GRIMM TALES MADE GAY By GUY WETMORE CARRYL
With GAY PICTURES By ALBERT LEVERING
GRIMM TALES MADE GAY By GUY WETMORE CARRYL
AUTHOR OF THIS AND MANY OTHER THINGS!
PICTURES BY ALBERT LEVERING
ARTIST OF THAT THE OTHER AND THIS
BOSTON & NEW YORK HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & Co.
COPYRIGHT, 1902, BY GUY WETMORE CARRYL AND ALBERT LEVERING ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Published in October, 1902
TO CHARLES WALTON OGDEN
I have pleasure in acknowledging the courteous permission of the editors to reprint in this form such of these verses as were originally published in Harper's Magazine, The Century, Life, The Smart Set, The Saturday Evening Post, The Home Magazine, and the London Tatler. G. W. C.
HOW THE BABES IN THE WOOD SHOWED THEY COULDN'T BE BEATEN
HOW FAIR CINDERELLA DISPOSED OF HER SHOE
HOW LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD CAME TO BE EATEN
HOW THE FATUOUS WISH OF A PEASANT CAME TRUE
HOW HOP O' MY THUMB GOT RID OF AN ONUS
HOW THE HELPMATE OF BLUE-BEARD MADE FREE WITH A DOOR
HOW RUMPLESTILZ HELD OUT IN VAIN FOR A BONUS
HOW JACK MADE THE GIANTS UNCOMMONLY SORE
HOW RUDENESS AND KINDNESS WERE JUSTLY REWARDED
HOW BEAUTY CONTRIVED TO GET SQUARE WITH THE BEAST
HOW A FAIR ONE NO HOPE TO HIS HIGHNESS ACCORDED
HOW THOMAS A MAID FROM A DRAGON RELEASED
HOW A BEAUTY WAS WAKED AND HER SUITOR WAS SUITED
HOW JACK FOUND THAT BEANS MAY GO BACK ON A CHAP
HOW A CAT WAS ANNOYED AND A POET WAS BOOTED
HOW MUCH FORTUNATUS COULD DO WITH A CAP
HOW A PRINCESS WAS WOOED FROM HABITUAL SADNESS
HOW A GIRL WAS TOO RECKLESS OF GRAMMAR BY FAR
HOW THE PEACEFUL ALADDIN GAVE WAY TO HIS MADNESS
HOW A FISHERMAN CORKED UP HIS FOE IN A JAR
How the Babes in the Wood Showed They Couldn't be Beaten
A man of kind and noble mind Was H. Gustavus Hyde. 'Twould be amiss to add to this At present, for he died, In full possession of his senses, The day before my tale commences.
One half his gold his four-year-old Son Paul was known to win, And Beatrix, whose age was six, For all the rest came in, Perceiving which, their Uncle Ben did A thing that people said was splendid.
For by the hand he took them, and Remarked in accents smooth: "One thing I ask. Be mine the task These stricken babes to soothe! My country home is really charming: I'll teach them all the joys of farming."
One halcyon week they fished his creek, And watched him do the chores, In haylofts hid, and, shouting, slid Down sloping cellar doors:— Because this life to bliss was equal The more distressing is the sequel.
Concealing guile beneath a smile, He took them to a wood, And, with severe and most austere Injunctions to be good, He left them seated on a gateway, And took his own departure straightway.
Though much afraid, the children stayed From ten till nearly eight; At times they wept, at times they slept, But never left the gate: Until the swift suspicion crossed them That Uncle Benjamin had lost them.
Then, quite unnerved, young Paul observed: "It's like a dreadful dream, And Uncle Ben has fallen ten Per cent. in my esteem. Not only did he first usurp us, But now he's left us here on purpose!"
* * * * *
For countless years their childish fears Have made the reader pale, For countless years the public's tears Have started at the tale, For countless years much detestation Has been expressed for their relation.
So draw a veil across the dale Where stood that ghastly gate. No need to tell. You know full well What was their touching fate, And how with leaves each little dead breast Was covered by a Robin Redbreast!
But when they found them on the ground, Although their life had ceased, Quite near to Paul there lay a small White paper, neatly creased. "Because of lack of any merit, B. Hyde," it ran, "we disinherit!"
The Moral: If you deeply long To punish one who's done you wrong, Though in your lifetime fail you may, Where there's a will, there is a way!
How Fair Cinderella Disposed of Her Shoe
The vainest girls in forty states Were Gwendolyn and Gladys Gates; They warbled, slightly off the air, Romantic German songs, And each of them upon her hair Employed the curling tongs, And each with ardor most intense Her buxom figure laced, Until her wilful want of sense Procured a woeful waist: For bound to marry titled mates Were Gwendolyn and Gladys Gates.
Yet, truth to tell, the swains were few Of Gwendolyn (and Gladys, too). So morning, afternoon, and night Upon their sister they Were wont to vent their selfish spite, And in the rudest way: For though her name was Leonore, That's neither there nor here, They called her Cinderella, for The kitchen was her sphere, Save when the hair she had to do Of Gwendolyn (and Gladys, too).
Each night to dances and to fetes Went Gwendolyn and Gladys Gates, And Cinderella watched them go In silks and satins clad: A prince invited them, and so They put on all they had! But one fine night, as all alone She watched the flames leap higher, A small and stooping fairy crone Stept nimbly from the fire. Said she: "The pride upon me grates Of Gwendolyn and Gladys Gates."
"I'll now," she added, with a frown, "Call Gwendolyn and Gladys down!" And, ere your fingers you could snap, There stood before the door No paltry hired horse and trap, Oh, no!—a coach and four! And Cinderella, fitted out Regardless of expense, Made both her sisters look about Like thirty-seven cents! The prince, with one look at her gown, Turned Gwendolyn and Gladys down!
