Saturday, December 1, 2018


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 Los Angeles Times, Sunday, May 30, 1909.

[The nobles of the Al Malaikah Temple at Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium planned to attend the Shrine convention in Louisville, Kentucky. L. Frank Baum wrote the following lyrics for them to sing while traveling to the convention.]

(Tune, “Dixie.”)

Oh, way Southwest, in the land of posies,
Oranges, olives, nuts and roses,
We’re away, today, to play, and be gay.
Our Arab Patrol is Malaikah’s hope.
We’re the pride of the blue Pacific Slope,
Hold on, hold on, hold on to the rope.
We’ve traveled far to Dixie,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
Our lemons we can recommend,
But we never hand one to a friend,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
We’re glad we’ve come to Dixie,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
We’re here to capture Dixie.

We are here for fun, we are on the run,
For a stein for a Shriner every one,
Look away, hooray, yea, yea, happy day;
We are Angeles from Los Angeles,
We’re Billikens from the western seas,
We can stand hot sand, with any band, in the land;
We’ve come to join the conclave,
Zem zem, Zem zem,
In Louisville, we’ll get our fill
Of “con” and “clave,” we surely will
Zem zem, Zem zem;
Hurrah for the Louisvillians!
Zem zem, Zem zem,
We’ll shout for Louisville.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 4, 1917.

The Riddle of the Princess of Supposyville

’Way off a year or so from here
And a hundred miles besides,
In the kingdom of Supposyville
A princess fair resides.
At least, she was a princess
At the time she made the riddle.
But here I am as usual
Starting off ’way in the middle!
Well, knights in plumes rode up and down
Before her castle gate,
And many a king would give his crown
To marry her, folks state.
The princess, just as sweet and kind
As she is fair, is harassed
By twenty thousand suitors,
Till no wonder she’s embarrassed.
So, calling all her councilors,
She tells them to decree
That who can guess her riddle
Will be chosen speedily!
“Have not all princesses by riddles
Since the world began
Arranged such matters?” she inquires.
They quite approve the plan.
And on a certain day they come
By hundreds to the court,
The merchants, sailors, dukes and lords
And men of every sort!
Then, on a golden dais steps
The princess, lightly dances,
Her every bow and turn the company
More and more entrances.
And next, before they’ve caught their breath,
The lovely princess sings.
Each note drops like a rose leaf,
And each heart that hears takes wings!
Now stops the princess suddenly.
“My riddle—listen well!
What man would hark not to my voice
Nor note my dancing—tell?
Nor wed me, though I asked him over
Twenty times?” No notion
Had most of them, and what a noise
Arose and what commotion!
“A Hottentot!” guessed one; another
Called out boldly, “I
Like not your singing, princess,
And your dancing’s awkward, FIE!
And think’st that I would marry
Any one who asked me to?”
“I don’t like flattery,” quoth she,
“But have you answered true?”
Both this and that was guessed till every
One but ONE had missed—
And there the lovely princess stood
Unwon and all unkissed.
Then stepped the last one forward
And the last one was a king!
And bless my heart and heels! He guessed
The riddle off first thing!
“No man,” said he, “could be so rude,
So stupid, so unkind,
Unless, fair princess, he were deaf
And dumb and likewise BLIND!”
Yes, they were wedded on the spot
And all the bells are ringing—
And if you listen carefully
You’ll hear the princess singing.

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 23, 1916.

“I’m that disappointed I could just cry!” Mrs. Solomon Squirrel rocked jerkily backwards and forwards in the kitchen rocker, dabbing her eyes with the corner of her apron. Solomon was still peering through his spectacles at a telegram that had just been left by a sparrow messenger boy. “Ice unsafe, cannot cross the pond sorry to miss the party, Suzanne Squirrel.” “Couldn’t we postpone it, my dear?” ventured Solomon timidly. “Postpone it!” wailed Mrs. Squirrel throwing up her paws. “With all the nuts cracked and all the cakes and pies made—how you do talk, Solomon!” “It was only a suggestion, my dear!” Solomon reached apologetically for his hat and muttering something about “business appointment” hurried out of the house—I mean tree. He could not bear to see Mrs. Squirrel unhappy. She had worked so hard over the party, too, and here Suzanne, her husband and six children were not going to get there.

