Wednesday, July 1, 2020


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, November 15, 1914.

Once upon a time, two boys and a dog besides set out to take a walk through the woods, and they had a gun and they had a big box of lunch, and they had a tin bucket full of flap-jack batter. Guess you know that a flap-jack is a giant hot cake, a sort of grandfather to the pancake and the griddle cake and all the other cakes.

Well, the two boys and the dog besides walked on and on through the chilly woods, and after shooting a great many leaves off the trees, they felt very tired and empty in the middle, so they stopped and made a fire and took out their lunch and ate all the cold chicken and sandwiches and whatever else they had. Then one of the boys unslung his frying pan and began to make flap-jacks. Flip, flap, flop, he turned them over with a shake of the pan (a flap-jack is as big as a frying pan), and he made one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, twenty, thirty and twelve besides, and they ate and ATE, and the dog gobbled and GOBBLED till they covered up the rest of their lunch with a nice, warm flap-jacket.

At last the boys unbuttoned their coats and leaned against a tree, and the dog rolled over on his side with his tongue out, and still there was more batter left, so the boy who made the flap-jacks made another one—not a good one, so he threw it on the ground. Then he started to make another one, but in the middle of it he just couldn’t stand looking at flap-jacks another minute, so he and the other boy picked up their things, and, with the dog wobbling behind, they went off and left it, frying pan and all.

“Flour sieves and cake turners,” exclaimed the flap-jack on the ground. “Here’s a state of things! Come back! COME BACK!!”

“Help! Help!” screamed the flap-jack in the frying pan. “I’m ready to turn! Help! I’m BURNING!” (Which was quite true.)

“My poor comrade!” cried the first flap-jack, peering over the edge of the trying pan.

“Well, are you going to stand there and see me burn to a crisp?” cried the flap-jack in the pan irritably.

“No! No, indeed!” cried the first, and seizing the second by the edges he pulled with all his might. Suddenly the flap-jack came loose from the pan, and they both tumbled to the ground. “Too bad, too bad,” cried the first, jumping to its feet.

“What’s too bad?” cried the second crossly.

“Why, you didn’t pan out well. You’re only done on one side!” said the first flap-jack.

“You’re not such a beauty yourself,” snapped the second, trying to smooth the creases out of his stomach. “You’re very pale and not done in the centre,” (which was also true).

“The main thing, John,” said the first flap-jack, pretending not to hear the last remark, “is to get ourselves eaten.”

“What do you call me ‘John’ for?” said the second flap-jack sharply.

“We can’t both be Jacks,” said the first apologetically, “but I’ll be ‘John’ If you don’t want to be.”

“All right, John,” said the second in a little pleasanter tone. “Now, the thing to do is to catch those boys and make them eat us. Come on!”

So Flap Jack and Flap John took hands and ran flip-flap, flip-flap, flip-flap, flip-flap after the boys, and had soon come up with them. “Come back! Come back! Eat us! EAT US!” implored they in their batter voices. The boys turned around, the dog turned around, and when they saw the flap-jacks running after them they stared and stared. It was surprising! Then the boys put their hands to their heads and the dog sniffed sadly and put his tail between his legs, and they all ran as hard as they could till Flap Jack and Flap John were left far behind.

“The chance for being eaten very poor, Jack!”

“Chance for being eaten very poor, John.”

“If we’re not soon eaten we shall crumble away,” sighed the two, walking sadly on together. Though they tried and tried, they could not get themselves eaten. First a bear took a bite of Jack and then a bite of John “WAUGH!” cried the bear and took to his heels. Then a rabbit took a nibble of John and a nibble of Jack and just toppled over backward.

“No one will eat us,” sighed Jack.

“We are disgraced!” sighed John, so the two little flap-jacks sat down on a stone to crumble away. But in the night a snowstorm came up and the little white snowflakes buried Jack and John like the babes in the woods.

But WHAT do you ’spose? Where Flap Jack and Flap John were buried a giant tree grew up—a flap-jack tree, mind you—and on it grow the most perfectest flap-jacks you ever saw. REALLY!!!

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, July 29, 1917.

The Lord High Hobbyist of Supposyville

Aha! Oh, wouldn’t it be fine,
Oh, wouldn’t it be great and merry,
If we had such a jolly and
Delightful dignitary!
“As what?” you say—just wait a bit;
Now dears and ducks, be still,
And I’ll tell you of the gayest lord
In all Supposyville.
They call him Treasurer of Health
And Chief of Saturday,
And the duties of his office are
To teach folks how to play;
“For,” as the King said to the Queen,
“We all know how to work,
But playing is the very thing
That grown-ups often shirk;
And if you once forget to play,
The way is lost to happiness;
To health and wealth and loving and
A lot of other things, I guess;
Each man should have a hobby,
And here in Supposyville
’Twill be the law, and let no one
Defy my royal will!”
And straightway he picked out the very
Best man in the realm
And called him Lord High Hobbyist,
And put him at the helm;
Then, bubbling over with good will,
With jollity and wit,
A hobby to each person in
The kingdom he did fit;
The blacksmith, worn with sooty toil,
He taught the game of chess;
The miller took to swimming;
And the tailor worried less—
He grew quite broad from boxing;
While the baker grew less fat,
He took to running high jumps,
To gymnastics and all that;
He visited and talked and taught,
And every Saturday
The whole realm and their hobbies
Turned out bodily to play;
The good wives quite forgot their cares
In golf and horseback riding,
In dancing and the like. My dears,
He wasn’t long providing
A bit of fun for every one;
And each day in the lobbies
By scores and dozens folks collect
To talk about their hobbies.
Then hail the Lord High Hobbyist!
And may each be his own,
For life without a hobby’s like
A peach that’s naught but stone.

Copyright © 2020 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.