Wall-flowers, when thus compared with her, Both Gwendolyn and Gladys were. The prince but gave them glances hard, No gracious word he said; He scratched their names from off his card, And wrote hers down instead: And where he would bestow his hand He showed them in a trice By handing her the kisses, and To each of them an ice! In sudden need of fire and fur Both Gwendolyn and Gladys were.
At ten o'clock, in discontent, Both Gwendolyn and Gladys went. Their sister stayed till after two, And, with a joy sincere, The prince obtained her crystal shoe By way of souvenir. "Upon the bridal path," he cried, "We'll reign together! Since I love you, you must be my bride!" (He was no slouch, that prince!) And into sudden languishment Both Gwendolyn and Gladys went.
The Moral: All the girls on earth Exaggerate their proper worth. They think the very shoes they wear Are worth the average millionaire; Whereas few pairs in any town Can be half-sold for half a crown!
How Little Red Riding Hood Came to be Eaten
Most worthy of praise Were the virtuous ways Of Little Red Riding Hood's Ma, And no one was ever More cautious and clever Than Little Red Riding Hood's Pa. They never misled, For they meant what they said, And would frequently say what they meant, And the way she should go They were careful to show, And the way that they showed her, she went. For obedience she was effusively thanked, And for anything else she was carefully spanked.
It thus isn't strange That Red Riding Hood's range Of virtues so steadily grew, That soon she won prizes Of different sizes, And golden encomiums, too! As a general rule She was head of her school, And at six was so notably smart That they gave her a cheque For reciting "The Wreck Of the Hesperus," wholly by heart! And you all will applaud her the more, I am sure, When I add that this money she gave to the poor.
At eleven this lass Had a Sunday-school class, At twelve wrote a volume of verse, At thirteen was yearning For glory, and learning To be a professional nurse. To a glorious height The young paragon might Have grown, if not nipped in the bud, But the following year Struck her smiling career With a dull and a sickening thud! (I have shed a great tear at the thought of her pain, And must copy my manuscript over again!)
Not dreaming of harm, One day on her arm A basket she hung. It was filled With jellies, and ices, And gruel, and spices, And chicken-legs, carefully grilled, And a savory stew, And a novel or two She'd persuaded a neighbor to loan, And a hot-water can, And a Japanese fan, And a bottle of eau-de-cologne, And the rest of the things that your family fill Your room with, whenever you chance to be ill!
She expected to find Her decrepit but kind Old Grandmother waiting her call, But the visage that met her Completely upset her: It wasn't familiar at all! With a whitening cheek She started to speak, But her peril she instantly saw:— Her Grandma had fled, And she'd tackled instead Four merciless Paws and a Maw! When the neighbors came running, the wolf to subdue, He was licking his chops, (and Red Riding Hood's, too!)
At this terrible tale Some readers will pale, And others with horror grow dumb, And yet it was better, I fear, he should get her: Just think what she might have become! For an infant so keen Might in future have been A woman of awful renown, Who carried on fights For her feminine rights As the Mare of an Arkansas town. She might have continued the crime of her 'teens, And come to write verse for the Big Magazines!
The Moral: There's nothing much glummer Than children whose talents appall: One much prefers those who are dumber, But as for the paragons small, If a swallow cannot make a summer It can bring on a summary fall!
How the Fatuous Wish of a Peasant Came True
An excellent peasant, Of character pleasant, Once lived in a hut with his wife. He was cheerful and docile, But such an old fossil You wouldn't meet twice in your life. His notions were all without reason or rhyme, Such dullness in any one else were a crime, But the folly pig-headed To which he was wedded Was so deep imbedded, it touched the sublime!
He frequently stated Such quite antiquated And singular doctrines as these: "Do good unto others! All men are your brothers!" (Of course he forgot the Chinese!) He said that all men were made equal and free, (That's true if they're born on our side of the sea!) That truth should be spoken, And pledges unbroken: (Now where, by that token, would most of us be?)
One day, as his pottage He ate in his cottage, A fairy stepped up to the door; Upon it she hammered, And meekly she stammered: "A morsel of food I implore." He gave her sardines, and a biscuit or two, And she said in reply, when her luncheon was through, "In return for these dishes Of bread and of fishes The first of your wishes I'll make to come true!"
That nincompoop peasant Accepted the present, (As most of us probably would,) And, thinking her bounty To turn to account, he Said: "Now I'll do somebody good! I won't ask a thing for myself or my wife, But I'll make all my neighbors with happiness rife. Whate'er their conditions, Henceforward, physicians And indispositions they're rid of for life!"
These words energetic The fairy's prophetic Announcement brought instantly true: With singular quickness Each victim of sickness Was made over, better than new, And people who formerly thought they were doomed With almost obstreperous healthiness bloomed, And each had some platitude, Teeming with gratitude, For the new attitude life had assumed.
Our friend's satisfaction Concerning his action Was keen, but exceedingly brief. The wrathful condition Of every physician In town was surpassing belief! Professional nurses were plunged in despair, And chemists shook passionate fists in the air: They called at his dwelling, With violence swelling, His greeting repelling with arrogant stare.
They beat and they battered, They slammed and they shattered, And did him such serious harm, That, after their labors, His wife told the neighbors They'd caused her excessive alarm! They then set to work on his various ills, And plied him with liniments, powders, and pills, And charged him so dearly That all of them nearly Made double the yearly amount of their bills.
This Moral by the tale is taught:— The wish is father to the thought. (We'd oftentimes escape the worst If but the thinking part came first!)
How Hop O' My Thumb Got Rid of an Onus
A worthy couple, man and wife, Dragged on a discontented life: The reason, I should state, That it was destitute of joys, Was that they had a dozen boys To feed and educate, And nothing such patience demands As having twelve boys on your hands!
For twenty years they tried their best To keep those urchins neatly dressed And teach them to be good, But so much labor it involved That, in the end, they both resolved To lose them in a wood, Though nothing a parent annoys Like heartlessly losing his boys!
