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.