Wednesday, March 1, 2017


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, October 11, 1914.

(For Ned, Who Likes Stories of Horses.)

His name was Baron. He belonged to Krupp, of the Kaiser’s Uhlans. Two hands at least, his powerful shoulders rose above tall the horses in the line. His magnificent head stood out among the waving manes—like the prow of a ship stands out of the sea. He was on his way to the front. “Is this war?” he neighed with pounding heart as the trumpet sounded the call—“GO”—“Is this war?” he kept asking his comrade horses—during the long marches over the rolling hills. From his colthood he had heard men exclaim: “What a horse? What a WAR horse he will make!” All his life he had been dreaming, in a vague way, of this thing called war. When he was being trained to charge—and wheel and stand—he kept asking himself over and over, “Is this war?” The question leapt out of his eyes every day of the wearisome marching.

Then, one day, the Uhlans came to the French frontier own of Lamdreces. They charged the town—and somehow—the great horse realized that this charge was not like the practice charges. He felt a quiver of delight as the long line in a whirl of dust swept down the hill. “Ah,” cried he, throwing back his head—“surely this—is war!” down the narrow streets clattered the Uhlans. But suddenly the air was full of a thousand noises. Machine guns from the roofs and windows poured shot upon the advancing lines. With a rush a mass of English cavalry were hurtling to meet them. Ears back, head high, Baron plunged through the terrible confusion. The gun-powder stung his nostrils—on each side of him horses were rearing and plunging and snorting with fright. Men and horses were falling in hundreds. The cords of his mighty heart tightened. “This—then—was WAR!” With a scream of defiance he flung back his mane and plunged savagely to meet an advancing cavalryman. The man whipped out his sword and swung it at the head of Krupp. Up reared the gallant horse—and saved his master—by receiving the downward thrust in his heart.

Soundlessly he sank to his knees—then rolled heavily upon his side. Just once he raised his head to see Krupp fighting desperately with his back to the wall. He tried to rise—but dropped back with a groan. Something in the iron heart of the great horse snapped. His mighty limbs quivered, then lay forever still. This—was WAR!

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 28, 1920.


“What time,” asked a rabbit
With funny red eyes,
“What time may I ask
Do the little bees rise?”

        (Do you know?)

The sun had breakfast in bed, I think,
’Cause he didn’t get up till -----
With a woolen cloud bandage around his -----
He said ’twould be snowing soon!

(And I guess he’s right.)

And now let us explain that the weather is vain because it’s fair most of the time. And the only man it is safe to stick your tongue out at is—the doctor. And the mouse would like to be the man in the moon because he thinks the moon’s made of cheese, which shows he doesn’t know much about moonography.

We clean windows with a chamois and the animal in the verse was an oryx, and if you don’t believe me ask the Forgetful Poet. (If you can find him.)

[Answers next time.] 

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