So when their sons had gone to bed, Though bitter tears the couple shed, They laid their little plan. "Faut b'en que ca s'fasse. Quand meme," The woman said, "J'en suis tout' bleme." "Ca colle!" observed the man, "Mais ca coute, que ces gosses fichus! B'en, quoi! Faut qu'i's soient perdus!"
(I've quite omitted to explain That they were natives of Touraine; I see I must translate.) "Of course it must be done, and still," The wife remarked, "it makes me ill." "You bet!" replied her mate: "But we've both of us counted the cost, And the kids simply have to be lost!"
But, while they plotted, every word The youngest of the urchins heard, And winked the other eye; His height was only two feet three. (I might remark, in passing, he Was little, but O My!) He added: "I'd better keep mum." (He was foxy, was Hop O' My Thumb!)
They took the boys into the wood, And lost them, as they said they should, And came in silence back. Alas for them! Hop O' My Thumb At every step had dropped a crumb, And so retraced the track. While the parents sat mourning their fate He led the boys in at the gate!
He placed his hand upon his heart, And said: "You think you're awful smart, But I have foiled you thus!" His parents humbly bent the knee, And meekly said: "H. O. M. T., You're one too much for us!" And both of them solemnly swore "We won't never do so no more!"
The Moral is: While I do not Endeavor to condone the plot, I still maintain that one Should have no chance of being foiled, And having one's arrangements spoiled By one's ingenious son. If you turn down your children, with pain, Take care they don't turn up again!
How the Helpmate of Blue-Beard Made Free with a Door
A maiden from the Bosphorus, With eyes as bright as phosphorus, Once wed the wealthy bailiff Of the caliph Of Kelat. Though diligent and zealous, he Became a slave to jealousy. (Considering her beauty, 'Twas his duty To be that!)
When business would necessitate A journey, he would hesitate, But, fearing to disgust her, He would trust her With his keys, Remarking to her prayerfully: "I beg you'll use them carefully. Don't look what I deposit In that closet, If you please."
It may be mentioned, casually, That blue as lapis lazuli He dyed his hair, his lashes, His mustaches, And his beard. And, just because he did it, he Aroused his wife's timidity: Her terror she dissembled, But she trembled When he neared.
This feeling insalubrious Soon made her most lugubrious, And bitterly she missed her Elder sister Marie Anne: She asked if she might write her to Come down and spend a night or two, Her husband answered rightly And politely: "Yes, you can!"
Blue-Beard, the Monday following, His jealous feeling swallowing, Packed all his clothes together In a leather- Bound valise, And, feigning reprehensibly, He started out, ostensibly By traveling to learn a Bit of Smyrna And of Greece.
His wife made but a cursory Inspection of the nursery; The kitchen and the airy Little dairy Were a bore, As well as big or scanty rooms, And billiard, bath, and ante-rooms, But not that interdicted And restricted Little door!
For, all her curiosity Awakened by the closet he So carefully had hidden, And forbidden Her to see, This damsel disobedient Did something inexpedient, And in the keyhole tiny Turned the shiny Little key:
Then started back impulsively, And shrieked aloud convulsively— Three heads of girls he'd wedded And beheaded Met her eye! And turning round, much terrified, Her darkest fears were verified, For Blue-Beard stood behind her, Come to find her On the sly!
Perceiving she was fated to Be soon decapitated, too, She telegraphed her brothers And some others What she feared. And Sister Anne looked out for them, In readiness to shout for them Whenever in the distance With assistance They appeared.
But only from her battlement She saw some dust that cattle meant. The ordinary story Isn't gory, But a jest. But here's the truth unqualified. The husband wasn't mollified Her head is in his bloody Little study With the rest!
The Moral: Wives, we must allow, Who to their husbands will not bow, A stern and dreadful lesson learn When, as you've read, they're cut in turn.
How Rumplestilz Held Out in Vain for a Bonus
In Germany there lived an earl Who had a charming niece: And never gave the timid girl A single moment's peace! Whatever low and menial task His fancy flitted through, He did not hesitate to ask That shrinking child to do. (I see with truly honest shame you Are blushing, and I do not blame you. A tale like this the feelings softens, And brings the tears, as does "Two Orphans.")
She had to wash the windows, and She had to scrub the floors, She had to lend a willing hand To fifty other chores: She gave the dog his exercise, She read the earl the news, She ironed all his evening ties, And polished all his shoes, She cleaned the tins that filled the dairy, She cut the claws of the canary, And then, at night, with manner winsome, When coal was wanted, carried in some!
But though these tasks were quite enough, He thought them all too few, And so her uncle, rude and rough, Invented something new. He took her to a little room, Her willingness to tax, And pointed out a broken loom And half a ton of flax, Observing: "Spin six pairs of trousers!" His haughty manner seemed to rouse hers. She met his scornful glances proudly—
But when the earl went down the stair She yielded to her fears. Gave way at last to grim despair, And melted into tears: When suddenly, from out the wall, As if he felt at home, There pounced a singularly small And much distorted gnome. He smiled a smile extremely vapid, And set to work in fashion rapid; No time for resting he deducted, And soon the trousers were constructed.
The girl observed: "How very nice To help me out this way!" The gnome replied: "A certain price Of course you'll have to pay. I'll call to-morrow afternoon, My due reward to claim, And then you'll sing another tune Unless you guess my name!" He indicated with a gesture The pile of newly fashioned vesture: His eyes on hers a moment centered, And then he went, as he had entered.
As by this tale you have been grieved And heartily distressed, Kind sir, you will be much relieved To know his name she guessed:
But if I do not tell the same, Pray count it not a crime:— I've tried my best, and for that name I can't find any rhyme! Yet spare me from remarks injurious: I will not leave you foiled and furious. If something must proclaim the answer, And I cannot, the title can, sir!
