Sunday, December 1, 2013


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Grampa in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!" etc.

Originally published in the PhilAdelphia Public Ledger, December 21, 1919.

Oh, once, this happened years ago
   In brave old London Town,
A little worn-out lad, who swept
   The gentry's chimneys down,

Fell fast asleep, on Christmas Eve,
   Beside a chimney tall;
And dreamed he was invited
   To the children's Christmas ball!

Poor little sweep - so sound asleep!
   The snow came drifting down,
The midnight stage went rattling by
   And through the silent town

The carol singers went their rounds
   And, hark! Their joyous singing
Awoke the bells, and set the silver
   Christmas chimes all ringing!

But still the weary sweep slept on,
   But, sh - h - , just as the stars
Winked out and morning poked her head
   Through night's dark window bars,

That dear old saint, who loves all children,
   In his magic sleigh,
Came clattering o'er the roof tops and,
   My dears and ducks - well, say!

He trimmed the broom of that poor laddie
   With the finest toys,
And then, without a bit of fuss
   Or making any noise,

He lifted him into his sleigh
   And whisked off toward the Pole,
And from that day to this, sweethearts,
   Though don't you tell a soul,

He's been adopted by St. Nick,
   And goes with him each year,
To help him fill the stockings and
   To sweep the chimneys clear!

And, though that happened years ago,
   He never will grow old -
No one does who believes in Kriss,
   Or so I have been told!

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 22, 1920.


The Puzzle Corner

The cities hidden in the Forgetful Poet's verses last week were: Nancy, Nome and Berne. A ribbon might run if it were a fast color.

Now rub up your location bump and see whether or not you can find these cities:

A part of the body
Will give a French town,
A port that the soldier boys
Know up and down.

Another city of fair France
You'll have, sirs, in a trice,
If you can find the word that means
Quite pleasant. 'Course it's -----

And a name for water rushing
Gives the old Dutch town of -----,
And a maiden's name that's pretty
Gives a large Australian city.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NOVEMBER and Other Verse

By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, John Dough and the Cherub, The Treasure of Karnak, and The Visitors from Oz, etc.

Originally published in Father Goose's Year Book, 1907.


This is the month the football game
Puts wars and rioting to shame.
And moral mortals sink so low
They bet which way the game will go?

Our gentle maidens all adore
The champion who sheds most gore,
And laugh with innocent delight
To see the long-haired fellows fight.

And if a shudder you behold
It's 'cause the weather's beastly cold;
To freeze and shiver every one
With joy submits, to see "the fun."

The North wind doth blow
And we shall have snow
And what will the robber do then, poor thing?
He'll "hold up" a few,
And the whole police, too,
And relieve you of your diamond ring - poor thing!

There was a crooked man
Who was crooked all the while.
He beat his crooked neighbors
In an easy, crooked style.
He delved in crooked politics
And cast a crooked vote,
And now the crooks respect him
As a man of crooked note.

The lady gave a wail
For a man walked up her trail;
Said he: "Great Scott!
As like as not
There's no moral to this tale!"

The perfume on a lady's gown
Suggests the darling meant
No matter whether asked or not
She'd surely give a-scent.

"Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold;
Here's wifey's letter I forgot -
Three days old!"

"Race suicide," said Mr. Jinks,
"I'm guilty of, I know;
For I bet my money on a nag
That never had a show.
'Twas sure a matter of disgrace
To squander money so:
You'd hardly call the thing a race -
'Twas suicidal, though!"

Rolling billiard-balls gather no salary.

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 15, 1920.


The Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet's Valentine I am sure, most of you unriddled. He meant to say that your eyes shone like stars and to ask you to be his Valentine.


In France there is a city, dears,
That lots of people fancy.
It has a girl's name, strange to say,
The pretty name of ------.

In Alaska where a lot
Of Eskimos are at home
Is a city with a small elf's name,
And this one is called ------.

When logs are lit what do they do?
If you can answer this
You'll have a town in Switzerland
That tourists seldom miss.

And what kind of ribbon might run a race?

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Hungry Tiger of Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!" etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 16, 1921.

Patch is a country half-way between the Fairy and Witch Lands, and being neither one nor the other is rather a mixed-up sort of place. The King is mixed up, too, for his mother was a witch and his father a Fairy, and sometimes he is very wicked and bad indeed, so that the people of Patch call him King Cross Patch.

They never know what to expect. One minute he is as good and kind a monarch as a people could want, and next thing he is in a temper, ordering everybody into the tower. The Witches made all manner of fun of him for not being altogether bad, and the Fairies visited him often and begged him to take a magic draught that would make him altogether good. But King Cross Patch couldn't make up his mind. He rather enjoyed making up to people for his unkind spells and "if I were always good I should never have any fun at all," he thought to himself.