He was so worried and upset that he hardly spoke to Jack Rabbit’s Uncle John as he passed his door and the poor old rabbit gentleman was quite hurt, for Solomon always stopped and told him all the tree news and he told Solomon all the ground news. He had a choice bit this morning, too, about Henry Hedgehog’s new waistcoat. But Solomon was thinking of everything else but waistcoats just then. He whisked along down to the pond to see for himself whether the ice had broken up. “What in the world did Suzanne want to live on the other side of the pond for? Hadn’t he often offered to find her a tree near them?” He tapped the ice sharply with his cane, then shading his eyes with the newspaper, stared across. Sure enough, there was a great crack in the centre and a big sign reading, “Danger! Keep off!”

The sight was very depressing and the more he thought of the cupboard full of cakes and the pantry full of nuts and pies the worse he felt. “We’ll be eating ’em for the rest of the winter, for Sarah will never allow ’em to be wasted!” he reflected sadly. “Eating what for the rest of the winter?” said a voice behind him so suddenly that Mr. Squirrel dropped his cane with a crash. “Ha! Ho! Ho! Ha!” laughed two jolly voices and Solomon’s cousins, Benjamin and Jonathan Beaver, slapped him heartily upon the back. Solomon was so relieved to see some one to whom he could tell his troubles that he cheered up wonderfully.

“To (sic) bad! Too bad!” sympathized Benjamin when they had heard all about it. “Shouldn’t wonder if the thaw lasted a considerable spell!” observed Jonathan, squinting at the sun knowingly. “Come along, Ben, we’ve a deal of wood to cut today.” Benjamin didn’t answer for he was staring across the pond as if he saw something mighty interesting over there. “What is it?” questioned Solomon, shading his eyes with the paper again. “An idea!” chuckled Benjamin, rubbing his paws together. Then giving Solomon a poke in the ribs that left him breathless, he pointed to the tree under which they were standing. Still Solomon looked mystified. But Jonathan seemed to know immediately what the idea was. “Fine!” he exclaimed, pulling off his coat!

Then Benjamin got on one side of the tree and Jonathan on the other and they gnawed and gnawed with their sharp teeth till, my goody two shoes, down it came with a crash and fell across the pond, making the finest bridge you ever saw! And Solomon Squirrel was so delighted he threw his hat up in the air and cheered for dear life. Then he shook paws with both his cousins, clapped his hat on again and scampered across to tell Suzanne and the family that they could come to his wife’s party.

All in a flutter he rushed back again to tell Mrs. Solomon Squirrel the good news. So they both put on aprons and all the little Solomon Squirrels put on aprons and in three whisks of a tail the table was set and everything was right again. At 2 o’clock Suzanne Squirrel and her family, all dressed in gray fur coats, might have been seen stepping daintily over the beavers’ bridge on their way to the party. And I’m very glad it all turned out so happily, aren’t you!

By Ruth Plumly Thompson  
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 17, 1921

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

The Forgetful Poet surely mixed himself up last week with a wakesap instead of a knapsack and tame flowers ’stead of wild flowers and woods overhead and sky underfoot. Then he used sang for trudged and trudged for sang, and left out today entirely—but for all of that it was a very fine poem HE says.
[This is the final installment of "The Forgetful Poet." There won't be any answers next time. Look for a NEW continuing feature: Supposyville Stories!]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Saturday, September 1, 2018


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, September 13, 1914.

ONCE—once, BIG little Oliver Elephant didn’t mind his mother. Think of that!