The Moral is: All said and done, There's nothing new beneath the sun, And many times before, a title Was incapacity's requital!
How Jack Made the Giants Uncommonly Sore
Of all the ill-fated Boys ever created Young Jack was the wretchedest lad: An emphatic, erratic, Dogmatic fanatic Was foisted upon him as dad! From the time he could walk, And before he could talk, His wearisome training began, On a highly barbarian, Disciplinarian, Nearly Tartarean Plan!
He taught him some Raleigh, And some of Macaulay, Till all of "Horatius" he knew, And the drastic, sarcastic, Fantastic, scholastic Philippics of "Junius," too. He made him learn lots Of the poems of Watts, And frequently said he ignored, On principle, any son's Title to benisons Till he'd learned Tennyson's "Maud."
"For these are the giants Of thought and of science," He said in his positive way: "So weigh them, obey them, Display them, and lay them To heart in your infancy's day!" Jack made no reply, But he said on the sly An eloquent word, that had come From a quite indefensible, Most reprehensible, But indispensable Chum.
By the time he was twenty Jack had such a plenty Of books and paternal advice, Though seedy and needy, Indeed he was greedy For vengeance, whatever the price! In the editor's seat Of a critical sheet He found the revenge that he sought; And, with sterling appliance of Mind, wrote defiance of All of the giants of Thought.
He'd thunder and grumble At high and at humble Until he became, in a while, Mordacious, pugnacious, Rapacious. Good gracious! They called him the Yankee Carlyle! But he never took rest On his quarrelsome quest Of the giants, both mighty and small. He slated, distorted them, Hanged them and quartered them, Till he had slaughtered them All.
And this is The Moral that lies in the verse: If you have a go farther, you're apt to fare worse. (When you turn it around it is different rather:— You're not apt to go worse if you have a fair father!)
How Rudeness and Kindness Were Justly Rewarded
Once on a time, long years ago (Just when I quite forget), Two maidens lived beside the Po, One blonde and one brunette. The blonde one's character was mild, From morning until night she smiled, Whereas the one whose hair was brown Did little else than pine and frown. (I think one ought to draw the line At girls who always frown and pine!)
The blonde one learned to play the harp, Like all accomplished dames, And trained her voice to take C sharp As well as Emma Eames; Made baskets out of scented grass, And paper-weights of hammered brass, And lots of other odds and ends For gentleman and lady friends. (I think it takes a deal of sense To manufacture gifts for gents!)
The dark one wore an air of gloom, Proclaimed the world a bore, And took her breakfast in her room Three mornings out of four. With crankiness she seemed imbued, And everything she said was rude: She sniffed, and sneered, and, what is more, When very much provoked, she swore! (I think that I could never care For any girl who'd learned to swear!)
One day the blonde was striding past A forest, all alone, When all at once her eyes she cast Upon a wrinkled crone, Who tottered near with shaking knees, And said: "A penny, if you please!" And you will learn with some surprise This was a fairy in disguise! (I think it must be hard to know A fairy who's incognito!)
The maiden filled her trembling palms With coinage of the realm. The fairy said: "Take back your alms! My heart they overwhelm. Henceforth at every word shall slip A pearl or ruby from your lip!" And, when the girl got home that night,— She found the fairy's words were right! (I think there are not many girls Whose words are worth their weight in pearls!)
It happened that the cross brunette, Ten minutes later, came Along the self-same road, and met That bent and wrinkled dame, Who asked her humbly for a sou. The girl replied: "Get out with you!" The fairy cried: "Each word you drop, A toad from out your mouth shall hop!" (I think that nothing incommodes One's speech like uninvited toads!)
And so it was, the cheerful blonde Lived on in joy and bliss, And grew pecunious, beyond The dreams of avarice! And to a nice young man was wed, And I have often heard it said No other man who ever walked Most loved his wife when most she talked! (I think this very fact, forsooth, Goes far to prove I tell the truth!)
The cross brunette the fairy's joke By hook or crook survived, But still at every word she spoke An ugly toad arrived, Until at last she had to come To feigning she was wholly dumb, Whereat the suitors swarmed around, And soon a wealthy mate she found. (I think nobody ever knew The happier husband of the two!)
The Moral of the tale is: Bah! Nous avons change tout cela. No clear idea I hope to strike Of what your nicest girl is like, But she whose best young man I am Is not an oyster, nor a clam!
How Beauty Contrived to Get Square with the Beast
Miss Guinevere Platt Was so beautiful that She couldn't remember the day When one of her swains Hadn't taken the pains To send her a mammoth bouquet. And the postman had found, On the whole of his round, That no one received such a lot Of bulky epistles As, waiting his whistles, The beautiful Guinevere got!
A significant sign That her charm was divine Was seen in society, when The chaperons sniffed With their eyebrows alift: "Whatever's got into the men?" There was always a man Who was holding her fan, And twenty that danced in details, And a couple of mourners, Who brooded in corners, And gnawed their mustaches and nails.
John Jeremy Platt Wouldn't stay in the flat, For his beautiful daughter he missed: When he'd taken his tub, He would hie to his club, And dally with poker or whist. At the end of a year It was perfectly clear That he'd never computed the cost, For he hadn't a penny To settle the many Ten thousands of dollars he'd lost!
F. Ferdinand Fife Was a student of life: He was coarse, and excessively fat, With a beard like a goat's, But he held all the notes Of ruined John Jeremy Platt! With an adamant smile That was brimming with guile, He said: "I am took with the face Of your beautiful daughter, And wed me she ought ter, To save you from utter disgrace!"
Miss Guinevere Platt Didn't hesitate at Her duty's imperative call. When they looked at the bride All the chaperons cried: "She isn't so bad, after all!" Of the desolate men There were something like ten Who took up political lives, And the flower of the flock Went and fell off a dock, And the rest married hideous wives!
