Author of Grampa in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!" etc.
Originally published in the Phildelphia Public Ledger, August 10, 1919.
One bright morning Oliver Elephant was playing croquet with Tommy Tapir. Oliver's trunk made an ideal mallet and he was sending his ball through the wicket two at a time. Tommy Tapir panted after him anxiously, but there was no doubt at all of the big little elephant's winning.
"There," chuckled Oliver, “one more stroke and I'll be out!”
But you never can tell. Behind a tree Arthur Ostrich had ben hungrily watching the game. He never had got over his taste for croquet balls. It fairly made his mouth water to see them rolling on the green. But Oliver was bigger than he was, so for a long time he resisted the temptation of gobbling up a ball or two and running away. Then Oliver's ball rolled almost under his nose. It had just missed the stake.
Oliver turned to watch Tommy Tapir play, then out popped Arthur Ostrich's head. One gulp and a hard swallow and Oliver's ball was lodged half way down his long neck. He was just about to run away, when Tommy Tapir saw him. Throwing down his mallet with a loud scream he rushed at Arthur, Oliver close behind him. Arthur Ostrich tried to swallow, but fright made his throat dry and that ball wouldn't budge. He took two long leaps, but Oliver came thumping after him madder than a nest of hornets and tripped him up with his trunk.
"You put my ball right back!" he trumpeted, while Tommy Tapir began pulling feather after feather out of Arthur Ostrich's tail.
"Help!" shrieked the bad, big little ostrich. Well, dears and ducks, they make such a rumpus that Oliver's Uncle Abner Elephant threw down the Jungle News and came a running.
"Stop! Stop!" he called at the top of his trunk. But Oliver was pushing Arthur Ostrich right up to the stake and before Uncle Abner could interfere he had bumped that swallowed croquet ball against the post.
"There," he wheezed breathlessly. "I beat anyhow!"
"This is disgraceful!" spluttered Uncle Abner, pulling Oliver off by the suspenders and rolling Tommy Tapir into the dust.
"What's the matter anyhow?"
"He ate my ball!" wailed Oliver. One glance convinced Uncle Abner of the truth of this statement.
"They pulled out my best plumes!" sobbed Arthur Ostrich, at the same time swallowing the croquet ball.
"Then you're all about even, I judge," laughed Uncle Abner. "Isn't that right?"
"You beat," conceded Tommy Tapir generously, at which Oliver, not to be outdone, generously decided to forgive Arthur Ostrich. Uncle Abner gave the injured bird an old pipe and after eating it with great relish Arthur agreed to make up, too.
For, as Uncle Abner said, an elephant and an ostrich surely ought to get along. And when the asked him why he just laughed all inside of himself and said, " 'Cause elephants have such long trunks and ostriches such long necks." What do you think of that? (Perhaps this story is long enough.) All right, I'll stop. But Oliver's mother had a gorgeous ostrich-plume bonnet, mind that.
The Puzzle Corner
The Forgetful Poet said quite a bit with metals last week, but nearly every one guessed them, and the right ones were: Tin, lead, steel, bronze, brass and silver.
And now, before he bursts into another poem, he wants to know what letter of the alphabet and figure below ten will describe a bowwow? And, why need a man who has an ax never go hungry?
A Fishing Poem
With rod and sackknap on my back
A fishing I will go –
I'll sit upon a stream – my line
Into the rock I'll throw!
And there I'll sit until a hook
Comes biting at my fish.
Besides, I'll take along
An umbrella and a book!
My! Won't the tea taste fine for fish.
Why, I can hardly wait.
I'll run into the garden now
And dig a can of -----.
It seems to me that some of the words in this poem are out of place. How does it seem to you?
[Answers next time.]
Copyright © 2014 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.