“Now don’t go beyond the tall cocoanut trees, Oliver Elephant!” his big kind mother said shaking her trunk at him; and

“Don’t go beyond the tall cocoanut trees!” His GREAT BIG FATHER had said. putting up his ears; and

“Don’t go beyond the tall cocoanut trees!” his GREAT BIG UNCLE ABNER had said. Then his big kind mother went on stirring up the huge hay pudding she was making for lunch—and his big father—and his big Uncle Abner—they went hunting—and big little Oliver Elephant went out to play.

Pretty soon he came to that part of the forest where the tall cocoanut trees were. It was very dark and tangled beyond, but Oliver Elephant thought it looked very INTERESTING. And the more he looked the more interesting it seemed to grow. All at once a bright green snake went daring between the tall cocoanut trees right into the dark tangle beyond, and before Oliver Elephant knew what he was about he was running lumpety lump lump lump! after it. It went shooting and darting ahead and Oliver ran and ran and ran—till he was a great big long ways from his big kind mother. The forest got deeper and deeper and DEEPER and darker and darker and DARKER! And first thing you know little Oliver Elephant fell over a tangly vine and hurt himself dreadfully. Then he began to feel frightened. “Oooh! what big black shadows there are here!” said he. “Oooh! How still it is here!”

THEN—suddenly he heard footsteps. Pat! pat! pat!—pat! pat! pat! They were coming straight for HIM! Oliver Elephant flapped his big ears and rolled his little eyes—and wished he could see his big kind mother. Then from the opposite direction came other footsteps. Pat! pat! patter! Pat! pat! patter! The trees began to sigh—“whooooooooh! And the branches began to crack—and Oliver just held his breath. Who do you ’spose was coming? I’d better tell you right away. It was MRS. SHAGGY LION—and MRS. TABITHA TIGER. They were on their way to market, too!

“Br-rrAH!” roared Mrs. Shaggy Lion, stepping out of the shadows.

“Gr-ruuF!” growled Mrs. Tabitha Tiger. Then they both set down their market baskets and looked at Oliver Elephant.

“I’ll take his HEAD!” roared Mrs. Shaggy Lion, and “I’ll take his trunk and his two front legs!” rumbled Mrs. Tabitha Tiger “M—m! What a fine elephant pie ’twill make!” roared Mrs. Shaggy Lion, licking her chops; and “Oooh! what a lumpety chumpety elephant stew I’ll have!” purred Mrs. Tabitha Tiger, rolling her green eyes.

Poor Oliver Elephant was so sca—red that he could not even swallow. “ELEPHANT PIE!” “ELEPHANT STEW!” Oh, why hadn’t he minded his mother!

Now Mrs. Shaggy Lion and Mrs. Tabitha Tiger were so sure of little Oliver Elephant that they stood talking about how the little shaggy lionesses loved elephant pie—and how the little tigresses loved elephant stew. Besides they wanted to rest before they started to divide Oliver up into heads and trunks and things—UGH!

But fortunately some one was listening. I’ll tell you who! One of the little brown wood elves who look after the little wild children same as the good fairies look after you! He heard all this talking about elephant pie and such—and he leapt up Oliver’s trunk and he crept into Oliver’s ear and whispered just ONE word—then he flew away.

“And how’s Mr. Shaggy Lion?— ” began Mrs. Tabitha Tiger—but here Oliver Elephant came crashety smashing into them and HEAD over TAILS over MARKET BASKETS went Mrs. Shaggy Lion and Mrs. Tabitha Tiger—bump! BUMPETY BUMP! BUMP!—and all they ever saw of Oliver Elephant was a cloud of sticks and dust! The little word that the elf had whispered was this—“RUN!”—and he did! He ran and ran and ran and never stopped till he came all dusty and tired to his own house. There stood his big kind mother with the tears running down her trunk in bucketfuls ’cause she thought he was LOST! But when she saw him coming—she was so glad to see him that she forgot how naughty he had been and she threw her trunk around his neck and hugged and hugged him. So did his big father and his uncle Abner Elephant. And after that—Oliver Elephant always minded his mother.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson  
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 3, 1921.