But the beautiful wife Of F. Ferdinand Fife Was the wildest that ever was known: She'd grumble and glare, Till the man didn't dare To say that his soul was his own. She sneered at his ills, And quadrupled his bills, And spent nearly twice what he earned; Her husband deserted, And frivoled, and flirted, Till Ferdinand's reason was turned.
He repented too late, And his terrible fate Upon him so heavily sat, That he swore at the day When he sat down to play At cards with John Jeremy Platt. He was dead in a year, And the fair Guinevere In society sparkled again, While the chaperons fluttered Their fans, as they muttered: "She's getting exceedingly plain!"
The Moral: Predicaments often are found That beautiful duty is apt to get round: But greedy extortioners better beware For dutiful beauty is apt to get square!
How a Fair One no Hope to His Highness Accorded
She has slid down the channels Of history's annals Disguised as the child of a king, But that is a glib And iniquitous fib, For she never was any such thing: They called her the Fair One with Golden Locks, And it's true she had lovers who swarmed in flocks, But the rest is ironic; Her business chronic Was selling hair-tonic By bottle and box!
From the dawn till the gloaming She used to sit combing Her hair in a languorous way. And her suitors would stop To look into the shop, And stand there the rest of the day. She filled them with mute, but with deep despair, For she never glanced up, with a smile, to where They stood about, crushing Each other, and blushing: She simply kept brushing Her beautiful hair.
But a prince who was passing, Engaged in amassing Some facts on American life, Was suddenly struck By the fact that his luck Might give him that girl for a wife! His rashness he didn't attempt to excuse, He entered the shop and he stated his views. Remarking, "My jewel, I'm confident you will Not wish to be cruel Enough to refuse.
"Most winsome of creatures," He told her, "your features Have led me to candidly say That no other beside Would I have for a bride: We'll be married a week from to-day! I belong to a long and a titled line, And the least of your wishes I won't decline; Next month I will usher My wife into Russia:— Sweet comber and brusher, Consider you're mine!"
She looked at him squarely, Considered him fairly, Her glance was as keen as a knife, Then she turned up her nose, And, with icy repose, She answered: "Well, not on your life! You're not on the paper the only blot! Do you think I come twelve in a parcel—what? Me pose as your dearie? Oh, go and chase Peary! You're making me weary. Now git!"
The crowd that had waited Outside was elated So much by the prince's mischance, That they greeted with jeers And ironical cheers, The end of his little romance. They said: "Did it hurt when the ground you hit?" They searched for some mark where the prince had lit, And as he looked colder, They only grew bolder, And tapped on his shoulder With: "Tag! You're It!"
The lengthy discussion That sensitive Russian Compiled on the U. S. A. Was read by the maid, As she carelessly played With her beautiful hair one day. "The talk you hear in that primitive land," He wrote, "nobody can understand." "Somebody who guffed him," She said, "has stuffed him, And easily bluffed him To beat the band!"
The Moral: The people across the brine Are exceedingly strong on Auld Lang Syne, But they're lost in the push when they strike a gang That is strong on American new line slang!
How Thomas a Maid from a Dragon Released
Though Philip the Second Of France was reckoned No coward, his breath came short When they told him a dragon As big as a wagon Was waiting below in the court! A dragon so long, and so wide, and so fat, That he couldn't get in at the door to chat: The king couldn't leave him Outside and grieve him, He had to receive him Upon the mat,
The dragon bowed nicely, And very concisely He stated the reason he'd called: He made the disclosure With frigid composure. King Philip was simply appalled! He demanded for eating, a fortnight apart, The monarch's ten daughters, all dear to his heart. "And now you'll produce," he Concluded, "the juicy And succulent Lucie By way of start!"
King Philip was pliant, And far from defiant —"And servile," no doubt you retort!— But if you struck a snag on A bottle-green dragon, Who filled up two-thirds of your court, And curled up his tail on your new tin roof, And made your piazza groan under his hoof, Would you threaten and thunder, Or just knuckle under Completely, I wonder, If put to proof?
By way of a truce, he Brought out little Lucie And watched her conducted away, But all of the others Were out with their brothers! Thus gaining a little delay, He promised through heralds sent west and east, His crown, and his kingdom, and last, not least, His daughter so sightly To any one knightly Who'd come and politely Wipe out that beast!
For love of the charmer, Arrayed in his armor, Each suitor for glory who yearned, Would gallantly hasten, The dragon to chasten, But none of them ever returned! When the dragon had eaten some sixteen score He hung up this sign on his cavern door, Whereat he lay pronely In majesty lonely:
There's Standing Room Only For Three Knights More!
A slim adolescent, His beard only crescent, Rode up at this stage of the game To where the old sinner Lay gorged with his dinner, And breathing out torrents of flame. He gathered a tip from the flaunting sign, And took his position the fourth in line, Until, as foreboded, By food incommoded, The dragon exploded At half-past nine.
The king was delighted At first when he sighted The victor, but then in dismay Regretted his promise. The stripling was Thomas, His Majesty's valet-de-pied! He asked him at once: "Will you compromise?" But Thomas looked straight in his master's eyes, And answered severely: "I see your game clearly, And scorn it sincerely. Hand out the prize!"
Not long did he linger Before on the finger Of Lucie he fitted a ring: A month or two later They made him dictator, In place of the elderly king: He was lauded by pulpit, and boomed by press, And no one had ever a chance to guess, Beholding this hero Who ruled like a Nero, His valor was zero, Or something less.
The Moral: And still from Nice to Calais Discretion's the better part of— —valets!
How a Beauty was Waked and Her Suitor was Suited
Albeit wholly penniless, Prince Charming wasn't any less Conceited than a Croesus or a modern millionaire: Though often in necessity, No one would ever guess it. He Was candidly insolvent, and he frankly didn't care! Of the many debts he made Not a one was ever paid, But no one ever pressed him to refund the borrowed gold: While he recklessly kept spending, People gladly kept on lending, For the fact they knew a title Was requital Twenty-fold! (He lived in sixteen sixty-three, This smooth unblushing article, Since when, as far as I can see, Men haven't changed a particle!)