So things went on in a very uncomfortable fashion for the poor Patches. One day a man would have a farm and the next day it would be snatched away from him. And it really seemed of no use to be industrious and thrifty, for when the King was in a temper the good fared as badly as the wicked. So the people grew lazy and discontented and the Kingdom of Patch very patchy, indeed.

Two or three times the King was on the point of accepting the Fairies' draught, but each time his bad witch temper spoiled his good resolutions, and one day in a fit of rage he ordered his three sons beheaded. No sooner were the words out, before the King could have bitten his tongue off. I'll tell you why. There is in Patch an ancient law that says that the King's commands once given must be carried out or on the third day afterward the Kingdom of Patch will be destroyed forever.

Never before had the King ordered any one's death. Wicked as he was, he knew that he would regret it and try to fix matters too late. But this time his bad temper got the best of him.

He ran around the palace in a frenzy, tearing out lock after lock of his hair.

The princes, who were delightful young chaps, begged him not to be disturbed, that they would willingly go to their death to save the country. At this the Queen fainted away entirely and the whole court was thrown into confusion. The King, without waiting for his golden chariot, dashed off to Fairyland to ask the Fairies' advice, but the Fairies refused to help him. Then he rushed off to the Witches, but they only roared with glee and said that at last he was as wicked as they themselves and to come over before the kingdom was destroyed.

The poor King, at his wits' end and cursing his wicked temper heartily, returned to the palace and shut himself up with the wise men. They must find a way out of it. And the old wise men thought and thought the whole night through, for they were very fond of the young princes. But when the morning came they could still think of no way out of the difficulty.

"Chop off our heads and be done with it!" said the princes, touched by King Cross Patch's grief, "but promise to take the Fairies' draught and become good hereafter, so that a thing like this may not happen again!"

The King merely wrung his hands and implored the wise men to think harder, which they did. And that night, just as the first star peeked out of the sky, the oldest wise man came running to the King.

"What were your Majesty's exact words?" he asked excitedly.

"You shall all three be beheaded before night!" moaned the King.

"Then the edict cannot be carried out; the command is impossible," exulted the old man, hopping up and down. "No one can make a man's head into a bee's head, leastwise unless they are wizards - and as there are no wizards in the kingdom the command cannot be carried out!"

For a minute the King did not understand. Then all at once he began to shout, too. But before he told any one else he ran over to Fairyland as fast as he could patter and swallowed the magic draught. And thence afterward King Cross Patch was known as the Kind King Cross Patch. And certainly the decree could not be carried out - for no one can be beeheaded except a bee.

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 8, 1920.


The Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet says he wrote this valentine just for you

Will you be my ------?
You are sweet as a duck
And as pink as a lily!
Your nose is a rose -
(Pshaw, this sounds a bit silly.)

Your eyes shine like - dear me
Now what is the word?
It's escaped me entirely,
How simply absurd!

Will you be - will you be -
Now I seem to forget
What I want you do be,
My poor head's all upset.
   (Did you ever?)

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, John Dough and the Cherub, The Treasure of Karnak, and The Visitors from Oz, etc.

Originally published in American Fairy Tales, 1901.

In all Fairyland there is no more mischievous a person than Tanko-Mankie the Yellow Ryl. He flew through the city one afternoon - quite invisible to mortal eyes but seeing everything himself - and noticed a figure of a wax lady standing behind the big plate glass window of Mr. Floman's department store.

The wax lady was beautifully dressed, and extended in her stiff left hand was a card bearing the words:

This Stylish Costume
(Imported from Paris)
Former Price, $20

This impressive announcement had drawn before the window a crowd of women shoppers, who stood looking at the wax lady with critical eyes.

Tanko-Mankie laughed to himself the low, gurgling little laugh that always means mischief. Then he flew close to the wax figure and breathed twice upon its forehead.

From that instant the dummy began to live, but so dazed and astonished was she at the unexpected sensation that she continued to stand stupidly staring at the women outside and holding out the placard as before.

The ryl laughed again and flew away. Anyone but Tanko-Mankie would have remained to help the wax lady out of the troubles that were sure to overtake her; but this naughty elf thought it rare fun to turn the inexperienced lady loose in a cold and heartless world and leave her to shift for herself.

Fortunately it was almost six o'clock when the dummy first realized that she was alive, and before she had collected her new thoughts and decided what to do a man came around and drew down all the window shades, shutting off the view from the curious shoppers.

Then the clerks and cashiers and floorwalkers and cash girls went home and the store was closed for the night, although the sweepers and scrubbers remained to clean the floors for the following day.

The window inhabited by the wax lady was boxed in, like a little room, one small door being left at the side for the window-trimmer to creep in and out of. So the scrubbers never noticed that the dummy, when left to herself, dropped the placard to the floor and sat down upon a pile of silks to wonder who she was, where she was, and how she happened to be alive.