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

The Forgetful Poet’s Easter poem was all very well as far as it went, but, as usual, our forgetful friend left out half of the words. They were ears, snow and know it.


Oh, skates and tops, and jumping ropes,
Oh, marbles, balls and kites!

They’re here. Oh, spring, I rise to -----
Of all your dear delights.

The trees are gay with lovely grass,
The fields are full of leaves,

And little birds sing high and low
And twitter in the -----.

It’s time to gard a planten,
And be happy as a king.

My hair is gray, but, oh, I say,
I just adore the -----.

Some of the words in these verses seem a bit twisted to me. How do they strike you? That trees full of grass, for instance! Oh, well, the dear soul is so enthusiastic he’s got himself a little mixed.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


By W. W. Denslow
Author of Denslow's Scarecrow and Tinman, original illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Father Goose: His Book, Dot and Tot of Merryland, etc.

Originally published in Boston Post, May 11, 1902.

Click image to enlarge.

  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 27, 1921.

The Forgetful Poet and His Puzzles

There were surely enough mistakes in the old fellow’s verses last week to keep all of us busy. First he said bearlarpo instead of polar bear, left out to; used lions where he should have used monkeys and monkeys where he should have put lions; left out appetite and hay and wish, had tigers spotted instead of striped and leopards striped instead of spotted and left out do and it.

Today he has written a simple little Easter poem he says that a mere child can understand.

The Easter Rabbit has long -----
And fur as white as -----.
He brings good children Easter eggs,
And other things, you know.

I wish he’d bring a few to me,
Although I’m just a poet,
Grown up at that. I’ll bet a hat
No one would ever -----.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 1, 2018


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 31, 1919.

Once on a high time all the birds
Decided to choose a king.
They summoned all the feathered folk
And soon upon the wing

Came goose and duck and robin red,

Blue heron, owl and wren,
The crow and blackbird and the gull,
The pheasant and the hen.

More birds than ever I could tell.
The judges take their stand.
Old Mr. Owl presides and calls
The roll in manner grand.

“In choosing, mark ye well, appearance
Counts in any king,
Also the voice,” admonished he,
“And power, strength of wing.”

Outside the gate the peacock stood
And heard the owl with glee.
“It’s very plain,” he murmured, “that
He means a bird like me.”

“I’ll wait until the last bell sounds,
Then sweep into the hall,
With regal head and tail outspread,
And overwhelm them all.”

And so he waited till the last,
Then strutted through the gate.
The birds all craned their necks to see
Who came so proud and late.

But, oh! just then the gate slammed to,
His tail was left outside,
Clipped off neatly and completely,
So here’s what comes of pride.

Without his tail the peacock is
A sorry sight to see.
And while they crowned the eagle KING
He hid behind a tree.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 20, 1921. 

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

In last week’s verses our forgetful friend left out know and can’t, used up for down and down for up, awake for asleep and left out ice cream in his very last rhyme. Outside of this, it was pretty good poetry.


I always spend a day, in spring,
Out in the good old Zoo,
I like to see the bearlarpo
And all the monkeys, too.

The lions chatter in their cage,
The bears are most polite,
The monkeys roar with hungry rage,
The hippo’s -----

Is very large. The elephant
Can eat his share I’ll say.
For breakfast he can eat a ton
Or wagonload of -----.

It’s very pleasant, you’ll agree,
To watch the seals eat fish,
Though their voice aren’t as cultured
As a gentleman could -----.

The tiger’s spots and leopard’s stripes
Are odd, one must admit.
I love the Zoo, I really ----
Now aren’t YOU fond of -----?

Well, well, WELL! There are so many mistakes in this poem one scarcely knows where to begin. I wonder if you can find them all?

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 1, 2018


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

From the stage show The Woggle-Bug. Sheet music originally published in 1905.

Sung by Mombi and 16 Goblins. 

Shadows are falling,
Screech-owls are calling,
Hobgoblins and sprites appear.

[Spoken]: Booh!

