Sunday, February 14, 2016


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 19, 1917.

Terry Tom Turtle was a good-hearted old bachelor marine who kept a salt shop down in the ocean bed. His salt taffies were known for miles ’round and all the fish and deep sea creatures patronized his shop. Of course, you know that the sea folks love salt just about as much as we love candy, so no wonder Tom had a pile of shells, which is sea talk for money. Every Saturday night Wilfred Whale bought a ton of salt taffy for his children and left five hundred little pink shells to pay for them, and every Saturday night Tom took those and all the other shells he had received during the week to Solomon Swordfish’s Interoceanical Bank, which was not only guarded by watch-dogfish, but by a company of swordfish soldiers. Terry Tom Turtle always felt easier in his mind after he had deposited his shells, because there are no end of robbers in the sea kingdom and a marauding band of octopuses had been operating in his neighborhood and grabbed about everything in sight.

So Tom, feeling quite contented and happy, stretched himself out to read the Seaweed Review and went to sleep so sound and fast that he never wakened up till 10 o’clock Monday morning and only wakened then because some one was hammering loudly upon the shop door. “Must be a customer!” yawned Tom, waddling across to the door. Tom, you know, was one of these huge big turtles, most six feet tall, that you have often see in pictures, so no wonder he waddles. Well, waddle or not, he got to the door and who should be there but Solomon Swordfish. “Robbers!” gasped Solomon, flopping over on one fin and rolling his eyes in toward his nose. “What?” shrieked Terry T. T. (you don’t mind if I abbreviate, I hope.) “Where are the watch-dogfish and the guard?” “G-ug-gone!” gurgled Solomon miserably.

At that Terry T. T.’s eyes snapped angrily and giving his shell a hitch, he plunged out of the shop. “Wait till I catch ’em!” he rumbled, swimming off to the bank as fast as he could go.

What a sight met Terry Tom’s gaze! Two frightful-looking monsters with tails extending up—up and out of sight—standing on their two hind legs pulling the shells and pearls and other precious property out of the safe deposit caves of the Interoceanical Bank. All the officials of the bank, the watch dogs and swordfish guard had retired to a twenty-yard distance and were watching the robbery with bulging eyes, but making no attempt to interfere. “Cowards!” hissed Terry Tom, cutting through the water like a submarine. Snap came his teeth against the leg of one of the monsters, but nothing happened. “Incased in shells!” mumbled Tom, swimming out of the way, “but they must have some soft spots and I’ll keep at ’em till I find ’em!” The monsters were much annoyed by the frequent rushes of Terry Tom. They consulted together a few minutes, then one of them pulled his tail—his own tail I mean—and taking up a piece of wood held it out toward the giant turtle. Scarcely seeing what he was doing Terry made another snap and this time his teeth closed on something soft. “I’ll never let go!” raged Tom, with his eyes fast shut. And he never did. For the next minute the monster began to rush upward through the water and as Tom was determined not to let go, he rushed along.

I wish this story had a different ending, for I hate to tell you that Tom ended in the soup. But that’s what happened and you might as well know it. As soon as the diver, for the monsters were divers, as I suppose you have guessed long ago—as soon as the diver reached the surface there was a loud whack, the last Tom ever felt, and the next day there was turtle soup for everybody on board. Pshaw! Too bad, but Tom should not have thought so much of his money, or rather his shells.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 20, 1920.
The Puzzle Corner

Before we start any further nonsense we had better answer last week’s riddles. Camp kit, peacock and Persian. Of course a cat would talk Persian if it really did talk.

Now this week the Forgetful Poet has decided to say it with berries, and all the blanks in the following verses may be filled in by berries, if you please:

My ----- sister has a dress
Of very finest -----
And goes to dances, while I stay
At home and find it dull!

She is eighteen and I am eight,
And then my brother -----
Hies off to camp, and I’m left out
Of that, which is worse still!

“Don’t be a -----,” my mother says.
“’Tis foolish to be -----!”
I’d give a lot to be a very
Little girl like you.

And can you finish this poem?

There was a young eland name Ella,
Who played very well on the -----
And made heaps of gold, so at least I was told
By a trustworthy, seafaring -----.

[Answers next time.]
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