In Charming's principality There was a wild locality, Composed of sombre forest, and of steep and frowning crags, Of pheasant and of rabbit, too; And here it was his habit to Go hunting with his courtiers in the keen pursuit of stags. But the charger that he rode So mercurially strode That the prince on one occasion left the others in the lurch, And the falling darkness found him, With no vassals left around him, Near a building like an abbey, Or a shabby Ruined church. His Highness said: "I'll ring the bell And stay till morning in it!" (He Took Hobson's choice, for no hotel There was in the vicinity.)
His ringing was so vehement That any one could see he meant To suffer no refusal, but, in spite of all the din, There was no answer audible, And so, with courage laudable, His Royal Highness turned the knob, and stoutly entered in. Then he strode across the court, But he suddenly stopped short When he passed within the castle by a massive oaken door: There were courtiers without number, But they all were plunged in slumber, The prince's ear delighting By uniting In a snore. The prince remarked: "This must be Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!" (And so was born the jest that's still The comic journal's mania!)
With torpor reprehensible, Numb, comatose, insensible, The flunkeys and the chamberlains all slumbered like the dead, And snored so loud and mournfully, That Charming passed them scornfully And came to where a princess lay asleep upon a bed. She was so extremely fair That His Highness didn't care For the risk, and so he kissed her ere a single word he spoke:— In a jiffy maids and pages, Ushers, lackeys, squires, and sages, As fresh as if they'd been at least A week awake, Awoke, And hastened, bustled, dashed and ran Up stairways and through galleries: In brief, they one and all began Again to earn their salaries!
Aroused from her paralysis, As if in deep analysis Of him who had awakened her, the princess met his eye: Her glance at first was critical, And sternly analytical. And then she dropped her lashes and she gave a little sigh. As he watched her, wholly dumb, She observed: "You doubtless come For one of two good reasons, and I'm going to ask you which. Do you mean my house to harry, Or do you propose to marry?" He answered: "I may rue it, But I'll do it, If you're rich!" The princess murmured with a smile: "I've millions, at the least, to come!" The prince cried: "Please excuse me, while I go and get the priest to come!"
The Moral: When affairs go ill The sleeping partner foots the bill.
How Jack Found that Beans May go Back on a Chap
Without the slightest basis For hypochondriasis A widow had forebodings which a cloud around her flung, And with expression cynical For half the day a clinical Thermometer she held beneath her tongue.
Whene'er she read the papers She suffered from the vapors, At every tale of malady or accident she'd groan; In every new and smart disease, From housemaid's knee to heart disease, She recognized the symptoms as her own!
She had a yearning chronic To try each novel tonic, Elixir, panacea, lotion, opiate, and balm; And from a homoeopathist Would change to an hydropathist, And back again, with stupefying calm!
The closets of her villa Were full of sarsaparilla, Ammonia, digitalis, bronchial troches, soda mint. Restoratives hirsutical, And soaps to clean the cuticle, And iodine, and peptonoids, and lint.
She was nervous, cataleptic, And anemic, and dyspeptic: Though not convinced of apoplexy, yet she had her fears. She dwelt with force fanatical Upon a twinge rheumatical, And said she had a buzzing in her ears!
Now all of this bemoaning And this grumbling and this groaning The mind of Jack, her son and heir, unconscionably bored. His heart completely hardening, He gave his time to gardening, For raising beans was something he adored.
Each hour in accents morbid This limp maternal bore bid Her callous son affectionate and lachrymose good-bys. She never granted Jack a day Without some long "Alackaday!" Accompanied by rolling of the eyes.
But Jack, no panic showing, Just watched his beanstalk growing, And twined with tender fingers the tendrils up the pole. At all her words funereal He smiled a smile ethereal, Or sighed an absent-minded "Bless my soul!"
That hollow-hearted creature Would never change a feature: No tear bedimmed his eye, however touching was her talk. She never fussed or flurried him, The only thing that worried him Was when no bean-pods grew upon the stalk!
But then he wabbled loosely His head, and wept profusely, And, taking out his handkerchief to mop away his tears, Exclaimed: "It hasn't got any!" He found this blow to botany Was sadder than were all his mother's fears.
The Moral is that gardeners pine Whene'er no pods adorn the vine. Of all sad words experience gleans The saddest are: "It might have beans." (I did not make this up myself: 'Twas in a book upon my shelf. It's witty, but I don't deny It's rather Whittier than I!)
How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted
A poet had a cat. There is nothing odd in that— (I might make a little pun about the Mews!) But what is really more Remarkable, she wore A pair of pointed patent-leather shoes. And I doubt me greatly whether E'er you heard the like of that: Pointed shoes of patent-leather On a cat!
His time he used to pass Writing sonnets, on the grass— (I might say something good on pen and sward!) While the cat sat near at hand, Trying hard to understand The poems he occasionally roared. (I myself possess a feline, But when poetry I roar He is sure to make a bee-line For the door.)
The poet, cent by cent, All his patrimony spent— (I might tell how he went from werse to werse!) Till the cat was sure she could, By advising, do him good So addressed him in a manner that was terse: "We are bound toward the scuppers, And the time has come to act, Or we'll both be on our uppers For a fact!"
On her boot she fixed her eye, But the boot made no reply— (I might say: "Couldn't speak to save its sole!") And the foolish bard, instead Of responding, only read A verse that wasn't bad upon the whole: And it pleased the cat so greatly, Though she knew not what it meant, That I'll quote approximately How it went:—
"If I should live to be The last leaf upon the tree"— (I might put in: "I think I'd just as leaf!") "Let them smile, as I do now, At the old forsaken bough"— Well, he'd plagiarized it bodily, in brief! But that cat of simple breeding Couldn't read the lines between, So she took it to a leading Magazine.
