"The Scarecrow's Overcoat" and Other Rhymes
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of The Silver Princess of Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink", "King, King! Double King!", etc.
The Scarecrow's Overcoat
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 14, 1920
The poor Scarecrow shivered
And shook on his pole.
"If I just had an overcoat,"
Wailed the poor soul,
"I wouldn't mind standing
Out here in the frost.
Br-rrah! Say, I wonder
What overcoats cost?"
Now who but an old-fashioned
Fairy should hear
The poor, chilly Scarecrow
Complaining, my dear!
So she hied away home,
And she called all her friends,
And she bad them bring old scraps,
And pieces, and ends.
And they worked and they stitched,
And they patched a great while,
And made him an overcoat -
Not just in style -
But cozy and warm,
And they buttoned it tight,
And that poor, shivering Scarecrow
Just sneezed with delight.
Little Goblin Imp
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 7, 1920
There is a little goblin imp
Who haunts us day and night,
And keeps more people from success
Than any imp in sight!
He plagues the boys and girls the most
And keeps 'em from succeeding
In lessons, sports, and everything;
Pshaw, all he wants is Speeding!
"Come - hurry up," he whispers,
"Can't you find a shorter way?"
"That's good enough - speed, that's the stuff;
Don't work so long today!"
Oh, watch out for that goblin imp,
IMP ATIENCE - boys and girls!
He's a goblin - and I know it
'Cause his tail is black and curls!
The Enchanted Plum Tree
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 3, 1919
In that land of fans and flowers - tea and tall pagoda towers
Lived a mighty Mandarin - and his daughter Ah Wee Sin!
Once - the little maiden throwing pebbles - wakened without knowing
The river genii - while she's playing, rose the spirit (most dismaying!)
In a rage - 'ere she could flee - turned her to a small plum tree!
Tea-time came, no Ah Wee Sin! - Pale with fright the Mandarin
Looked into his largest vases - high his China voice he raises
Attendants come with pig-tails flying - loudly for the maiden crying.
Lanterns twinkle in the night - till at last a heron white
Tells them how the maid Ah Wee's imprisoned in the little tree,
"To each traveler give one plum and in time release will come!"
So - the broken china hearted - Mandarin - in grief departed.
'Neath the tree he eats - and sleeps and constant watch for travelers keeps -
Dozens pass his garden daily - eat the plum he offers - gayly,
Beggars, some - and rogues - a few - portly pig-tailed Princes - too.
More pass than ever I could tell - but not one breaks the magic spell!
Till - one day as sunset pales - comes a skiff with silken sails.
The Mandarin looks down with fright and sees a merry youth alight -
Only one plum on the tree - will this lad set his daughter free?
- The plum is eaten, then the youth bows deeply. " 'Twas so sweet in truth
I'll plant the seed." - Aho, my dears - that done - the plum tree disappears!
And there before the Mandarin, stands darling little Ah Wee Sin!
His china heart at one stroke's mended. The spell unspelt - the story ended!
Though - for the youth and Ah Wee Sin - another story may begin!
(I should think!)
The Sweet Tooth Tale of Charms
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 17, 1919
In a sparkling sugar castle on a lovely 'lasses lake
Live the King and Queen of Candyville themselves and no mistake!
And one day as the sugar bell was sweetly tolling four -
Three lively little fairy men came tapping at the door.
A maple sugar footman led them straightway to the King.
"Your Royal Sweetness!" quoth the three. "Distressing news we bring.
The lads and lassies suffer much from tooth and stomach ache.
Too rich, your Candy Highness, are the sugar plums you make!"
The King took off his candy crown, "Well, what would you suggest?"
Two chocolate tears ran down his cheeks. "I try to do my best."
"The fairy wise men ought to know," piped one. "The very thing! -
Go fetch your wise men and at once!" exclaimed the Candy King.
Now Candyville is right next door to Fairyland, you know,
And in a trice the wise men came and pondered in a row.
"Less richness and more purity," one murmured. "Mellow fruit
And Sugar with a dash of magic surely ought to suit!"
Then orders flew - next thing you knew they'd set up cauldrons ten,
And brewed a lovely fairy candy - sweethearts, there and then,
Those candy cooks, the King and Queen and scores of merry elves.
And now I wonder if you haven't tasted it yourselves?
The Candy King has called them CHARMS, and everyone can tell
There's magic in the making, pshaw, a sort of fairy spell.
No aches attach to CHARMS, so, lads - and lassies, eat your fill
And sh-h - some day - a fairy may - take YOU to Candyville!
THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 12, 1918.
A Few May-Be-So Riddles
The word answering all of our honorable Forgetful Poet's verses was peer, spelled, of course, differently. A noble peer peered in his pier glass. Before her now he doth appear and down to the pier they took their way.
This week he has given you two rhyming riddles:
What should be fast
And yet not run;
It rhymes with eyes -
'Tis more than one?
I met a door most
Whose aim in life
Was simply killing!
What goes before
This thrilling door -
Lies often on
Our front-hall floor?
The comical fellow said he had just returned from Washington, and as he seemed to expect it, I asked him what kind of a time he had.
"Only the kind of a time I could have there!" he chuckled. "I had a CAPITAL time, of course!" Dodging the book I flung at his head, he went out and slammed the door, and I could hear him laughing all the way down the entry. Pshaw! Pshaw!
[Answers next time.]
Copyright © 2007 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.
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