Sharpe."

"That ought to raise a nice rumpus," murmured the mischiefmaker, as he walked away.

On the corner stood Policeman Mulligan, talking with old Miss Scrapple, the worst gossip in town who always delighted in saying something disagreeable about her neighbors. Him thought his opportunity was too good to lose. So he took off the policeman's cap and brass-buttoned coat and put them on Miss Scrapple, while the lady's feathered and ribboned hat he placed jauntily upon the policeman's head.

The effect was so comical that the boy laughed aloud, and as a good many people were standing near the corner Jim decided that Miss Scrapple and Officer Mulligan would create a sensation when Time started upon his travels.

Then the young cowboy remembered his prisoner, and, walking back to the hitching post, he came within three feet of it and saw Father Time still standing patiently within the toils of the lasso. He looked angry and annoyed, however, and growled out:

"Well, when do you intend to release me?"

"I've been thinking about that ugly scythe of yours," said Jim.

"What about it?" asked Father Time.

"Perhaps if I let you go you'll swing it at me the first thing, to be revenged," replied the boy.

Father Time gave him a severe look, but said:

"I've known boys for thousands of years, and of course I know they're mischievous and reckless. But I like boys, because they grow up to be men and people my world, Now, if a man had caught me by accident, as you did, I could have scared him into letting me go instantly; but boys are harder to scare. I don't know as I blame you. I was a boy myself, long ago, when the world was new. But surely you've had enough fun with me by this time, and now I hope you'll show the respect that is due to old age. Let me go, and in return I will promise of forget all about my capture. The incident won't do much harm, anyway, for no one will ever know that Time has halted the last three hours or so."

"All right," said Jim, cheerfully, "since you've promised not to mow me down, I'll let you go." But he had a notion some people in the town would suspect Time had stopped when they returned to life.

He carefully unwound the rope from the old man, who, when he was free, at once shouldered his scythe, rearranged his white robe and nodded farewell.

The next moment he had disappeared, and with a rustle and rumble and roar of activity the world came to life again and jogged along as it always had before.

Jim wound up his lasso, mounted the butcher's horse and rode slowly down the street.

Loud screams came from the corner, where a great crowd of people quickly assembled. From his seat on the horse Jim saw Miss Scrapple, attired in the policeman's uniform, angrily shaking her fists in Mulligan's face, while the officer was furiously stamping upon the lady's hat, which he had torn from his won head amidst the jeers of the crowd.

As he rode past the schoolhouse he heard a tremendous chorus of yells, and knew Prof. Sharpe was having a hard time to quell the riot cause by the sign on the blackboard.

Through the window of the barber shop he saw the "mean man" frantically belaboring the barber with a hair brush, while his hair stood up stiff as bayonets in all directions. Ad the grocer ran out of his door and yelled "Fire!" wile his shoes left a track of molasses wherever he stepped.

Jim's heart was filled with joy. He was fairly reveling in the excitement he had caused when some one caught his leg and pulled him from the horse.

"What're ye doin' here, ye rascal?" cried the butcher, angrily; "didn't ye promise to put that beast inter Plympton's pasture? An' now I find ye ridin' the poor nag around like a gentleman o'leisure!"

"That's a fact," said Jim, with surprise; "I clean forgot about the horse!"

* * * * * * * * * *

This story should teach us the supreme importance of Time and the folly of trying to stop it. For should you succeed, as Jim did, in bringing Time to a standstill, the world would soon become a dreary place and life decidedly unpleasant.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 17, 1916.

A Few Puzzles for the Puzzle Guessers

Do you wear your stockings out, honey? I do--when I GO out!! Ho, ho!

Mr. Geography stopped in for a minute today and he said that he could mention a lot of people without telling their countries or their names. And so, of course, I asked him to do it. And this is what he said:

"Rice, potatoes, roast beef, macaroni, sausage, blubber, cheese and dates!" My wordy, I don't see what he means. Do YOU?

The Forgetful Poet wants to know what vegetable spelled backward will give you a month? He said he's glad you enjoyed his poem last week. Indeed, he has sent you another one quite as remarkable:

Christmas Shopping

I went downtown to finish up
My shopping, when I missed
My purse, and found I'd also lost
My neatly written -----!

I walked around to try to get
A few ideas. A lot
Of people pushed and crowded me--
A headache's all I -----!

Copyright © 2002 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.