She was jarred and very sore When they showed her to the door. (I might hit off the door that was a jar!) To the spot she swift returned Where the poet sighed and yearned, And she told him that he'd gone a little far. "Your performance with this rhyme has Made me absolutely sick," She remarked. "I think the time has Come to kick!"
I could fill up half the page With descriptions of her rage— (I might say that she went a bit too fur!) When he smiled and murmured: "Shoo!" "There is one thing I can do!" She answered with a wrathful kind of purr. "You may shoo me, and it suit you, But I feel my conscience bid Me, as tit for tat, to boot you!" (Which she did.)
The Moral of the plot (Though I say it, as should not!) Is: An editor is difficult to suit. But again there're other times When the man who fashions rhymes Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot!
How Much Fortunatus Could Do with a Cap
Fortunatus, a fisherman Dane, Set out on a sudden for Spain, Because, runs the story, He'd met with a hoary Mysterious sorcerer chap, Who, trouble to save him, Most thoughtfully gave him A magical traveling cap. I barely believe that the story is true, But here's what that cap was reported to do.
Suppose you were sitting at home, And you wished to see Paris or Rome, You'd pick up that bonnet, You'd carefully don it, The name of the city you'd call, And the very next minute By Jove, you were in it, Without having started at all! One moment you sauntered on upper Broadway, And the next on the Corso or rue de la Paix!
Why, it beat every journey of Cook's, Knocked spots out of Baedeker's books! He stepped from his doorway Direct into Norway, He hopped in a trice to Ceylon, He saw Madagascar, Went round by Alaska, And called on a girl in Luzon: If they said she'd be down in a moment or two, He took, while he waited, a peek at Peru!
He could wake up at eight in Siam, Take his tub, if he wanted, in Guam. Eat breakfast in Kansas, And lunch in Matanzas, Go out for a walk in Brazil, Take tea in Madeira, Dine on the Riviera, And smoke his cigar in Seville, Go out to the theatre in Vladivostok, And retire in New York at eleven o'clock!
Every tongue he could readily speak: French, German, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Bavarian, Japanese, Hindustanee, Russian and Mexican! He was a lexicon, Such as you seldom will see. His knowledge linguistic gave Ollendorff fits, And brought a hot flush to the face of Berlitz!
He would bow in an intimate way To Menelik and to Loubet, He was frequently beckoned, By William the Second, A word of advice to receive, He talked with bravado About the Mikado, King Oscar, Oom Paul, the Khedive, King Victor Emmanuel Second, the Shah, King Edward the Seventh, Kwang Su, and the Czar!
But what did he get from it all? His wife used to wait in the hall! When this wandering mortal Set foot on the portal, She always appeared on the scene, And, far from ideally, Remarked: "Well, I really Would like to know where you have been!" Now what is the good of a wandering life, If you have to tell all that you do to your wife?
She'd indulge in a copious cry, She'd remark she'd undoubtedly die, Or, like many another, Go back to her mother, And what would the world think of that? She only grew pleasant, When offered a present Of gloves or a gown or a hat: And more than his talisman saved him in fare Fortunatus expended in putting things square!
And The Moral is easily said: Like our hero, you're certain to find, When such a cap goes on a head, Retribution will follow behind!
How a Princess Was Wooed from Habitual Sadness
In days of old the King of Saxe Had singular opinions, For with a weighty battle-axe He brutalized his minions, And, when he'd nothing to employ His mind, he chose a village, And with an air of savage joy Delivered it to pillage.
But what aroused within his breast A rage well-nigh primeval Was, most of all, his daughter, dressed In fashion mediaeval: The gowns that pleased this maiden's eye Were simple as Utopia, And for a hat she had a high Inverted cornucopia.
In all her life she'd never smiled, Her sadness was abysmal: The boisterous monarch found his child Unutterably dismal. He therefore said the prince who made Her laughter from its shell come, Besides in ducats being paid, Might wed the girl, and welcome!
I ought to say, ere I forget, She was uncommon comely— (Who ever read a Grimm tale yet, In which the girl was homely?) And so the King's announcement drew Nine princes in a column. But all in vain. The princess grew, If anything, more solemn.
One read her "Innocents Abroad," The next wore clothes eccentric, The third one swallowed half his sword, As in the circus-tent trick. Thus eight of them into her cool Reserve but deeper shoved her: There was but one authentic fool— The prince who really loved her!
He'd alternate between the height Of hope and deep abasement, He caught distressing colds at night, By watching 'neath her casement: He did what I have done, I know, And you, I do not doubt it,— Instead of bottling up his woe, He bored his friends about it!
In brooding on the ways of Fate Long hours he daily wasted, His food remained upon his plate, 'Twas scarcely touched or tasted: He said the bitter things of love, All lovers, save a few, say, And learned by heart the verses of Swinburne, and A. de Musset!
This attitude his wished-for bride To silent laughter goaded, Until he talked of suicide, And then the girl exploded! "You make me laugh, and so," she said, "I'll marry you next season." (Not half the people who are wed Have half so good a reason!)
The Moral: The deliberate clown Can never beat love's barriers down: 'Tis better to be like the owl, Comic because so grave a fowl. From him we well may take our cue— By him be taught, to wit, to woo!
How a Girl was too Reckless of Grammar by Far
Matilda Maud Mackenzie frankly hadn't any chin, Her hands were rough, her feet she turned invariably in; Her general form was German, By which I mean that you Her waist could not determine To within a foot or two: And not only did she stammer, But she used the kind of grammar That is called, for sake of euphony, askew.
From what I say about her, don't imagine I desire A prejudice against this worthy creature to inspire. She was willing, she was active, She was sober, she was kind, But she never looked attractive And she hadn't any mind! I knew her more than slightly, And I treated her politely When I met her, but of course I wasn't blind!