With pranks so bold
You shudder to behold
Them creeping up behind you,
Should they find you,
Then you'd better scoot, scoot, scoot.
And if they're jeering,
Then you'd best be fearing,
With devilments wicked they're chock full to boot.

So run away
From where the goblins play,
'Mid gloomy shade of night
To scamper they delight.
And dance with merry tune
Where shines the ghostly moon,
A howlin' and a scowlin',
You can't run away too soon.

When forests darken,
There if you harken, You will hear the goblins call.

[Spoken]: Booh!

Hand joined to hand
That grim and awful band
Dance 'round and 'round so madly,
That you'll gladly
Shake your heels and scoot, scoot, scoot.
With nerves ashiver
And your flesh aquiver,
This company doubtless the timid won't suit.

So run away
From where the goblins play,
'Mid gloomy shade of night
To scamper they delight.
And dance with merry tune
Where shines the ghostly moon,
A howlin' and a scowlin',
You can't run away too soon.

  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 13, 1921.

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

In the first verse last week the dear fellow used west for east, off for on, out for in and left out day. In the second verse he used doggiewillow for pussywillow, puss-wood for dogwood, gnirps for spring, down for up and left out ’possum. In the last verse he left out red.

The March wind seems to have blown his words about today and they are just as nonsensical as ever. For instance take this:

What, ho! ’Tis spring! But then you -----
I really do not care to how,
Or rake, or dig or even plant,
Or rather shall I say I -----.

The clock ran up
I wound it down
Then broke two saucers
And a cup!

I think he has said the opposite from what he means here, don’t you think so? Well, to conclude he remarks:

I fell awake and dreamed a dream
Of summertime and peach -----

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 14, 2018


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

Illustrated by Charles J. Coll

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger.

[Punctuation corrected for clarity. Racial implications do not reflect the opinions of anyone connected with Hungry Tiger Press.]

The little white Princess mouse wept in her tower—
The King and the Queen had been scolding an hour—
For suitors had come dressed in satins and lace
But the little mouse Princess averted her face!

What though they had titles as long as their tails—
What though the Queen shakes her and all the Court rails,
She sees a wee cottage tucked under a hill
And by a clear brook a wee little Mouse Mill!

Where froggies and fairy folk come with their flour
And a little brown miller mouse looks toward her tower—
Where birds sing delightfully all the day through—
The little brook sings and the mill wheel sings too!

But a wee white mouse Princess may never step down
From her Princessy throne, dears—to wed with a brown!
She may not! I said, but Ho—sometimes she does—
And she did one fine day—why? Oh my—just because!

And when the King thumped on the wee cottage door
He found her as gay as she’d been sad—before.
“You’ve wed a brown mouse!” “No—Your Highness, he’s white.”
And the King looking close—saw the Princess was right.

The little mouse miller was white from the flour.
In a rage the Mouse King hobbled back to his tower!
But the gay little miller and Wee Princess—still
Are as happy as larks in the little mouse mill!

  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 6, 1921.

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

A good many people don’t say what they mean, but not very many say the exact opposite. The Forgetful Poet has developed [t]his habit lately, besides leaving out words, so that if you can guess what he means you will be brighter than we are down in this office. Unriddle his rhymes if you can, old dears.

The sun rose in the west,
And I rose in the usual way,
Put off my clothes, turned in my toes,
And wished my friends good —.

The doggie willow trees are out,
The puss-wood soon will blossom,
And Gnirps will waken down
The bears and Uncle Billy —.

Two hares caught in the brush,

I wept until my eyes were —,
You see, they were my own,
And should have stayed on top my head!

There are three opposite words in the first, three in the second and a sad mistake in spelling in the third verse and also one in the second verse.

The Forgetful Poet put short for tall, bad for good, day for night, light for dark and out for in—in his last poem.

[Answers next time.] 

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


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 American Fairy Tales, 1901.

Mamma had gone down-town to shop. She had asked Nora to look after Jane Gladys, and Nora promised she would. But it was her afternoon for polishing the silver, so she stayed in the pantry and left Jane Gladys to amuse herself alone in the big sitting-room upstairs.

