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.