Friday, July 15, 2016


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Handy Mandy in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard in Oz, and The Wish Express, etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 22, 1919.

Thor—the Great God of the North—who lived long and long ago, had many enemies among the Giant Folk. The giants of the Mountains and of the Forest were always seeking a way to get possession of Thor’s famous hammer—which none of them could withstand and without which Thor would have easily fallen into their power.

Once in a mysterious manner Thrym, one of the most powerful of the giants, stole the famous hammer and buried it deep, deep under the Kingdom of Jotunheim, which is the giants’ country. Thor sent Loki—another of the North Gods—to see whether or not the giant might not negotiate for its return. Thrym said that he was quite willing to send back the hammer on condition that Freya, Queen of Valhalla, become his bride. Freya had no desire to live with the Frost Giant King, and Thor was in a great quandary as to how he might regain his precious hammer.

Finally Loki suggest that Thor dress in Freya’s clothes and go to the Frost Giant’s palace himself as the bride. Heavily veiled Thor and Loki presented themselves at the giant’s castle and were warmly welcomed by the giant, who thought he had won the beautiful goddess for his wife. A great feast was prepared in their honor, but what was the amazement of Thrym when he beheld his bride devour a whole ox, eight salmon and a host of other delicacies, washing down the whole with three tons of mead.

He expressed his astonishment to Loki, who assured him that the bride had eaten nothing for eight days, so excited was she at the honor of becoming his wife. Flattered and pleased Thrym tried to push aside Freya’s veil, but started back in terror at the glistening eyes that confronted him. Again he appealed to Loki. Loki told him that the bride had not slept for eight nights, and the giant, quite satisfied, ordered the hammer to be brought and placed in the maiden’s lap.

No sooner did Thor feel his mighty hammer than he cast off his disguise and laid about him right and left, destroying Thrym and all of his retainers.

Once upon a time Thor set out on a journey to the giants’ country, accompanied by Loki and one servant. By nightfall they had reached an immense forest, so they searched on all sides to find a place to sleep. At last they came to what appeared to be a strange gray building, the like of which they had never seen before. Indeed, it was most curiously constructed. It was too dark to seek further, so they decided to take shelter inside in spite of its peculiar appearance.

About 12 o’clock they were awakened by a terrible earthquake, which tossed them about in the chamber of the building like so many loose pebbles. Thor’s two companions rushed into an adjoining chamber, but Thor stood in the huge doorway holding his hammer in readiness for whatever happened. But nothing else did happen, so they retired and disposed themselves for sleep. In several hours they were again awakened, this time by fearful groans, which rumbled in as loud tones as the thunder itself. Feeling that the daytime was best for investigating the cause of so great a disturbance, the three spent the rest of the night wide awake and issued forth at dawn in no small state of trepidation.

Lying near at hand was the hugest giant they had ever seen, his snores shaking the whole forest and causing the sounds they had taken for groans. So formidable appeared the giant that even Thor stood back and was afraid to try his mighty hammer. Just then the giant wakened up, and taking his courage in both hands Thor asked him his name. The giant appeared to be in an excellent humor and answered quite pleasantly that his name was Skrymir. “And YOU are the god Thor,” he announced, stretching. “But where is my glove?” He looked around carelessly, then snatched the building where Thor and his companions had passed the night and drew it on. Thor was not a little put out to think he had slept in the giant’s glove. As for the giant, he invited the three to accompany him to his castle, which they did and had many more strange adventures, which, perhaps, some day I shall tell you.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 15, 1920. 
Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet still runs to rhymes. The missing creatures are not hard to find. What bird does he mean?

There once was a -----
In a water-proof suit
And the silly old waterfowl
Thought he looked -----

Why is an arithmetic book better furnished than other school books?

Three bodies of water are concealed in this verse. They may not be spelled exactly right, but they sound right:

Oh, when I don my swallow tail
I’m really quite superior,
But my old business suit’s more sane,
And really makes me cheerier!

[Answers next time.] 
Copyright © 2016 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 1, 2016


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc.

Originally published in the Quincy Daily Herald, April 14, 1903. This newspaper article by an unnamed reporter contains a verse by L. Frank Baum in response to an elaborate gift from Baum's friend George Stahl, resident of Quincy, Illinois.

George H. Stahl sent an Easter surprise by express to Frank Baum, author of “Father Goose” and the “Wizard of Oz,” who spent part of last summer in Quincy. He got three handsome Leghorn chickens and dyed one a brilliant purple, another a vivid red and the third a bright green. He had a coop especially made for them and in one corner fixed up a nest filled with fancifully dyed Easter eggs. The only inscription on the box was “Father Goose, Hiz Burds,” yet it was delivered at Mr. Baum’s home in Chicago bright and early Easter morning. Mr. Stahl knows they were delivered properly because yesterday he received the following poetic message by wire from Chicago:

The chicks are here in all their pride—
The purple, red, and green;
And though alive they are all “died”
The slickest ever seen.

So all the flock of Father Goose
Return your Easter greeting,
We’ll put your gorgeous gift to use—
If it is fit for eating.

Peace, love, and happiness be thine
Throughout the coming year;
We’ll drink your health in sparkling wine—
As we are out of beer.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 8, 1920.

Puzzle Corner

The Forgetful Poet was in a great hurry this week and he really didn’t have time to write out any new puzzles. He dashed into the office and breathlessly gave me the answers to last week’s, which are:

If a barrel laughed would it give a hoop?
How many sous in a bowl of soup?
What have a tree, a ship and a dog in common? A bark.

The foolish old manatee
Was known far and wide for her vanity,
She was ugly and fat, but she didn’t know that
And was proud to the point of insanity.

As he disappeared out of the door I heard him say, “I’m off to the shore and maybe I’ll visit the mountains before I get back.” So I know he is taking a vacation.

Copyright © 2016 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.