Wednesday, September 30, 2020


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Gnome King of Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink", "King, King! Double King!", etc.
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 25, 1916.
Yes, indeed! Oliver Elephant had the most beautiful eyes in all the jungle once. But now his eyes are not as large as Jack Monkey’s and, honeys, this was the way of it.

Tommy Tapir and Oliver had a quarrel—oh! a very mean, disagreeable quarrel, and they would not speak to each other. So Oliver Elephant had to find another chum to play with, and Bobby Bruin and he had great fun together—not as much as he and Tommy would have had, but still—

“If he only would not be such a pig about sweet things,” Oliver confided to Jack Monkey, “we could have the jolliest times ever. But whenever we are in the middle of some game, Bobby Bruin spies some berries or honey and then all the fun is over.”

“I’ll tell you what,” said naughty little Jack Monkey, “we’ll fix it so he will be so disgusted with honey he’ll never want any more. I have a dandy plan. You wait here until I come back,” and through the branches whisked the little monkey, chattering away to himself.

He was gone about an hour, and Oliver was getting very restless when he suddenly dropped down on the big little elephant’s head and started an excited whispering.

“So you see, I fixed it all up, and all you have to do is to show Bobby where the one tree is with the honeycomb in it and then sneeze three times, and all the bees for miles around will go after him. I’ll wager he’ll never want to see honey again when they get through,” finished Jack. Oliver Elephant agreed with the monkey that the plan was lovely and they both started off to find Bobby Bruin. Down by the river they found him turning over the rocks along the bank with his big paw to find the juicy slugs on the under side.

“H’lo, Oliver Elephant! H’lo Jack Monkey!” He hardly looked up, so busy was he in chasing one particularly tempting bug who was trying to escape.

“Come on, Bobby; we’re going to have a game of ‘hide and seek.’ I know a dandy new place to hide—”

Bobby very reluctantly left his feast and slowly followed the other two.

“—and,” finished Oliver Elephant, “we have refreshments, too! A fig, fat honeycomb.” Bobby Bruin’s little eyes gleamed, and his long, red tongue hung out of his mouth at the thought of it. Deep into the forest the three hurried, until finally they came to a clearing, and Oliver Elephant stopped and generously offered to go “it” first. There were plenty of big hollow trees and, to one side, thick underbrush, so Jack and Bobby had no trouble finding places to hide; in fact, all three soon became so interested in the game they quite forgot about the honey until—

Well, I do not know to this day just what happened, but I certainly think Tommy Tapir had a hand in it.

Bobby Bruin was “it,” and Oliver Elephant was hiding in the underbrush when some one sneezed three times very distinctly. Jack Monkey heard it first and with one terrified shriek he swung into the trees and disappeared. Bobby Bruin looked around, and he’d had enough experience to run toward the river and jump in. But Oliver Elephant just stood still—at first!

And whizzing through the air came millions of bees. They settled on the big little elephant, but his hide was too thick for him to feel them, excepting around his eyes and his nose, and these swelled and swelled and swelled until he could not see and he could not breathe.

Then he began to run. And he ran into trees and fell into holes and tore all the buttons off his new suit.

Mother Elephant was baking a huge hay pudding when she heard the noise. Indeed, it sounded almost like a thunderstorm. When she saw it was Oliver Elephant, she ran out to him and tied up his head in a huge plaintain leaf. The swelling would not go down. It was a long, weary time before the bandages could come off.

When the day finally came——! Well, as Mother Elephant said, “It’s a blessing you can see at all. And every time you look at your little eyes and long nose, remember the bees, and never, never make up such a cruel, unkind plan again. Here comes Tommy Tapir, and here’s the ‘Jungle Book.’ Go out under the trees and read it. I want to get this honey cake finished before Bobby Bruin gets here.”

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 12, 1917. 

More Supposyville Happenings

They have the finest orchestras
And bands you ever heard,
In quaint Supposyville; you will,
I know, think I’m absurd
When I declare that not a cent
The music costs ’em, for
Each one can play—you see, that way
They’re sure to love it more;
And from the time a lad or lass
Can toddle he is sent
To the Lord High Fiddler of the realm
To learn what instrument
He can best play; and every day
From then till he is grown
He practices an hour,
With the best results e’er shown;
And what a festival there is
When he has earned a place
In the orchestra or band
Of his town! How they race
Each other, these dear children,
In a merry rivalry,
Nor think of music as a task
Of irksome drudgery!

It’s pretty hard for us sometimes
To practice when the boys
Are playing ball and making all
The gayest sort of noise;
But in Supposyville that couldn’t
Happen if, or whether;
For in Supposyville, sweethearts,
They practice all together;
At five the great tall tower clock
Plays out a merry tune,
And the bugler from the turret
Shrills his summons. Very soon
From east and west and everywhere
The boys and girls go clattering
Indoors to practice, breathlessly
And full of interest, pattering;
And each one knows that all the rest
Are doing just the same,
And that turns practice to the best
And most delightful game;
No calls from comrades outdoors here
To tease, distract and interfere.

I think it would be simply great
If in this very town
A great big bell the hour would tell
To practice; not a frown
We’d ever see, nor pout; dear me!
I really wonder whether
It can’t be done? Think of the fun
Of practicing together!

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