Friday, July 1, 2022


By L. Frank Baum
Author of The Marvelous Land of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc.

Originally published in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, November 1, 1890.
Idiosyncratic spelling and punctuation retained.

“Yesterday night,” said our landlady, as she set the table carefully, and arranged a knife, fork and spoon beside each boarder’s plate, “were All-halloween an’ there were quite a select party held ter celebrate the event.”

“Did you go?” asked Tom, eying the table hungrily.

“You bet I did, an’ I’m glad of it, although I feel almost as rocky as the fellers did as went ter Columbia We’nsday night. All the boys was with our party, an’ the fust thing we done was to bob fer apples. As apples is high priced this year everybody laid ’emselves out to git suthin’. Tommy Camburn he bobbed for an appel maked ‘apintment,’ but it had so much Moody grease on it that he couldn’t get hold. Johnnie Drake he bobbed fer another ‘appintment’ appel, an’ cried because he said Jumper had hoodooed it. Jump he bobbed fer an appel marked ‘popularity,’ but it were too smooth fer his teeth. Hank Williams were after a boodle appel and Johnnie Firey fit him so hard they didn’t either of ’em git it. Billy Kidd grabbed a appel marked ‘injipendents truths,’ an’ found it rotton inside, an’ Frank Brown’s ‘speckilation’ appel were as holler as a drum. Slosser wanted the biggest appel they was there, an’ he got his fangs on it, too, but when he opened it, it were full o’ wind and gaul an’ he didn’t seem ter enjoy it much. Elder McBride got his eye on the ‘Pierre’ appel an’ worked like a nailer for it, but when he got it he found it stuffed with bogus checks and mortgaged lots, an’ the dominie looked kinder sad arter that.

“Then the boys tried goin’ down cellar backerds with a candle an’ a lookin’ glass. Johnnie Firey nearly fainted when he saw Hank Williams dressed as Fate lookin’ over his shoulder, an’ Judge Crofoot smiled kinder meloncolic at the reflection o’ Johnnie Adams in his lookin’-glass. August Witte got skeert at seein’ Bob Moody smile outer the glass at him, an’ Cholly Howard saw a picter where all the common council was on their knees beggin’ ter him fer help. All Dan Shields saw was a big dollar an’ a packidge of Cholly Harris’ stickers an’ he groaned in speerit because he couldn’t git the dollar.

“Finally I got disgusted with the hull thing an’ when Jim Ringrose suggested that it would be more fun to go out and ring door bells, I come home feelin’ as mad as a wet hen.”

“It seems to me that that is your natural condition. The world don’t agree with you.”

“It may be I’m soured,” snapped our landlady in answer to the impertinent remark of the colonel’s, “but I think it’s most enough to sour anybody, the way this political champaign is a goin’. Take the capital fight, for instance. There’s more dirty work done by the real estate robbers o’ Pierre and Huron in one day than there is by the biggest pack o’ thieves in the country in a hull year. I hain’t got nothin’ agin’ the towns, mind ye, it’s the people as is runnin’ them as is disgustin’ everybody that is anybody. If I had a right to vote next Tuesday I’d jest vote fer Bath fer the capital an’ keep my self respec’. But the wimmin don’t vote yet, er things would be different.”

“I’m sorry,” said the doctor, in his mild voice, “that you see fit to criticise people who are only endeavoring to turn an honest penny. But the capital fight is only a small part of the campaign. Now, in politics—”

“It’s worse!” she yelled, slamming down the potatoes so fiercely that the dish separated gracefully into several portions, “it’s enuff sight worse. The republicans is chokin’ the pore injipendents, an’ the demicrats is boostin’ up the farmers an’ laughin’ in their sleeve at the muddle things is in. It ain’t their picnic. This ’ere fight is ’atween the injipendents and the republicans, an’ if the grand ole party didn’t have that old war reckerd ter back ’em they’d come outer the little end o’ the horn, too.”

“I am aware,” said the colonel, sarcastically, “that you favor the independents, but don’t forget that in the hour of the nations’ peril—”

“Fiddlesticks!” cried Mrs. Bilkins, glaring at her opponent, while she brought her clenched fist down plump into the butter dish, “that fight’s been fit thirty year ago! W’ats that got ter do with that ’air McKinley an’ that Silver bill an’ such nonsense? The injipendents is in the right, only I don’t like their kind o’ mud-slingin’ any more’n I do the republicans. It’s a shame fer them to write sech mean things about Johnnie Adams an’ Frank Raymond an’ Jump’ an’ Hank Williams, as has never done no harm to a livin’ critter, an’ only works for the interests o’ their feller men. But it’s just as bad on the other side. Slosser’s paper is so dirty nowadays that you kin hardly read it, an’ the republicans calls my pore friend, Feelyerpaw, a villin an’ pritty near proves it, too! They’ve found out all the wicked things as Loucks an’ Scattergood an’ the other fellers has done when they wasn’t thinkin’ an’ told folks all about it, without considerin’ their feelin’s, an’ even nice, innercent Tom Campburn is gittin’ so he tells stories. Now then, let me ask ye, if there should happen, by any chance to be an honest man left in South Dikoty, what’s he goin’ ter vote fer?”

“The grand old party!” exclaimed the colonel.

“Independence and the Farmers’ rights!” declared the doctor.

“Democracy,” said Tom, “first, last and—”

“Nothin’ o’ the sort,” interrupted our landlady, “if he’s really honest, he’ll jest vote fer ekal suffridge, Bath fer capital, an’—”


“An’ put the rest o’ the tickets inter the fire.”

Published in the Buffalo (NY) Courier, February 17, 1918.
The Day of Inventions in Supposyville

The King of old Supposyville
Believes in all the sciences
And does his best to profit by
Their practical appliances!
To geniuses, forsooth, he lends
An all-attentive ear,
For, as he says, ’tis they who sweep
The paths of progress clear!

A day for every kind is set
Aside. The one I mention
Was that day set for all the men
Most given to invention.
From east and west they came to put
Before the King and Court
Discoveries of every kind
And size and shape and sort.

A prize is offered for the best,
The one’s whose demonstration
Proclaims it the most practical
And useful to the nation.
The King with kindly smile and mien
Hears each in turn and tries
The new inventions—helped, of course,
By Solomon Tremendous Wise.

To tell them all would take a day,
Which I, alas! have not to spare.
Suffice to say ’twas some display—
Indeed I wish you had been there!
Just as the judges all retire
To vote upon the winner;
Just as the courtiers were about
To stop and eat their dinner;
Without a hat or coat—unbrushed—
A-puffing and a-scurrying,
A late inventor man arrived
All breathless from his hurrying.
“Wait!” called the King, “And what have you
Discovered, my dear fellow?”
Between his gasps the old man rasps,
“A Loseless Umber—ella!”

“In fact, an ‘umberella’ that
Cannot be lost or taken,
Forgot or borrowed, left behind
Or otherwisely shaken!”
With bulging eyes the judges hear—
Their wonder is excusable—
An “umberella” of all things
Unlost and quite unlosable!

Pray show us this remarkable
And loseless “umberella.”
Alas! the poor inventor turns
A sudden sickly yellow.
Then cried aloud, “’Tis lost!” He looked
Behind and then before,
At which loud peals of merriment
Rose quickly to a roar.

“He’s lost his loseless ‘umberella’—
Ha—ho!” The judges all retire,
For they had all the evidence that
That invention would require.
And while he went a posting home,
The prize was given to
A likely lad, who proved he had
A double self-inserting screw!

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