Sunday, June 1, 2003


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Wishing Horse of Oz, "The Artful Arab", King Kojo, etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 24, 1918.

Whereyouwill is a lovely Kingdom just around the corner from the Realm of Reasonableness and I might as well tell you right away that it was ruled by the delightfulest Princess in the world. What's that you say? There are not many Princesses in the world? Pshaw, pshaw, but there are, though, more Princesses than you have any idea of, indeed, yes!

If I close my eyes I can see that lovely Kingdom with its deep, green forests and winding roads, its red-roofed cottages and the Princess's Castle set high on Happy Hill Top.

The King of Reasonableness used to peer through a chink in the walls and mutter and shake his head. He said the Princess's subjects fiddled their time away; just the same he kept peeking over to see them at it!

Now Reasonableness was a dull, level country, very neat and prim, but with no cozy nooks or winding roads, or jolly crooked little paths. Everything was straight and orderly; even the trees were set in rows, and there wasn't a hill or a forest in the whole kingdom. "I can keep it all under my eye!" declared the knowing King of Reasonableness, and indeed it was like a checkerboard and the poor people were little better than checkers whom he ordered about. Things fixed so remarkably well, 'tis a wonder he was not satisfied, but satisfied he was not. Though he was really a kind-hearted fellow, he was so busy telling his subjects what to do that they were glad enough to be rid of him when their tasks were done, and as for talking to him, or calling upon him, it never entered their heads. "I guess," said he one evening to himself, "I guess I'm lonely!" And I guess that he was. At any rate he decided to fix things in his usual reasonable fashion. If a man were lonely, even though he be a King, the thing for him to do was to marry. "I shall marry!" said the King, and gave orders for the castle to be put in order for the Queen.

Now, with hardly a thought, he found himself turning his horse toward Whereyouwill, and the Princess, who just happened to glance out of the window, saw him galloping up to her castle door. "Too bad," she whispered to her looking glass, "that he is so handsome!" And what she meant by that I should like to know. Forgetting all about her dignity as Queen, and remembering only her duty as hostess, she tripped down the stairs to meet him, and before he could more than say how do you-- (he never did get in the do), she had called the fiddlers and the Lord High Mightinesses and ordered up a ball and a feast.

"This will all be changed when she is my wife!" murmured the King to himself, and resolved to ask for her hand at once. But there seemed never to be an opportunity and he rode away without accomplishing his errand. As for the Princess, she looked over the wall at the Kingdom of Reasonableness and then, with a big sigh, walked back to her castle.

The next day the King came again, and this time he enjoyed himself so much--learning a new court quadrille--that he forgot all about asking the mighty question till he reached the Kingdom of Reasonableness. It seemed very quiet and dull. "I'll be married long enough," though he to himself. "And I'll just enjoy visiting the Princess a while." You see he had decided that once he married the Princess he would turn the two Kingdoms into one and make hers as orderly as his own. Meanwhile the Princess was even more delightful than usual and all of her subjects were so kind and jolly, and so ready to talk to his serene Highness without bows or embarrassment, that the King of Reasonableness spent more time in Whereyouwill than he did at home.

And one day, when there just happened to be no one about, he asked the Princess to marry him and accompany him back to his Kingdom. The Princess looked very thoughtful, and said that if he would stay in her Kingdom she would marry him. "But--" the King looked astonished. "But it would never do to go on in this haphazard fashion without any rules or reasons--all the time--why the Kingdom would go to pieces!"

The Princess said it had always been like this, and that they were all happy, and that she didn't see any pieces, and she couldn't live where everything was straight and there were no forests to picnic in and people did things because they were told to and not because they wanted to. Then she looked through the wall at the Kingdom of Reasonableness and shook her head, at which the King was very much insulted and went galloping home.

It seemed duller than ever, and when he thought of the lovely little Princess he had to exert all of his reasonableness to keep from galloping right back again.

Things went on in this fashion for some time, then one day the Princess, who had come down to peek through in hopes of seeing the King, and the King, who had come for the same reason, looked straight into each other's eyes, and then each started to climb over the wall as fast as possible, so that instead of meeting, they changed sides.

"If you give up your Kingdom, I'll give up mine!" wept the little Princess, "but don't ever leave me again!" The King, however, had just had a sudden idea, "We'll build a castle in the middle, and live happily ever afterward!" laughed the little Princess. And they did.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 1, 1917.

The Puzzle Box

The Forgetful Poet still seems to be "seein' things at night," but judging from the lists coming in every week, you boys and girls are nearly as sharp-sighted as he is. See what you can make of this, then:

Discoveries of the Forgetful Poet

I saw a saw that wouldn't saw,
A pin that wouldn't pin,
A crow that couldn't crow,
More things than ever I'll begin
To tell you, dears and ducks, I saw
A tail, without a cat,
A cat without a tail and then
A bat that wouldn't bat,
A ball that wouldn't bounce, besides
A roll that wouldn't roll,
And arms without a man,
A man without arms, very droll!
And if you'll put your thinking specs
Upon your nose, you'll see
The saw that wouldn't saw
And all the things that tickled me.

Mr. G. Ography wants to know what two countries are suggested by a fan, what country by a windmill and what country by a gondola?

Last week's answers were: Flagstone, railroad frog or braid frog on coat, bark of a tree, fire dogs, 4 o'clock, goose, tailor's iron, pine needle, lady finger, buttercup, nuts used by carpenters, spelling bee, wall flower and the eye of a potato.

Among the list of good puzzle guessers we want to place the names of James Howell, Sallye Holman, Hamor Michener and Gertrude Douglas. Send in your answers to The Forgetful Poet, care of the Boys and Girls' Department.

[Answers next time. Please don't send answers in--there's no Boys and Girls' Department. This is merely a historical presentation of Ruth Plumly Thompson's writings.]

Copyright © 2003 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.