Tuesday, January 1, 2019


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Ojo in Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink", "King, King! Double King!", etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, September 20, 1914.

One day Oliver Elephant and his cousin, Tommy Tapir, were walking through the deep forest together. They were going after cocoanuts. Tommy was such a happy little chap that he could not help singing the song that his mother sang to him in the morning. This is it:

“Oh, Tommy, Tommy Tapir,
If you’re good as you can be,
You can have some bread and ’lasses
And some ginger snaps for tea.”

Oliver Elephant didn’t have much of a voice, but he rumbled tumpty, tum tum under his breath. He swung his trunk to and fro and felt that the world was a very nice place for little elephants. So you see, they both were happy.

Pretty soon they came to the tall cocoanut trees. “Oooh,” sighed Oliver Elephant, shutting one eye. “Ummmm,” chuckled Tommy Tapir, licking his chops. Then Oliver and Tommy both began picking up the cocoanuts that were lying on the ground. Tommy pushed his into a pile with his nose and Oliver picked his up in his trunk. After they each had about twenty, I guess, they sat down to rest. “Betcha I can eat mine faster than you,” aid Oliver Elephant. “Betcha can’t,” said Tommy Tapir. “All right now,” said Oliver, “when I count three we’ll start.”

“One—two—three,” sang out Oliver Elephant. Whackety—bang!! Down came a cocoanut on Oliver Elephant’s head, and at the same minute another bounced on Tommy Tapir’s nose. “Ooooooh,” screamed Oliver Elephant. “Ouch,” screamed Tommy, jumping up and kicking over all his cocoanuts. You see it was mighty surprisesome getting cocoanuts on the outside when you’re expecting them on the in.

“Huh—who did that,” screamed Oliver Elephant. “Huh—who—” began Tommy Tapir. But just then down came a whole shower of cocoanuts. Bang!! Bump!! Bump!! They hit Oliver Elephant on the head and on the trunk and on the foot—and—oh—they just hit him EVERYWHERE. They hit Tommy Tapir, too. “Run away, run away, come again some other day,” sang two voices and two bad little monkeys stuck their heads out of the leaves and made faces at Oliver and Tommy. “Come down here, and I’ll shake you to pieces,” roared Oliver Elephant. “If I ever get hold of your tail—” said Tommy Tapir. “Ha, Ha,” laughed the monkeys, and shook the trees till cocoanuts came down like a hailstorm on poor Oliver and Tommy.

Now I don’t want you to think that Oliver and Tommy weren’t brave. They were. I don’t believe even you could have stood all those cocoanuts bumping on top of you without running. “I’ll get even—I’ll get even—I’ll get even” sobbed Oliver Elephant over and over as he ran off home. I don’t know what Tommy Tapir said.

“What’s the matter?” asked his big kind mother as he came plunging in the door. Then he told her about the bad little monkeys. “But I’ll get even—I’ll get even,” he kept sobbing. His big kind mother didn’t say much, but she tied his poor bumped head up in a big palm leaf. Then she went and got her hat. “Where are you going?” asked Oliver, looking out from under the palm leaf. “To help you get even,” said his mother. Then she whispered a few words in Oliver’s big ear and went along down the road.

Pretty soon the bad little monkeys saw her coming and they hid behind their mammy, ’cause they surely thought they were going to get—well, what little folks usually get when they are very bad indeed. Oliver Elephant’s mother just knocked very gently on the tree and said, “I just came over to see whether you and the boys wouldn’t take supper with us.” And their mammy, who didn’t know how naughty they had been, said, “Why, we’d love to.” Then Oliver Elephant’s mother went home and she and Oliver had a big laugh together.

Soon the bad little monkeys and their mammy came knocking at the door, and when their mammy saw Oliver Elephant with his head all tied up, she threw up her hands. “Oh, what is the matter with big little Oliver Elephant?” Then the two little monkeys began to shiver and shake and hang their heads, but Oliver Elephant’s mother just shook her head. “Oliver Elephant has had a very sad accident,” and that’s all she did say. Then Oliver Elephant got out all his best toys for the monkeys to play with (they didn’t feel much like playing), and after a while Tommy Tapir came over. His head was tied up, too. “Oh, what’s the matter with Tommy Tapir?” cried the bad little monkeys’ mammy again. “He’s had a very sad accident,” said Oliver Elephant’s mother, and that’s all she did say. Then she showed the boys how to play the games she used to play when she was a little elephant, and they all played “tails up and tails down” till tea time.

For tea they had the most delightful things. I can’t remember just what, and every time the two little bad monkeys looked at Oliver’s and Tommy’s bandaged heads they felt SO ashamed that they never threw cocoanuts at anybody again. So you see that Mother Elephant’s way of getting even was best.

(Oliver Elephant has just told me that the two little monkeys said they were sorry. I am very glad of this.)

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 11, 1917.

More About Supposyville

Now in Supposyville there lived,
Besides the king and queen,
Enough Supposyvillers to
Count up to umpty steen!
And all of them were happy.
Well, no wonder, in a town
Where posies sprang up everywhere
And none knew how to frown;
Where every maid and lad could dance
And every one could sing,
And every week the whole sweet town
Went calling on the king.
The queen would order cakes and tea,
And what a time they had;
No wonder that they all, I say,
Were good and never bad!
But one night as they frolicked
At the Court Supposy ball,
A rumbling sounded out of doors
That fairly shook the hall!
The king took off his crown and stood
Upon his tippy toes
To look out of the casement.
“Mercy! What do you suppose?”
Each murmured to the other.
OPEN burst the door and then
In strode a pirate and his crew.
“My, what delightful men!”
The king exclaimed, and hurried up
Before a dirk was drawn,
And clapped the chief upon the back,
Was e’er such goings on?
The chieftain muttered to his mates;
Ere they knew how or why
There they were, dancing with the rest,
If anything, more spry.
The queen pressed on the scalawags
The choice of all her roses,
For in this quaint, queer country
Every one, you know, supposes
Each person to be just as nice
As he or she is—WHEW * *
Those pirates were embarrassed so
They scarce knew what to do;
They stood it for an hour,
Then they left without a spoon.
“With such goings on I’m blessed if I
Could take a chipped doubloon!”
The chieftain rumbled as he pushed
The boat out from the shore;
“If all the world were like that town
I’d be a rogue no more!”

Copyright © 2019 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.