The little girl did not mind being alone, for she was working on her first piece of embroidery--a sofa pillow for papa’s birthday present. So she crept into the big bay window and curled herself up on the broad sill while she bent her brown head over her work.

Soon the door opened and closed again, quietly. Jane Gladys thought it was Nora, so she didn’t look up until she had taken a couple more stitches on a forget-me-not. Then she raised her eyes and was astonished to find a strange man in the middle of the room, who regarded her earnestly.

He was short and fat, and seemed to be breathing heavily from his climb up the stairs. He held a work silk hat in one hand and underneath his other elbow was tucked a good-sized book. He was dressed in a black suit that looked old and rather shabby, and his head was bald upon the top.

Excuse me, he said, while the child gazed at him in solemn surprise. Are you Jane Gladys Brown?”

Yes, sir,” she answered.

Very good; very good, indeed!” he remarked, with a queer sort of smile. I’ve had quite a hunt to find you, but I’ve succeeded at last.”

How did you get in?” inquired Jane Gladys, with a growing distrust of her visitor.

That is a secret,” he said, mysteriously.

This was enough to put the girl on her guard. She looked at the man and the man looked at her, and both looks were grave and somewhat anxious.

What do you want?” she asked, straightening herself up with a dignified air.

Ah!—now we are coming to business,” said the man, briskly. I’m going to be quite frank with you. To begin with, your father has abused me in a most ungentlemanly manner.”

Jane Gladys got off the window sill and pointed her small finger at the door.

Leave this room ’meejitly!" she cried, her voice trembling with indignation. My papa is the best man in the world. He never ’bused anybody!”

Allow me to explain, please,” said the visitor, without paying any attention to her request to go away. Your father may be very kind to you, for you are his little girl, you know. But when he’s down-town in his office he’s inclined to be rather severe, especially on book agents. Now, I called on him the other day and asked him to buy the ‘Complete Works of Peter Smith,’ and what do you suppose he did?”

She said nothing.

Why,” continued the man, with growing excitement, he ordered me from his office, and had me put out of the building by the janitor! What do you think of such treatment as that from the ‘best papa in the world,’ eh?”

I think he was quite right,” said Jane Gladys.

Oh, you do? Well,” said the man, I resolved to be revenged for the insult. So, as your father is big and strong and a dangerous man, I have decided to be revenged upon his little girl.”

Jane Gladys shivered.

What are you going to do?” she asked.

I’m going to present you with this book,” he answered, taking it from under his arm. Then he sat down on the edge of a chair, placed his hat on the rug and drew a fountain pen from his vest pocket.

I’ll write your name in it,” said he. How do you spell Gladys?”

G-l-a-d-y-s,” she replied.

Thank you. Now this,” he continued, rising and handing her the book with a bow, is my revenge for your father’s treatment of me. Perhaps he’ll be sorry he didn't buy the 'Complete Works of Peter Smith.’ Good-by, my dear.”

He walked to the door, gave her another bow, and left the room, and Jane Gladys could see that he was laughing to himself as if very much amused.

When the door had closed behind the queer little man the child sat down in the window again and glanced at the book. It had a red and yellow cover and the word Thingamajigs was across the front in big letters.

Then she opened it, curiously, and saw her name written in black letters upon the first white leaf.

He was a funny little man,” she said to herself, thoughtfully.

She turned the next leaf, and saw a big picture of a clown, dressed in green and red and yellow, and having a very white face with three-cornered spots of red on each cheek and over the eyes. While she looked at this the book trembled in her hands, the leaf crackled and creaked and suddenly the clown jumped out of it and stood upon the floor beside her, becoming instantly as big as any ordinary clown.

After stretching his arms and legs and yawning in a rather impolite manner, he gave a silly chuckle and said:

"This is better! You don’t know how cramped one gets, standing so long upon a page of flat paper.”

Perhaps you can imagine how startled Jane Gladys was, and how she stared at the clown who had just leaped out of the book.