For you must consider, dear reader, that in spite of her size and her rich costume, in spite of her pink cheeks and fluffy yellow hair, this lady was very young - no older, in reality, than a baby born but half an hour. All she knew of the world was contained in the glimpse she had secured of the busy street facing her window; all she knew of people lay in the actions of the group of women which had stood before her on the other side of the window pane and criticised the fit of her dress or remarked upon its stylish appearance.

So she had little enough to think about, and her thoughts moved somewhat slowly; yet one thing she really decided upon, and that was not to remain in the window and be insolently stared at by a lot of women who were not nearly so handsome or well dressed as herself.

By the time she reached this important conclusion, it was after midnight; but dim lights were burning in the big, deserted store, so she crept through the door of her window and walked down the long aisles, pausing now and then to look with much curiosity at the wealth of finery confronting her on every side.

When she came to the glass cases filled with trimmed hats she remembered having seen upon the heads of the women in the street similar creations. So she selected one that suited her fancy and placed it carefully upon her yellow locks. I won't attempt to explain what instinct it was that made her glance into a near-by mirror to see if the hat was straight, but this she certainly did. It didn't correspond with her dress very well, but the poor thing was too young to have much taste in matching colors.

When she reached the glove counter she remembered that gloves were also worn by the women she had seen. She took a pair from the case and tried to fit them upon her stiff, wax-coated fingers; but the gloves were too small and ripped in the seams. Then she tried another pair, and several others, as well; but hours passed before she finally succeeded in getting her hands covered with a pair of pea-green kids.

Next she selected a parasol from a large and varied assortment in the rear of the store. Not that she had any idea what it was used for; but other ladies carried such things, so she also would have one.

When she again examined herself critically in the mirror she decided her outfit was now complete, and to her inexperienced eyes there was no perceptible difference between her and the women who had stood outside the window. Whereupon she tried to leave the store, but found every door fast locked.

The wax lady was in no hurry. She inherited patience from her previous existence. Just to be alive and to wear beautiful clothes was sufficient enjoyment for her at present. So she sat down upon a stool and waited quietly until daylight.

When the janitor unlocked the door in the morning the wax lady swept past him and walked with stiff but stately strides down the street. The poor fellow was so completely whuckered at seeing the well-known wax lady leave her window and march away from the store that he fell over in a heap and only saved himself from fainting by striking his funny bone against the doorstep. When he recovered his wits she had turned the corner and disappeared.

The wax lady's immature mind had reasoned that, since she had come to life, her evident duty was to mix with the world and do whatever other folks did. She could not realize how different she was from people of flesh and blood; nor did she know she was the first dummy that had ever lived, or that she owed her unique experience to Tanko-Mankie's love of mischief. So ignorance gave her a confidence in herself that she was not justly entitled to.

It was yet early in the day, and the few people she met were hurrying along the streets. Many of them turned into restaurants and eating houses, and following their example the wax lady also entered one and sat upon a stool before a lunch counter.

"Coffee 'n' rolls!" said a shop girl on the next stool.

"Coffee 'n' rolls!" repeated the dummy, and soon the waiter placed them before her. Of course she had no appetite, as her constitution, being mostly wood, did not require food; but she watched the shop girl, and saw her put the coffee to her mouth and drink it. Therefore the wax lady did the same, and the next instant was surprised to feel the hot liquid trickling out between her wooden ribs. The coffee also blistered her wax lips, and so disagreeable was the experience that she arose and left the restaurant, paying no attention to the demands of the waiter for "20 cents, mum." Not that she intended to defraud him, but the poor creature had no idea what he meant by "20 cents, mum."

As she came out she met the window trimmer at Floman's store. The man was rather near-sighted, but seeing something familiar in the lady's features he politely raised his hat. The wax lady also raised her hat, thinking it the proper thing to do, and the man hurried away with a horrified face.

Then a woman touched her arm and said:

"Beg pardon, ma'am; but there's a price-mark hanging on your dress behind."

"Yes, I know," replied the wax lady, stiffly; "it was originally $20, but it's been reduced to $19.98."

The woman looked surprised at such indifference and walked on. Some carriages were standing at the edge of the sidewalk, and seeing the dummy hesitate a driver approached her and touched his cap.

"Cab, ma'am?" he asked.

"No," said she, misunderstanding him; "I'm wax."

"Oh!" he exclaimed, and looked after her wonderingly.

"Here's yer mornin' paper!" yelled a newsboy.

"Mine, did you say?" she asked.

"Sure! Chronicle, 'Quirer, R'public 'n' 'Spatch! Wot'll ye 'ave?"

"What are they for?" inquired the wax lady, simply.

"W'y, ter read, o' course. All the news, you know."

She shook her head and glanced at a paper.

"It looks all speckled and mixed up," she said. "I'm afraid I can't read."

"Ever ben to school?" asked the boy, becoming interested.

