Thursday, March 1, 2018


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 24, 1919.

Once upon a time there was a poor woodchopper mouse named Terry Trim. He lived in a wild weed forest in a little hut made from twigs and worked from morning till night to earn a living for himself, Mrs. Terry Trim and Tommy Trim.

He sold his logs of weed to the fairies and also earned a bit from the birds. He was a great hand to pick up material for nests, as he was working in the forest, and the birds were glad enough to buy of him the bits of silk cord and fern that he collected for them. But times were hard and Mrs. Trim often urged him to move to the city, where she had many relations. But Mr. Trim was very independent and he had a great contempt for the city mice who lived in the houses of men and stole enough to live on.

“I’ll earn what we need or perish in the attempt!” said the valiant little mouse on more than one occasion, after which he would fall to chopping weeds with all the vigor in the world. Then Mrs. Trim would sigh and sew another patch on Tommy’s rompers. Poverty was not the only thing they had to contend with. There were many enemies in the forest. Every night the windows were barred fast to keep away fierce Mr. Owl, who often boasted that he would eat the whole family one fine day.

Then there was Ebenezer Mole. One time he almost coaxed Tommy down into his underground cave, and had not Terry just happened to have been there Tommy Mouse Trim would have been under old Ebenezer’s waistcoat. Then another day he tunneled under the little hut and was just about scratching his way through the floor when Mrs. Tommy heard the noise and poured a kettleful of hot water on him. Yes, there was no doubt about it, Mr. Terry Trim had a hard time of it.

But he only worked faster and kept shaking his head and saying, “Everything will come right directly!”

And sure enough it did! One hot afternoon as he was stacking his bundle of weeds ready to return home, Terry heard a faint cry from under a pile of leaves. He dropped everything and hastened to the spot. A tiny little humming bird had fallen there. It quivered with fright as Terry picked it up and put it carefully under his coat.

Home ran Terry—wood and everything but the forsaken little bird forgotten.

“Here, wife—see what I’ve brought you?” he cried excitedly bursting in upon Mrs. Trim. When she saw the shivering little bird Mrs. Trim gave a little shrug of disappointment.

“I thought you had brought us something for supper!” she sighed reproachfully. Nevertheless she brought out Tommy’s old cradle and made the little stranger as comfortable as she knew how. And soon as the little creature was fed with the last mite of sugar in the house it fell fast asleep and Terry trudged back to the forest for his bundle of fairy logs. When he had sold the last bundle and bought some cheese of an old fairy woman he hurried back home. But everything seemed strange. A neat little path ran straight through the forest, where none had been before. Over the top of some tall weed trees he saw the turrets of a wonderful manor house. Terry rubbed his eyes, for he thought he was lost or dreaming. Yet surely this was the way! Hardly knowing what to think he ran down the path. Whew—there was a regular mouse mansion about as big as a good sized doll house, only much, much beautifuler! Oh, much. There was a garden with a fountain and an arbor and—before Terry could see any more, Mrs. Trim and Tom burst out of the door and ran to meet him.

You see, sweethearts, the humming bird was a very good little fairy and had rewarded the little mouse couple with this beautiful new house and enough mouse money to last as long as they lived. Oh, I wish you had seen that little mouse manor with its cunning pantry and kitchen and its open fireplace and piano!

And if you see a little lost bird be kind to it—for, you know, it might be a fairy.

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

The Forgetful Poet’s Puzzles

The Forgetful Poet was busy writing valentines to all his friends last week and just came in to say that the answers were Tee or T (found eighteen times on a golf course). A patch of sunshine is the cheapest patch in the world and chow describes a dog and a soldier’s dinner, though a soldier does not eat bowwows by any manner of means. When a cat is angry it describes a spitz dog, and the words left out of the poem were ball and small.

The poem he left today sounds dreadfully queer. I think he has said the exact opposite of what he intended to say, and perhaps if you find the right words it will rhyme correctly.

I went out in the day -----
And caught an awful hot, my dear—
Since then I’ve hugged the ice chest
And kept cotton in my ear!

My family say I look quite black—
I looked into my -----?
And must admit that every day
I grow a little queerer!

“Why do trees sway in the wind? Ahem—because they are full of bows.” I don’t know why he answered that himself, I guess he was afraid he’d forget it before next week.

[Answers next time.]

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