Friday, December 1, 2017


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 Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, December 20, 1890.

“This coffee,” remarked our landlady, as she poured out the colonel’s cup and adding the skim milk stirred it vigorously with her own spoon, - for she like the colonel; “this coffee is the Crushed Politician brand, an’ I bought it yisterday of a agent fer a quarter with a diamond necklace set in tin throwed in.”

“It tastes of crushed politician,” said Tom, moodily.

“Named after the republican county committee, probably,” added the doctor, sipping it warily.

“The necklace were worth a quarter any day,” declared our landlady, “an’ the agent said if the coffee weren’t good he’d refund the money. Now, Kurnel, tell me the solid artesian truth, is that ’air coffee any good?”

“Well,” replied the colonel, sadly, for he knew that a woman is ever sensitive about her coffee, “I believe that I’d get my money back – that is, if you ever expect to see him again – which you probably don’t.”

“No,” sighed Mrs. Bilkins, “I’m allus gittin’ fooled. It’s jest like the time I went to the Curmess, wich some feller said would a been a dog-gone mess if the cur had been left off; but I heered Tom say as there was goin’ to be a quart ’et an’ a quint ’et an’ I wanted to go an’ help eat ’em. But the lunch was pritty high fer the kind an’ there weren’t a quart of it altogether, much less a quint. But there! I ain’t got nothin’ to say agin’ the show, few these church doin’s is gen’ally wuth the money an’ goes to a good cause, - that is, the receipts nearly allus pay the expenses. When they don’t, them that’s worked the hardest has to put up the rest o’ the shuks, an’ imagine they’ll find their reward in Heving, where church sociables are at a bigger discount than Crusmus presents in a barber shop. Now I’ve got to work all my spare time to turn my lavender silk fer the Charity Ball, fer I wouldn’t miss it fer a farm. You’d have to go with me, Kurnel, fer it ain’t proper fer a lady to go alone, an’ you can borry George Cadwell’s swaller-tail, that he ain’t wore sence the prize fight. I hope Narre. will be there so’s I can jest grab him around the neck an’ swing him in a good old-fashioned waltz, fer Narre. is a great dancer an’ loves to spin.”

“It’s almost too warm for a dance,” said the colonel, with a troubled face.

“Well, it is rather summery. I got a letter from my brother in Oshkosh the other day, an’ he says in it, says he, ‘here you’ve been slavin’ fer six year in Dakoty an’ what have you got?’

“An’ I answered an’ says: ‘we’ve got the beautifullest weather in Ameriky,’ says I.

“ ‘Then,’ he writ back, ‘send me two barrels an’ a hogshead, for it’s so rainy an’ nasty here that I ain’t gone to the bank fer three days, an’ my money drawers is runnin’ over!’ That’s jest like my brother, he allus liked a joke. But speakin’ o’ jokes, a feller walked inter Salsberry’s yisterday an’ says, ‘hev you got a dairy fer sale?’ ‘No,’ says Skip, with a grin. ‘but Mr. Leavitt he’s got one he’d like to dispose of.’ O’ course the feller meant a writin’ cullender, but Skip is nothin’ if he ain’t funny. He’s goin’ down to Pierre this week to see if they won’t make him United States Senator. I’d ruther see Kernel Evans there, myself, but the town can’t hardly spare him. Well, Christmas is comin’ mighty quick now, an’ everybody’ll be jest as happy as if we was all Senators. The only thing that worries me is that all the stores is sellin’ for less nor cost an’ I expect we’ll have all the merchants on the town after New Years. But I s’pose it can’t be helped unless everyone insists on payin’ ’em a fair profit, an’ it ain’t in human natur’ to do that.”

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 30, 1921.

To begin with, the words left out of the last Forgetful poem were tobacco and ends. A dog is like a waste bucket because he is full of scraps. The state paper and famous ship was the Constitution.

The Forgetful Poet is feeling nonsensical, I think, from the sound of this verse, but he said to stick it in while he thought up a riddle. So I did.

Once there was a cotton rabbit
With a sugar-coated tail,
Who had a most amazing habit
Of chewing up the family mail!

Can you fill in these blanks?

There once was a -----
Who live in a garret,
And live upon coffee beans,
Crackers and -----.

The blanks in this verse can be filled in by musical terms.

An old man stood beside a wall,
And he was bent and pale,
And heavily leaned on his -----.
“The wall’s too high to -----,
I’ll have to go the other way,”
Quoth he, and down he sat
To ----- awhile upon a boulder,
Smooth and broad and -----.

[Answers next time.]

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