"No; what's school?" she inquired.

The boy gave her an indignant look.

"Say!" he cried "ye'r just a dummy, that's wot ye are!" and ran away to seek a more promising customer.

"I wonder what he means," thought the poor lady. "Am I really different in some way from all the others? I look like them, certainly; and I try to act like them; yet that boy called me a dummy and seemed to think I acted queerly."

This idea worried her a little, but she walked on to the corner, where she noticed a street car stop to let some people on. The wax lady, still determined to do as others did, also boarded the car and sat down quietly in a corner.

After riding a few blocks the conductor approached her and said:

"Fare, please!"

"What's that?" she inquired, innocently.

"Your fare!" said the man, impatiently.

She stared at him stupidly trying to think what he meant.

"Come, come!" growled the conductor, "either pay up or get off!"

Still she did not understand, and he grabbed her rudely by the arm and lifted her to her feet. But when his hand came in contact with the hard wood of which she was made the fellow was filled with surprise. He stooped down and peered into her face, and, seeing it was wax instead of flesh, he gave a yell of fear and jumped from the car, running as if he had seen a ghost.

At this the other passengers also yelled and sprang from the car, fearing a collision; and the motorman, knowing something was wrong, followed suit. The wax lady, seeing the others run, jumped from the car last of all, and stepped in front of another car coming at full speed from the opposite direction.

She heard cries of fear and of warning on all sides, but before she understood her danger she was knocked down and dragged for half a block.

When the car was brought to a stop a policeman reached down and pulled her from under the wheels. Her dress was badly torn and soiled, her left ear was entirely gone, and the left side of her head was caved in; but she quickly scrambled to her feet and asked for her hat. This a gentleman had already picked up, and when the policeman handed it to her and noticed the great hole in her head and the hollow place it disclosed, the poor fellow trembled so frightfully that his knees actually knocked together.

"Why - why, ma'am, you're - killed!" he gasped.

"What does it mean to be killed?" asked the wax lady.

The policeman shuddered and wiped the perspiration from his forehead.

"You're it!" he answered, with a groan.

The crowd that had collected were looking upon the lady wonderingly, and a middle-aged gentleman now exclaimed:

"Why, she's wax!"

"Wax!" echoed the policeman.

"Certainly. She's one of those dummies they put in the windows," declared the middle-aged man.

The people who had collected were [line of text missing] -eral shouted: "You're right!" "That's what she is!" "She's a dummy!"

"Are you?" inquired the policeman, sternly.

The wax lady did not reply. She began to fear she was getting into trouble, and the staring crowd seemed to embarrass her.

Suddenly a bootblack attempted to solve the problem by saying: "You guys is all wrong! Can a dummy talk? Can a dummy walk? Can a dummy live?"

"Hush!" murmured the policeman. "Look here!" and he pointed to the hole in the lady's head. The newsboy looked, turned pale and whistled to keep himself from shivering.

A second policeman now arrived, and after a brief conference it was decided to take the strange creature to headquarters. So they called a hurry-up wagon, and the damaged wax lady was helped inside and driven to the police station. There the policeman locked her in a cell and hastened to tell Inspector Mugg their wonderful story.

Inspector Mugg had just eaten a poor breakfast, and was not in a pleasant mood, so he roared and stormed at the unlucky policemen, saying they were themselves dummies to bring such a fairy tale to a man of sense. He also hinted that they had been guilty of intemperance.

The policemen tried to explain, but Inspector Mugg would not listen, and while they were still disputing in rushed Mr. Floman, the owner of the department store.

"I want a dozen detectives, at once, inspector!" he cried.

"What for?" demanded Mugg.

"One of the wax ladies has escaped from my store and eloped with a $19.98 costume, a $4.23 hat, a $2.19 parasol and a 76-cent pair of gloves, and I want her arrested!"

While he paused for breath the inspector glared at him in amazement.

"Is everybody going crazy at the same time?" he inquired, sarcastically. "How could a wax dummy run away?"

"I don't know; but she did. When my janitor opened the door this morning he saw her run out."

"Why didn't he stop her?" asked Mugg.

"He was too frightened. But she's stolen my property, your honor, and I want her arrested!" declared the storekeeper.

The inspector thought for a moment.

"You wouldn't be able to prosecute her," he said, "for there's no law against dummies stealing."

Mr. Floman sighed bitterly.

"Am I to lose that $19.98 costume and the $4.25 hat and - "

"By no means," interrupted Inspector Mugg. "The police of this city are ever prompt to act in defense of our worthy citizens. We have already arrested the wax lady, and she is locked up in cell No. 16. You may go there and recover your property, if you wish, but before you prosecute her for stealing you'd better hunt up a law that applies to dummies."

"All I want," said Mr. Floman, "is that $19.98 costume and - "

"Come along!" interrupted the policeman. "I'll take you to the cell."

