Thursday, June 1, 2023


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

Published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, October 22, 1916.

Down in the little warm brown house underground, in the sitting room that lay at the end of the long winding hallway, Mrs. Jack Rabbit and the six little Jack Rabbits cuddled cozily together, for Mr. Jack had whispered to Mrs. Jack that old Auntie Fox was snooping round their house and for her to keep the children indoors.

He had brought them some nice crisp leaves to nibble, and Mrs. Jack was wiggling her nose and scratching her head in an effort to think up a new story to keep the children interested. Daddy was dozing in the doorway; at least, he pretended to be; but, really, he was keeping watch with one eye and listening to Mrs. Jack Rabbit’s story with one ear.

“Ahem,” began Mrs. Jack, twitching her ears. “Once upon a time a little red frog lived in a house deep down in the ground, where he could find plenty of worms, he being very fond of worm pie, and one day—”

“First time I ever heard of a red frog,” grunted Mr. Jack, opening the other eye and wiggling his nose terribly fast. “RED FROG! HA, HA!” Mr. Rabbit shook up and down.

“And one day,” continued Mrs. Jack, paying no attention to Mr. Jack’s rudeness, “The little red frog climbed the fifty brown steps that led up to the outside world and went hopping along the road; and he was so busy looking up at the sky and wondering whether or not it would rain that he never saw the great deep precipice that he was coming to, and–” The little rabbits all wiggled their noses and winked their eyes, but Mrs. Jack went on nibbling leaves as though she had forgotten all about the little red frog and the precipice.

“And what?” snapped Mr. Jack, thumping with his hind feet as a signal to Mr. Bob Rabbit, a neighbor who lived above, that all was well. “And what?”

“Why,” said Mrs. Jack slowly, “he tumbled over the precipice head over feet and landed with a thump on the rocks and—” “Did he hurt himself, mother?” asked Benny Rabbit anxiously. “And broke his RIB!” finished Mrs. Jack with a triumphant glance at Mr. Jack.

“Rib!” screamed Mr. Jack, as if that were the funniest word he had ever heard. “HIS RIB!” and over and over rolled Daddy Jack Rabbit, kicking his heels and roaring with merriment, and because he laughed, all the children laughed and echoed “RIB!” Mrs. Jack was displeased. She put her ears back, and wiggling her nose very fast, wanted to know at what they were laughing.

All the little rabbits grew very solemn and looked at Mr. Jack, but Mr. Jack kept chuckling and rolling over and muttering to himself, and at last he sat up and wiped his eyes. “I don’t reckon the little red frog was hurt much,” said he to Benny Jack Rabbit. “Leastways, not if he broke his rib, ’cause—ha! ha!—frogs don’t have any ribs!”

And that’s all I know of the story of the red frog that broke his rib.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 28, 1918

Supposyville Goes A-Maying

Aho! in lovely spring, my ducks,
One has no need of bells,
Alarms or shocks or tiresome clocks
For waking up. She tells
’Tis rising time delightfully.
Spring sets the birds a-singing,
And Mr. Sun his golden beams
Betimes abroad is flinging!

And in Supposyville, as here,
The people rise with pleasure,
For each spring hour is a gift
To live and love and treasure.
And on this certain balmy morn
They even beat the sun
At rising, and ’tis not surprising,
For this day is one

Of special joy and jollity.
Aho! now ’tis a gay day;
’Tis flower-crowned and gowned—renowned,
Delicious merry May Day!
And every one off to the woods
Light-heartedly goes hying
To pick the sweet spring flowers there
That need no gold for buying.

And he who finds the sweetest ones
And she who has the fairest
Bouquet that day rule o’er the May;
And truly ’tis the rarest
Delight to be Queen of the May
And King of Spring. The green, dears,
Presents the gayest picture that
You’ve really ever seen, dears.

The May Pole, ribboned and beflowered,
Standing high and festive;
The fiddlers fiddling till the oldest
Soul grows gayly restive.
Yes, there they spend the happiest
And most delightful May Day
You ever could imagine, loves;
A high day and a heyday!
Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.