You didn’t expect anything of this sort, did you?” he asked, leering at her in clown fashion. Then he turned around to take a look at the room and Jane Gladys laughed in spite of her astonishment.

What amuses you?” demanded the clown.

Why, the back of you is all white!” cried the girl. You’re only a clown in front of you.”

Quite likely,” he returned, in an annoyed tone. The artist made a front view of me. He wasn’t expected to make the back of me, for that was against the page of the book.”

But it makes you look so funny!” said Jane Gladys, laughing until her eyes were moist with tears.

The clown looked sulky and sat down upon a chair so she couldn’t see his back.

I’m not the only thing in the book,” he remarked, crossly.

This reminded her to turn another page, and she had scarcely noted that it contained the picture of a monkey when the animal sprang from the book with a great crumpling of paper and landed upon the window seat beside her.

He-he-he-he-he!” chattered the creature, springing to the girl’s shoulder and then to the center table. This is great fun! Now I can be a real monkey instead of a picture of one.”

Real monkeys can’t talk,” said Jane Gladys, reprovingly.

How do you know? Have you ever been one yourself?” inquired the animal; and then he laughed loudly, and the clown laughed, too, as if he enjoyed the remark.

The girl was quite bewildered by this time. She thoughtlessly turned another leaf, and before she had time to look twice a gray donkey leaped from the book and stumbled from the window seat to the floor with a great clatter.

You’re clumsy enough, I’m sure!” said the child, indignantly, for the beast had nearly upset her.

Clumsy! And why not?” demanded the donkey, with angry voice. If the fool artist had drawn you out of perspective, as he did me, I guess you’d be clumsy yourself.”

What’s wrong with you?” asked Jane Gladys.

My front and rear legs on the left side are nearly six inches too short, that’s what’s the matter! If that artist didn’t know how to draw properly why did he try to make a donkey at all?”

I don’t know,” replied the child, seeing an answer was expected.

I can hardly stand up,” grumbled the donkey; and the least little thing will topple me over.”

Don’t mind that,” said the monkey, making a spring at the chandelier and swinging from it by his tail until Jane Gladys feared he would knock all the globes off; the same artist has made my ears as big as that clown’s and everyone knows a monkey hasn’t any ears to speak of--much less to draw.”

He should be prosecuted,” remarked the clown, gloomily. I haven’t any back.”

Jane Gladys looked from one to the other with a puzzled expression upon her sweet face, and turned another page of the book.

Swift as a flash there sprang over her shoulder a tawney, spotted leopard, which landed upon the back of a big leather armchair and turned upon the others with a fierce movement.

The monkey climbed to the top of the chandelier and chattered with fright. The donkey tried to run and straightway tipped over on his left side. The clown grew paler than ever, but he sat still in his chair and gave a low whistle of surprise.

The leopard crouched upon the back of the chair, lashed his tail from side to side and glared at all of them, by turns, including Jane Gladys.

Which of us are you going to attack first?” asked the donkey, trying hard to get upon his feet again.

I cant attack any of you,” snarled the leopard. The artist made my mouth shut, so I havent any teeth; and he forgot to make my claws. But Im a frightful looking creature, nevertheless; am I not?”

Oh, yes;” said the clown, indifferently. I suppose youre frightful looking enough. But if you have no teeth nor claws we dont mind your looks at all.”

This so annoyed the leopard that he growled horribly, and the monkey laughed at him.

Just then the book slipped from the girls lap, and as she made a movement to catch it one of the pages near the back opened wide. She caught a glimpse of a fierce grizzly bear looking at her from the page, and quickly threw the book from her. It fell with a crash in the middle of the room, but beside it stood the great grizzly, who had wrenched himself from the page before the book closed.

Now,” cried the leopard from his perch, youd better look out for yourselves! You cant laugh at him as you did at me. The bear has both claws and teeth.”

