Sunday, September 1, 2019


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

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 2, 1916.

“Now, what did I want to be sure to remember today?” murmured Oliver Elephant, tumbling out of bed the other morning. It must have been something pretty important, for he had tried a red string around the end of his trunk. He flopped his big ears up and he flopped his big ears down and he thought—all the time he was getting dressed he kept thinking, but still he couldn’t remember what he had wanted to be sure to remember! He was so slow dressing that mother elephant had to call him six or seven times to hurry—Professor Bear was very stern about lateness and Oliver had been late to school twice this month—if it happened again! Br-r-r! Something very terrible was going to happen.

Sighing deeply, Oliver jerked on his coat and clumped downstairs. He ate his breakfast in silence and snatching up his books, rushed off without even saying good-by or good-morning or good anything!

He was so busy trying to remember what he was to be sure to remember that he never noticed when Jack Monkey dropped down from a cocoanut tree and walked along at his side, till Jack tugged him violently by the coattails. “Wake up! You’re walking in your sleep!” teased Jack.

Oliver recovered himself with a start, and Jack Monkey had so many interesting things to tell him about the cocoanut ball game that was to take place next afternoon that he stopped bothering about what he was to be sure to remember. Discussing one thing and another they walked amiably through the jungle together. Just about halfway to Professor Bear’s school Jack Monkey stopped. He looked mysteriously all around to make sure that no one was about. Then, standing on tiptoe, he whispered something in Oliver Elephant’s huge ear.

“I don’t believe it!” boomed Oliver, twitching his ear to take the tickle of Jack’s whisper out of it. “Yes, sir! There’s a new way of doing everything!” repeated Jack triumphantly. “A new way of crossing rivers and streams without getting wet—new way of crossing ditches—I can show you a new way of crossing that ditch right in front of us there—a NEW way, mind you, and you won’t have to do a single thing but stand on the edge of it and close your eyes.”

“Pshaw,” grumbled Oliver Elephant, “I don’t believe you, but I’ll do it just to show how silly you are. Do you expect me to FLY across?”

Placing himself on the edge of the ditch, Oliver Elephant closed his eyes, swaying backward and forward in the manner of elephants. Poor Oliver. Jack Monkey gave a signal of some sort with his hand and the next minute the strangest horned beast you most ever have seen rushed out of the bushes and, lowering its head, butted Oliver plump into the mud! “April first! April first!” screamed Jack Monkey, dancing up and down with glee; then not waiting for Oliver to pull himself out of the ditch, pelted off to school as fast as he could. As for the horned beast it sat down on its haunches and laughed and laughed—and what do you suppose it was? A GNU!

“Ha! Ha! A gnu way of doing things. How do you like it?” Oliver Elephant pretended not to hear. Picking up his books and brushing off his clothes, he scrambled up the other side of the ditch. Suddenly, quite suddenly, he had remembered what he had wanted to be sure to remember—that today was April Fool. “If I only had thought a little longer, if I only had not met Jack Monkey!” he kept repeating bitterly to himself as he stumbled along toward the jungle school. “Now I’ll be late and—” Oliver Elephant did not care to finish this sentence.

“HAH!” roared Professor Bear as Oliver scuffled hastily into his seat. “LATE AGAIN! Same old excuse, I suppose!”

“No, sir!” sniffed Oliver, edging away as the professor strode down the aisle. “I’ve a GNU one!” At this Jack Monkey laughed uproariously. I do not think I shall finish, for what happened to both of them was decidedly unpleasant, but it all came of Oliver Elephant forgetting what he had meant to remember—April Fool’s Day.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 13, 1917. 

The Rise of the Supposyville Cake

Well, what you s’pose? You’ll never guess!
I don’t see how you could;
Oh, you might guess and guess and ‘twouldn’t
Do a bit of good;
Of course, you’ve heard about cakewalks,
But here’s a different one;
You should have seen Supposyville,
Ho! Ho! In that cake run!
The Queen decided to surprise
The King and make a cake.
Surprise him? Well, I guess she did,
And all the rest; my sake!
It was as large as twenty cakes;
Three cooks helped put it in
The oven; and just here is where
Exciting times begin;
Exciting times? Well, I should think!
You see she made it by herself;
And to be sure it wouldn’t sink
Used everything upon the shelf;
All sorts of spices, nuts and mace;
Two dozen cans of baking powder;
The wonder is when it went up, that
The explosion wasn’t louder;
Explode it did, just like a bomb,
And with an awful roar,
Up shot the stove clean through the roof,
Off flew the kitchen door;
And there that pan of cake still sot,
And riz, and riz, and riz,
Till halfway to the ceiling you
Could fairly hear it sizz;
The cooks rushed out in mad alarm,
The Queen fled in dismay;
But the cake rose in a sea of dough
And swamped ‘em all halfway;
They struggled up and pulled it from
Their eyeses and their noses,
And made what speed they could upon
Their sticky tippytoeses;
The raced it to the garden,
And warned the populace;
And Ho! Ho! Ho! Did ever one
Behold so strange a race?
It billowed down the garden walk
As if it were alive;
While out from hedge and street and lane
The startled people dive;
The Queen lost both her slippers, and
The King three times fell down;
And every one with sticky dough
Is stuck from toe to crown;
And on and on and on it spread,
And mercy goodness me!
It never stopped a-rising till
It chased them to the sea.
For weeks and weeks all hands were busy
Scraping off the dough;
But think of all the fun and laughs
They’ve had about it, though.

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