But when they entered No. 16 they found only a lifeless dummy lying prone up on the floor; its wax was cracked and blistered, its head was badly damaged, and the bargain costume was dusty, soiled and much bedraggled. For the mischief-loving Tanco-Mankie had flown by and breathed once more upon the poor wax lady, and in that instant her brief life ended.

"It's just as I thought," said Inspector Mugg, leaning back in his chair contentedly. "I knew all the time the thing was a fake. It seems sometimes as though the whole world would go crazy if there wasn't some level-headed man around to bring 'em to their senses. Dummies are wood an' wax, an' that's all there is of 'em."

"That may be the rule," whispered the policeman to himself, "but this one were a dummy as lived!"

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 1, 1920.


The Forgetful Poet just rushed in to say that the Arctic ocean has a relation - because there's his Ant - (aunt) - arctic, you know.

And the Shoe University was Oxford, of course, and coal takes nearly all man earns when it burns.

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Speedy in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!" etc.

Originally published in the Phildelphia Public Ledger, May 30, 1920.

Once upon a time two girls were left alone in the world with only a tumble-down cottage and a crooked-horned cow. No, that is not quite all; for to Elsa, their old grandmother had left a long-handled broom and to Ellen a stout scubbing brush.

"Fie!" said Ellen the day after the funeral, and, picking up the scrubbing brush, hurled it out of the window.

"I'm going to sell the cow, sister, and go to the city to find pleasant work. You may stay here and drudge if you care to!" Elsa said nothing, for she knew Ellen would have her way. After Ellen had gone she sat sadly down by the hearth and wept. It would have been better had she cleaned up the cottage, but, no one to scold her if she did not - what was the use? Pretty soon there came a knock at the door. It was a weary traveler and his wife riding through the village on their way to the city.

"Can we rest here, my good girl?" asked the man; but his wife looked round the untidy room and pulled him out.

"I will not stay in such a place!" said she. They both turned away, and Ellen [sic] saw the man slip a piece of silver back in his purse.

"Ah, how unfortunate I am!" wailed Elsa, and started to weep again. There was only a moldy loaf of bread in the cupboard, and after that was gone she would surely starve. That night a neighbor called and found Elsa still sitting by the hearth.

"Sorrow is well enough, but it will not get you far in the world," said the old lady, looking at her reprovingly.

"Now I am old and you are young. If you will clean out my cottage every day I will give you a fine cow, and you may make butter and sell it in town."

"I'm no drudge," said Elsa, suddenly, and away went the old lady in a huff. At this the broomstick standing in the corner fell to the floor with a crash. The second day Elsa had eaten the last of the loaf.

"No one cares whether I starve!" groaned poor Elsa.

"I do," said a queer little voice, and Elsa looked all around the room, but not a soul was in sight.

"Here I am," said the same voice, and Elsa found that it came from the broom.

"Why don't you clean up?" asked the broom. Elsa was cross and hungry, and when she found it was nothing but a broom talking she gave it a push with her foot and flung herself on the floor. By night time she was hungrier than ever.

"I'll starve! I'll starve!" she wailed dismally.

"No, you won't! No, you won't!" persisted the patient broom.

"I'll help you! I'll help you!" Elsa poked her fingers in her ears, but the broom kept calling till at last she tumbled across the room determined to toss it out the window. But no sooner had her fingers closed on the handle than the broom began to sweep.

"Maybe I will go to the old lady's," murmured Elsa, pleased with the light way the broom slid over the floor. At this the broom gave a little skip, and before she realized it Elsa had swept out the whole cottage. And just as she finished a knock came on the door. It was the same traveler and his wife, this time on the way back.

"How cozy it looks here," sighed the little lady. "Can we remain all night, my dear, and cook our supper over your fire?" And not only did they stay, but invited Elsa to share supper with them, and before they went off in the morning left a goldpiece behind them. Away to the old lady's skipped Elsa with her broom, and so diligently did she work that there was soon a great demand for her services.Moreover, wherever that broom swept old carpet became new and old floors polished and fine. So it was not long before Elsa was rich - rich enough to buy a big, handsome cottage and to invite Ellen backfrom the city to live with her. And not only did they have twenty frocks apiece, but ice cream every day. Ellen searched everywhere for the lost scrubbing bush, but it never was found, which is a pity, for I think it was enchanted, too; though the broom said over and over, "Industry was the only magic to overcome misfortune!"

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 25, 1920.


The Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet begs to state that the minutes of a meeting are red (read) and the some stockings can tell time because they have clocks.

"And now," says he, "what ocean has a relation?"

What shoe, now guess
  This rhyme for me,
Will name a
    (In England)

What is it takes
  Most all man earns,
And is alive, sirs,
  When it ------?

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 1, 2013


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, John Dough and the Cherub, The Treasure of Karnak, and The Visitors from Oz, etc.