Indeed I have,” said the bear, in a low, deep, growling voice. And I know how to use them, too. If you read in that book youll find I'm described as a horrible, cruel and remorseless grizzly, whose only business in life is to eat up little girls—shoes, dresses, ribbons and all! And then, the author says, I smack my lips and glory in my wickedness.”

Thats awful!” said the donkey, sitting upon his haunches and shaking his head sadly. What do you suppose possessed the author to make you so hungry for girls? Do you eat animals, also?”

The author does not mention my eating anything but little girls,” replied the bear.

Very good," remarked the clown, drawing a long breath of relief. you may begin eating Jane Gladys as soon as you wish. She laughed because I had no back.”

And she laughed because my legs are out of perspective,” brayed the donkey.

But you also deserve to be eaten,” screamed the leopard from the back of the leather chair; "for you laughed and poked fun at me because I had no claws nor teeth! Dont you suppose Mr. Grizzly, you could manage to eat a clown, a donkey and a monkey after you finish the girl?

"Perhaps so, and a leopard into the bargain,” growled the bear. It will depend on how hungry I am. But I must begin on the little girl first, because the author says I prefer girls to anything.”

Jane Gladys was much frightened on hearing this conversation, and she began to realize what the man meant when he said he gave her the book to be revenged. Surely papa would be sorry he hadnt bought the Complete Works of Peter Smith when he came home and found his little girl eaten up by a grizzly bear—shoes, dress, ribbons and all!

The bear stood up and balanced himself on his rear legs.

This is the way I look in the book,” he said. Now watch me eat the little girl.”

He advanced slowly toward Jane Gladys, and the monkey, the leopard, the donkey and the clown all stood around in a circle and watched the bear with much interest.

Illustration originally published in the St. Louis Republican, March 3, 1901.

But before the grizzly reached her the child had a sudden thought, and cried out:

Stop! You mustnt eat me. It would be wrong.”

Why?” asked the bear, in surprise.

Because I own you. Youre my private property,” she answered.

I dont see how you make that out,” said the bear, in a disappointed tone.

Why, the book was given to me; my names on the front leaf. And you belong, by rights, in the book. So you mustnt dare to eat your owner!”

The Grizzly hesitated.

Can any of you read?” he asked.

I can,” said the clown.

Then see if she speaks the truth. Is her name really in the book?”

The clown picked it up and looked at the name.

It is,” said he. ‘Jane Gladys Brown;’ and written quite plainly in big letters.”

The bear sighed.

Then, of course, I can’t eat her,” he decided. That author is as disappointing as most authors are.”

But he’s not as bad as the artist,” exclaimed the donkey, who was still trying to stand up straight.

The fault lies with yourselves,” said Jane Gladys, severely. Why didnt you stay in the book, where you were put?”

The animals looked at each other in a foolish way, and the clown blushed under his white paint.

Really—” began the bear, and then he stopped short.

The door bell rang loudly.

It’s mamma!” cried Jane Gladys, springing to her feet. She’s come home at last. Now, you stupid creatures—”

But she was interrupted by them all making a rush for the book. There was a swish and a whirr and a rustling of leaves, and an instant later the book lay upon the floor looking just like any other book, while Jane Gladys strange companions had all disappeared.

* * * * * * * *

This story should teach us to think quickly and clearly upon all occasions; for had Jane Gladys not remembered that she owned the bear he probably would have eaten her before the bell rang.

  The Forgetful Poet 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 27, 1921.

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

Most of you seemed to know just what the Forgetful Poet meant to say, although he put down the exact opposite. The words that should have been changed were dry to get [sic, wet], hot to cold, ice chest to fireplace, black to white, and the word left out was mirror. This week he seems to have mixed himself up just as thoroughly.

An Exactly Opposite Poem

Oh, once there was a jolly giant,
Short as any steeple.
And he was bad as he could be
And never bothered people!

Each night he ventured after light
To walk abroad and peer
Out people’s houses to amuse
Himself, the cute old dear!

There are five wrong words in these two verses. Can you find them?

[Answers next time.] 

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.