Matilda Maud Mackenzie had a habit that was droll, She spent her morning seated on a rock or on a knoll, And threw with much composure A smallish rubber ball At an inoffensive osier By a little waterfall; But Matilda's way of throwing Was like other people's mowing, And she never hit the willow-tree at all!
One day as Miss Mackenzie with uncommon ardor tried To hit the mark, the missile flew exceptionally wide, And, before her eyes astounded, On a fallen maple's trunk Ricochetted, and rebounded In the rivulet, and sunk! Matilda, greatly frightened, In her grammar unenlightened, Remarked: "Well now I ast yer! Who'd 'er thunk?"
But what a marvel followed! From the pool at once there rose A frog, the sphere of rubber balanced deftly on his nose. He beheld her fright and frenzy, And, her panic to dispel, On his knee by Miss Mackenzie He obsequiously fell. With quite as much decorum As a speaker in a forum He started in his history to tell.
"Fair maid," he said, "I beg you, do not hesitate or wince, If you'll promise that you'll wed me, I'll at once become a prince; For a fairy old and vicious An enchantment round me spun!" Then he looked up, unsuspicious, And he saw what he had won, And in terms of sad reproach he Made some comments, sotto voce,*
* (Which the publishers have bidden me to shun!)
Matilda Maud Mackenzie said, as if she meant to scold: "I never! Why, you forward thing! Now ain't you awful bold!" Just a glance he paused to give her, And his head was seen to clutch, Then he darted to the river, And he dived to beat the Dutch! While the wrathful maiden panted: "I don't think he was enchanted!" (And he really didn't look it overmuch!)
The Moral: In one's language one conservative should be: Speech is silver, and it never should be free!
How the Peaceful Aladdin Gave Way to His Madness
His name was Aladdin. The clothes he was clad in Proclaimed him an Arab at sight, And he had for a chum An uncommonly rum Old afreet, six cubits in height. This person infernal, Who seemed so fraternal, At bottom was frankly a scamp: His future to sadden, He gave to Aladdin A wonderful magical lamp.
A marvel he dubbed it. He said if one rubbed it One's wishes were done on the spot. Now what would you do Were it offered to you? Refuse it undoubtedly (not)! It's thus comprehensive With pleasure extensive Aladdin accepted the gift, And, by it befriended, Erected a splendid Chateau, with a bath and a lift!
Not dreaming of malice, One year in his palace He led a luxurious life, Till his genius dread Put it into his head That he needed a beautiful wife. Responding to friction, The lamp this affliction At once for Aladdin secured; The latter, delighted, Imagined he sighted A future of quiet assured.
When gladly he chose her, He didn't suppose her A philatelist, always agape For novelties, yet She had all of the set Of triangular stamps of the Cape. Some people malicious Proclaimed her Mauritius One-penny vermilion a sell. But that was all rot. It Was true she had got it, And the tuppenny blue one as well!
Since thus she collected, As might be expected, She didn't for bric-a-brac care, So she traded the lamp For an Ecuador stamp That somebody told her was rare! This act served to madden The mind of Aladdin, But, 'spite of his impotent wrath, His manor-house vanished, To nothingness banished, And while he was taking a bath!
The average Arab Is hard as a scarab When some one has wounded his pride, So he jumped up and down, With a cynical frown, On the face of his beautiful bride! He had picked up a cargo Of curious argot While living in Paris the gay; In the slang of that city He cried without pity: "Comme ca tu me fich'ras la paix!"
The Moral: When stamps you're adept on Of risks you are reckless, and yet Beware! If your face is once stepped on, That's the last stamp you're likely to get!
How a Fisherman Corked up His Foe in a Jar
A fisherman lived on the shore, (It's a habit that fishers affect,) And his life was a hideous bore: He had nothing to do but collect Continual harvests of seaweed and shells, Which he stuck upon photograph frames, To sell to the guests in the summer hotels With the quite inappropriate names!
He would wander along by the edge Of the sea, and I know for a fact From the pools with a portable dredge He would curious creatures extract: And, during the season, he always took lots Of tourists out fishing for bass, And showed them politely impossible spots, In the culpable way of his class.
It happened one day, as afar He roved on the glistening strand, That he chanced on a curious jar, Which lay on a hummock of sand. It was closed at the mouth with a cork and a seal, And over the top there was tied A cloth, and the fisherman couldn't but feel That he ought to see what was inside.
But what were his fear and surprise When the stopper he held in his hand! For a genie of singular size Appeared in a trice on the sand, Who said in the roughest and rudest of tones: "A monster you've foolishly freed! I shall simply make way with you, body and bones, And that with phenomenal speed!"
The fisherman looked in his face, And answered him boldly: "My friend, How you ever were packed in that space Is something I don't comprehend. Pray do me the favor to show me how you Can do it, as large as you are." The genie retorted: "That's just what I'll do!" And promptly reentered the jar.
The fisherman corked him up tight: The genie protested and raved, But for all he accomplished, he might As well all his shouting have saved. And, whenever a generous bonus is paid, The fisherman willingly tells The singular tale of this trick that he played, To the guests in the summer hotels.
The Moral: When fortune you strike, And you've slipped through a dangerous crack, Get as forward as ever you like, But never, oh, never get back!
Now don't go and say you'd a dim Idea of these stories before, For I've frankly confessed them from Grimm, The monarch of magical lore:
And if, by repeating, I took Your time, I will candidly vow This moral (the last in the book) Has never been published till now!
The Moral: The skeleton's Grimm, But I have supplied the apparel, So it's fifty per cent, of it Him, And it's fifty per cent. of it Carryl. But still (from the personal severing, For it isn't my nature to grump,) I acknowledge a measure of Levering Levering-ed the whole of the lump!