Hungry Tiger Press celebrates the 100th anniversary of the publication of The Patchwork Girl of Oz in 1913 with this excerpted verse.

I'll sing a song of Ozland, where wondrous creatures dwell
And fruits and flowers and shady bowers abound in every dell,
Where magic is a science and where no one shows surprise
If some amazing thing takes place before his very eyes.

Our Ruler's a bewitching girl whom fairies love to please;
She's always kept her magic sceptre to enforce decrees
To make her people happy, for her heart is kind and true
And to aid the needy and distressed is what she longs to do.

And then there's Princess Dorothy, as sweet as any rose,
A lass from Kansas, where they don't grow fairies, I suppose;
And there's the brainy Scarecrow, with a body stuffed with straw,
Who utters words of wisdom rare that fill us all with awe.

I'll not forget Nick Chopper, the Woodman made of Tin,
Whose tender heart thinks killing time is quite a dreadful sin,
Nor old Professor Woggle-Bug, who's highly magnified
And looks so big to everyone that he is filled with pride.

Jack Pumpkinhead's a dear old chum who might be called a chump,
But won renown by riding round upon a magic Gump;
The Sawhorse is a splendid steed and though he's made of wood
He does as many thrilling stunts as any meat horse could.

And now I'll introduce a beast that ev'ryone adores -
The Cowardly Lion shakes with fear 'most ev'ry time he roars,
And yet he does the bravest things that any lion might,
Because he knows that cowardice is not considered right.

There's Tik-Tok - he's a clockwork man and quite a funny sight -
He talks and walks mechanically, when he's wound up tight;
And we've a Hungry Tiger who would babies love to eat
But never does because we feed him other kinds of meat.

It's hard to name all of the freaks this noble Land's acquired;
'Twould make my song so very long that you would soon be tired;
But give attention while I mention one wise Yellow Hen
And Nine fine Tiny Piglets living in a golden pen.

Just search the whole world over - sail the seas from coast to coast—
No other nation in creation queerer folk can boast;
And now our rare museum will include a Cat of Glass,
A Woozy, and - last but not least - a crazy Patchwork Lass.

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 18, 1920.


The Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet was bobsledding the other night and fell off in a drift. He hasn't made any verses since. I'm hoping that by next week he'll be rhyming as well as ever.

The words missing from last week's verses were do it, tail and canvas-back duck. For roofing material I would go to a reptile. He would like to know this week

When minutes are colored?

Some stockings can tell time. Why?

The old dear said he peeked into a piece of music the other day and found a workman and a place to live. Imagine!

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Speedy in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!" etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 1, 1920.

Down, down, down, to a river deep
Fell a dear little boy who'd been sung to sleep.
To a river deep and a river wide,
Where Pixies and nixies and fairies ride

On the backs of swans, and everywhere
The big birds float on its waters fair.
Softly he dropped on a downy swan
And away it carried him--on and on

Past fairy palaces, doll-house isles--
Down the Swanee river of song for miles.
And 'twas full of swans as he thought 'twould be.
And the very same thing has occurred to me.

The big white birds were all aquiver
With glee to welcome him to their river.
They nodded their heads and winked their eyes
And floated around him with pleased little cries.

Ant then to amuse him they had a race.
And the swan that he rode came in first place.
What cheers from the pixies and nixies! Aho!
What showers of posies and feathers they throw!

Then away and away they sailed once more
And stopped for a rest by a silver shore,
Where an old, old, goose in a nightcap funny
Passed cups of tea and buns with honey.

And sang them a song in a high cracked key
Of a mouse and a robin who'd gone to sea.
There was much applause for the big swan birds,
But he little boy couldn't quite catch the words.

Then lazily on and on he sailed
Till the stars winked out an the big moon paled;
On and on till he drifted right
Into the harbor of Good Day Light!

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 11, 1920.


The Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet says he is going to be in fashion and write blank verse. I asked him if he were going to use a blank book for the purpose, and he was much offended. He said I never would take him seriously, and I am afraid I never will.

The Words missing from last week's verses were is and slides.

If you eat a magpie
You'll kangarue it--
If I were you
I wouldn't ------ ------!
(Well, who would?)

What Bird?

If I were going
To make a sail--,
I'd put some salt
Upon the ------

Upon the tail,
If I had luck
Of a certain sort and
Kind of -----!

To what crawling creature would you go for roofing material?

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 15, 2013


 The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 4, 1920.

The Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet made a resolution last Thursday to make no more verses, but you see he has already forgotten it and I, for one, am glad that he did, for his verses so tickle me.

Can one hear
A postage stamp?
One one see
A Candle run?
Does a turnip
Really turn?
NO—it simply
Is not done!
(What nonsense!)

I’m afraid the dear fellow is a little pessimistic. Just read these verses, will you? He’s not so young as he used to be, I can see that!

