Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Woggle-Bug Book, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the South Seas, etc.
From the Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz Comic Page series
Originally published December 18, 1904.
"It's nearly Christmas time," said the Scarecrow, yesterday, "and I really think we ought to do something for the children of America who have welcomed us so kindly."
"What can we do?" asked the Tin Woodman.
"Why, it seems that on every Christmas Santa Claus brings the children toys for presents. So it strikes me that we also ought to furnish toys for the little ones, to prove our love for them," returned the Scarecrow.
"But where can we get the toys?" the Wogglebug inquired. "We have no money with which to purchase such things."
"True," acknowledged the Straw Man; "but in Oz we do without money, because when we want a thing we create it by means of the magical arts we are learned in. Let us therefore provide, by means of our magic, the toys we require for the children."
This suggestion being agreed to, they all retired to private rooms, that they might create the toys undisturbed and before long the Tin Woodman came back with an armful of tiny tin men that were exact duplicates of himself. They were all jointed in their legs and arms, and their heads could be made to turn to right or left.
Soon after, the Scarecrow entered the room carrying a lot of rag dolls that were small images of himself. These baby scarecrows were very quaint and amusing, and there was no doubt the children would like them. Then Jack Pumpkinhead brought in a number of small pumpkin heads, made out of paper, but with features exactly resembling Jack himself.
"They're hollow inside," said Jack; "but the children can fill them with candy."
When the Wogglebug entered the room he brought quantities of wee wogglebugs, dressed just like himself, and having their four arms and their legs made of wire and covered with fuzzy worsted. These toys were so comical that all the party laughed when they saw them.
"But our friend the Sawhorse must not be neglected," said the Scarecrow; so he went away and did a little more magic, and soon returned with a drove of small wooden sawhorses, which had wheels under each of their legs, so that the children could draw them over the floor by means of strings.
"Let us carry them to Santa Claus," suggested the Tin Woodman. "He can take them in his sleigh and distribute them with his other Christmas gifts."
This plan being approved, the entire party mounted aboard the Gump, which flew with them far away to the Laughing Valley where Santa Claus lives. They found the dear old man sitting in an easy chair before his fire, and smoking a short pipe. He had finished his yearly labors, and his sleigh was already loaded with packages of toys for the children's Christmas, while the ten reindeer stamped impatiently to be off and away upon their journey.
"You are just in time!" exclaimed Santa Claus, "and I will gladly carry your toys to the little ones."
"We would like every child to have one of them," said the Scarecrow.
"But - good gracious, my friends!" cried bluff old Santa, "you haven't enough for a quarter of the children I shall visit."
This news made the people from Oz very sad and downcast; but, noticing this, the good old man added: "Never mind; I'll make them go as far as I can, and these toys are so pretty that next year I will make a lot of them myself, so that every child may get one for Christmas. But now I must be off, or I shall never get my journey finished by Christmas morning."
So Santa Claus placed the toys in his sleigh and himself mounted the seat. The people of Oz also got into the Gump again, and then Santa said, with a sly wink:
"Let's have a race."
"To be sure," agreed the Scarecrow; "but nothing can go so swiftly as the flight of the Gump."
Santa Claus made no answer in words, but he cracked his long whip, and away shot the reindeer - swift as the wind.
The Gump flew as it had never flown before, but every effort to keep pace with the sleigh of jolly Santa was in vain, and presently the people of Oz looked down through the moonlight and saw a tiny speck far ahead of them, which was their last view of the sleigh-load of toys destined for the children's Christmas.
"We are beaten," remarked the Scarecrow. "But I imagine Santa Claus is a greater magician than any that has ever lived in our Land of Oz."
And the Wogglebug quoted, impressively, these lines:
" 'Around the man who seeks a noble end,
Not angels, but divinities attend.'
"That," said he, "was written by a famous American poet."
"What was his name?" asked the Scarecrow, curiously.
And the Wogglebug told him.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]
THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, September 16, 1917.
We moved the other day
From where I've always lived before,
And all I want to say is this--
That moving's worse than war!
The rugs are banked and boxes stand
All ready for one's shins,
And all the things I need
Are underneath the kitchen tins.
The furniture, like raw recruits,
Stands 'round all points and edges.
The curtains are too narrow
And lean sadly on the ledges.
The books, like shipwrecked sailors,
Tied together float about--
I hardly know which way to turn,
So guess I'll just go out!
Copyright © 2004 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.