Sunday, January 15, 2017


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 18, 1920.

Once upon a time there was an ambitious mole who wished to amount to something in the world. He felt sure that there was more to the earth than the dark underground tunnels that his family inhabited, although his father told him repeatedly that there was nothing above the ground worth looking at.

The moles are hard-working little people, and this particular family were employed in a mine and dug early and late for their living. One day as the little mole was at work in a lonely corner of the mine he met the old gnome who employed them and got into a conversation.

The old gnome was in a particularly good humor, having had mushroom pie for his dinner, and as there was no one about he condescended to be pleasant to the little mole boy. When Tommy—that was the mole’s name—asked him about the earth, he described, at great length, the forests and meadows, the trees and blue skies, the sun and the stars, and he even told him about people—which was funny, for gnomes do not usually believe in people.

Tommy could scarcely wait till evening that he might tell his family the wonderful story. But his father fell asleep in the middle of the recital and Mrs. Mole was so busy over her house accounts that she only nodded once in a while without even hearing. Tommy was discouraged, and all the next day he was turning over in his mind ways and means of seeing some of these things for himself.

One day instead of gong to work with is father he pretended to have an errand to do for the old gnome. He dug up and up and up till at last he could poke his head right out. He looked all around; then he was so disappointed that he flopped down on the ground and cried. Imagine!

“Everything’s just the same!” he wailed dismally.

“What’s the same?” A little fairy on her way to visit a sick bird family stopped beside him.

“The gnome said the trees were green and the sky was blue and everything is brown!” wailed the mole again. “Are you a person?”

“Not quite,” laughed the little creature softly, “I’m a fairy!”

“Well, you’re brown, too!” The mole sat up and viewed the little fairy dolefully.

“Why, I’m pink!” cried the fairy indignantly. Then all at once she began hopping around in an excited circle.

“I know what’s the matter! I know what’s the matter!” she laughed. “You wait here!”

Off like a flash she scurried, and just as the mole was about to go down into his hole again she returned with—what do you ’spose? A dear little pair of spectacles.

For, of course, dear heart, a mole is almost blind and everything does look brown to him—that’s why he thinks the whole world is like his dark, damp home underground.

Now these were magic specs and no sooner did Tommy look through them than he saw all the beautiful things of which the gnome had told him—the blue sky, the green trees and, best of all, the dainty little fairy. All day he ran hither and thither, admiring everything he saw, and when night came and the stars came out over the treetops he could not go to sleep at all!

“I will never live underground again!” he said delightedly. And he never did. In fact, he got a position as chief clerk in the fairy bank and lived happily the rest of his days. Isn’t it a pity that all moles cannot have fairy specs!

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 14, 1920.

Puzzle Corner

Why is pie like a cross old man?

Why could a pie never grow into a giant?

What great opera singer of the last generation was described by a small pie?

If you add an animal to pie what do you have?

How did pie get into the arithmetic?

What bird ends in pie?

And now to occupie your time supply the words to fill this rhyme:

The knight upon a ----- bald steed
And armed all cap-a- -----,
Forth from his donjon deep did ride
To do—to do or die!

The -----ioneers made pastry, dears
We’ve made it ever since.
What pie describes a foppish gait—
Ho! wait—’tis good old -----.

The answers to last week’s puzzles were rolling pin, and a clock is like a working man because it works with its hands and strikes. The answer to the last riddle is caddy.

A wave should have a foot because it has an under toe.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2017 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.