In Jan. you worry over coal
And croup and rheumatiz.
In Jan, you worry over bills
Oh, what a month it -----.

In Feb. you worry over colds
And bursting pipes besides
And broken bones from sundry falls
On icy walks and -----
               (I don’t! Do you?)

The answers to last week’s puzzles are: The Bluebird, The Five Little Peppers, Ivanhoe and Huckleberry Finn.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2015 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 1, 2013


By John R. Neill
Author of The Runaway in Oz, The Wonder City of Oz, Lucky Bucky in Oz, etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia North American, November 17, 1901.

Peace Hath her Victories No Less Renowned than War
Click image to enlarge.

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 28, 1919.


The Forgetful Poet

The Forgetful Poet says that you have all had plenty of time to read during the holidays, so he thinks for a change he'll give you some bookish riddles. If you get stuck, hunt up a bookworm.

What Book?

A bird all children know, I think
Will give a book by Maeterlinck.

What Book People?

There are five of them
Named for a seasoning
You'll puzzle this out
Without reasoning.

One of Scott's Characters

We see with the first syllable, move our furniture in the second and work in the garden with the third.

What Book Boy?

A fruit, dears, we have to begin
And part of a fish, yes, it's ------
  And the whole gives a lad,
  More mischievous than bad.
Now perhaps you can fill his name in.

The words the dear chap forgot last week were verse, day, wings and said. [These answers published December 21, 1919.]

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 1, 2013


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Speedy in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!" etc.

Originally published in the Phildelphia Public Ledger, April 8, 1917.

There was once a little prince, who had everything he wanted and more besides, and I suppose you are thinking right away, "What a fortunate fellow!" and "How happy he must have been!"

Nothing of the sort. He was the unhappiest boy alive, because - well - because he had not a thing in the world to wish for.

He had more ponies than ever he could ride, more toys than ever he could play with, more books than ever he could read, more candy than ever he could eat and more places to go than he could ever hope to choose from - so he just sat there feeling blue and dull.

Twenty men in waiting stood breathlessly at attention to execute his slightest command and the poor little prince's head ached trying to keep them busy. "For," he reasoned to himself, "it must be very tiresome to stand still all the time!"

This went on and on till the little prince could think of not one thing more he wanted. In the midst of his gorgeous garden and surrounded by his glittering attendants he drooped on his golden throne and nothing could interest or arouse him!

The queen and the king grew very much alarmed and begged him to tell them what he wanted to make him happy. He only shook his head. So off they hastened, the royal carriage clattering into town at a terrible rate. And back they came with all the toy and sweetmeat merchants at their heels.

"Choose any, my son - or all!" implored the king. The prince sighed wearily and then shook his head - so they left them all! Boats by the hundred, games galore - every sort of toy imaginable!

"Leave him alone with them!" whispered one of the wise men, so the king raised his scepter and all the attendants went backing away. Then the king and queen with a great swishing of silk and velvets went away, too, and for the first time he could remember the little prince was all by himself!

He could scarcely believe his eyes. He sat up straight on his golden throne and stared around in delight. Then down he jumped and ran to the very end of the garden, where he could not see one of the hateful toys. "There's not one thing left!" he remarked dismally. "Not one thing in the world!"

"What's that?" piped up a little voice. The prince looked down and there perched on a rose bush sat a little pixie!

"There's not one thing left to wish for!" repeated the prince, regarding her curiously.

"Ho! ho! ho! How funny?" chuckled the pixie, turning a somersault. "A little boy without a want!"

"You would not think it so funny if you had to keep twenty men-in-waiting from getting stiff and tired. I can't think of another thing for them to do for me!" The little prince threw himself down on the ground and began sighing again. "If I only had something to wish for! If I only wanted something!"

The pixie stopped swinging. "You are the only little boy in the world who isn't wanting something!" she remarked slowly. "Dear me! Dear me!"

"What do they want?" The little prince looked up with new interest.

"Look in the lake and I'll show you!" answered the pixie, skipping down to the edge of the water.

So he did, and there he saw hundreds of little boys and the things each wanted most. Some wanted ponies, some wanted boats, some wanted books. "Why!" gasped the little prince, "They want all the things I've got so many of!"

"Yes!" said the pixie, smoothing her rose-petal apron and looking sideways at the little prince, "they do!"

"Well, I wish they could have them!" sighed the prince. "See that little ragged boy, he does so want a dog!" But the pixie was hopping about, clapping her hands and laughing with glee.

"Now you've found them! Now you've found them!" she cried over and over again!

"What?" cried the little boy curiously.

"Why, your wishes and wants!" laughed the pixie. "Didn't you know that it was more fun to want things for other people than for yourself! Here!" She slipped a long list of names into the prince's hand and then disappeared like a soap bubble that has suddenly burst.

