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.]

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