Friday, August 9, 2019


Verse and illustration 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 The Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 29, 1902.

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Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 6, 1917.
Riddle Day in Supposyville

The first of May is riddle day;
And in Supposyville,
The townfolk, dressed in colors gay,
Assemble on the hill;
The King and Queen and Fiddlesticks
Gave riddles out at three,
And all the folks are in a line,
Same as a spelling bee;
And when you miss you step right out
And have a cake or bun;
But, oh! my goody, don’t each try
To be the lucky one—
To outguess all the rest and win
The cup and bag of gold
And the title “Royal Riddle Guesser,”
For a year to hold!
“What is it whose whole fortune is
A cent; yet all desire it,
And spend both gold and silver to
Secure and to acquire it?”
The tailor missed, the baker missed;
“A rose!” piped up the next,
A little lass; the other two
Retire abashed and vexed.
One riddle follows t’other, and
So entertained are all,
None note the quickly darkening sky
Or see the coming squall;
Down lashed the rain, up rose the gale;
Next minute half the people
Were perching on the housetops,
Fiddlesticks astride the steeple;
The cakes and buns flew through the air,
Too comical for words;
The hats went flapping up the trees
Like lively sort of birds;
But if you think they let this gale
Break up the riddle match,
You don’t know these Supposies;
Perched on tree or fence or thatch,
With ne’er a thought of fixings fine,
They stayed in wind and rain
A-shouting answers to the Queen
With all their might and main;
A little merchant won the match;
Then all splash off together,
Forgetting in their jolly talk
The shocking riddle weather.
It takes a lot to discompose
A people so unique as those!

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