Calling for all twenty men-in-waiting at once, the little prince ran up the garden, stumbling over himself fairly in his eagerness! His "I wants!" and "I wishes!" kept the whole court flying, I can tell you, and before evening every little boy on the pixie's list had what he wanted. All the prince's ponies were gone but one, all the dogs but one, all the games but one; in fact, there was just one of everything left. The boys had had so much fun with the prince's gifts that he began to wonder whether he and the doggie and pony and toys that were left could not have some fun, too!

And they did, sweethearts, and after that one boy always came each day to play with the little prince, and as for wishes and wants - well, he discovered the fun of wanting things for other people and not for himself. There was no end to his commands and no end to the happiness in the kingdom where he lived.

The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 14, 1919.


The Forgetful Poet Goes Shopping

Everybody guessed the answer to his verses last week. The modest chap wanted a wishing ring. The words omitted were sent, ring and know it.

I bought two dolls
And which was worse
Six neckties and
A book of ------?

I lost my wallet
And my way;
In fact, I've had
A dreadful ------?

Department stores
Are full of things
But one should have
A pair of ------?

For all are two
Aisles over - or
Just through the arch
Or seventh floor!

Why am I pale
And why in bed?
I've done my shopping
Sir, he ------!

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 1, 2013


By W. W. Denslow
Author of The Scarecrow and Tin-Man of Oz, illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dot and Tot of Merryland, etc.

Originally published 1909.

Duffy's Apple Juice Imp

A little boy and little girl
  Went out one bright spring day
To wander through the woods and fields
  And find a place to play;
When lo! they heard a little voice
  It almost was a scream;
'Twas from a funny fairy man
  A splashing in a stream.

They went to his relief at once,
  And pulled him to the land;
He thanked them very many times,
  And took them by the hand;
"I am the Apple Imp," said he,
  "The trees I tend with care,
That golden autumn may be crowned
  With harvests everywhere.

Children and Imp

"In gratitude I give to you
  This little apple seed,
'Twill give you health and happiness
  And anything you need.
Go plant it in a pleasant spot,
  All by the bright moonlight."
With that hue jumped into the air
  And was soon out of sight.

The children did as they were bid,
  Next day a sprout appeared;
They tended it with loving care
  And soon a tree they reared.
The blossoms first came in the spring,
  Green fruit in summer time;
Then luscious apples ripe and red
  In golden autumn's prime.

The seed sprouts

It puzzled both the children how
  To get those apples down;
And also where to get a cart
  To take them into town;
Then from the moon the imp appeared
  Said he, "I'll help you out."
Then from the moon the fairies appeared
  They came with merry shout.

"Now fairies fair, make haste with care,"
  Go pluck those apples sound;
Run out upon each bending branch
  And bring them to the ground.:
So spoke the imp, and in a wink,
  The fairies stripped the tree;
And piled the pippins on the grass,
  A goodly sight to see.

The apples picked

"Bring forth the magic auto car,
  And as the wind is fair,
Instead of running on the ground,
  We'll travel through the air."
This care was broad and deep and long,
  With room enough for all,
The apples that grew on the tree,
  The imp and children small.

The fairies loaded up the car
  With rosy apples bright;
And soon the imp and children, too,
  Were flying through the night.
Then as the golden-tinted sky
  Showed that the morn was dawning,
They landed close by Duffy's door
  At seven in the morning.

"This is Bets and this is Bob,
  Two great good friends of mine,”
The imp to Mister Duffy said,
   "With something in your line;
For they have brought you apples rare,
  Expressly for your use.
They'd like to have you make them
  Your famous apple juice."

Mister Duffy was delighted
  To get the goodly fruit,
For he was most particular
  And very hard to suit.
When he is making apple juice
  He always must be sure
To have the apples sound and good,
  To make the product pure.

Children with bottles

Full soon the car was homeward bound,
  This time upon the road;
But now instead of apples ripe
  It bore a liquid load--
All snugly packed in bottles neat,
  With labels on the side;
So Bets and Bob were quite happy
  And filled with honest pride.

Enjoying apple juice

On evenings in the winter time,
  If you don't come too late,
You'll find a happy family
  All gathered 'round the grate.
'Twas Duffy's apple juice, Betsy Jane
  And Bob, the sturdy boy,
That brought their family health and strength,
  And filled their hearts with joy.

THE FORGETFUL POET The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 7, 1919.

The Forgetful Poet

The queer creature received so many letters asking him what he did want for Christmas that he decided to answer them all in this week's verses.

What I Want for Christmas

I've thought and thought and quite reduced
  My wants to one small thing--
I'd be content if some one ------
  A magic wishing ------.

I know it is a modest gift.
  But I'm a modest poet.
I hardly need have added this
  For you already ------ ------.

Dear me, he'll have to tell the fairies about this. Modest? Oh, my! The words he forgot last week were size, use, hall, trees and cigars.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.