"The Princess of Tippytown"
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Kabumpo in Oz, "The Dragon of Pumperdink", King Kojo, etc.
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 24, 1917.
Once upon a time, in a dear little city called Tippytown, lived a dear little princess, just about as big as a gillyflower, and all of her subjects thought that exactly the right height for a princess to be--and I do myself. Not very many people lived in the city of Tippytown; indeed, there were but six houses in all. In one lived Mr. Timothy Mouse and in one lived Mr. Tom Frog and in another lived Jerry Dog and in another Captain Cat and in still another lived Commodore Duck and in the last house lived a wood elf--that is, once in a while he stayed there when he was not away off in the forest.
As you can imagine, a town with such delightful inhabitants could not help being a happy one, and they all got along most comfortably till it happened. You can almost guess what happened, and I need hardly tell you that it had to do with marrying, for whoever heard of a princess without hearing in the next breath of all the folks who are determined to marry her?
Mr. Timothy Mouse decided first, and hastened off to break the news to Mr. Tom Frog. "Congratulate me, Tommy," said he, "for I am quite determined to marry our princess." Poor Tommy Frog swallowed several times and rolled his eyes upward, then all at once he gave a little hop. "Have you asked her?" he gulped anxiously. Timothy twinkled his whiskers and allowed that he had not yet, at which Tim gave a sigh of relief and said he'd just go along, too, for he also was minded to wed, They had not gone far before they met Jerry and no sooner had he heard the news than he fell in behind them, for he was quite sure that none of thrm could make the princess so happy as he could. Captain Cat, seeing the procession, held up his paw and upon learning the nature of their errand likewise expressed himself as being deeply in love with the little princess, while Commodore Duck came waddling after in a great state of mind to think that the others had dared to do what he himself had done--namely, to fall in love. So they went, creeping and hopping and stepping and waddling, to the dear little palace, each quite sure she would choose himself.
The little princess was swinging in a hammock of woven grass fastened to two tiger lily stalks, and she sat up pretty straight, I can tell you, when each of the five had asked her to marry him. "How shall I decide?" puzzled the poor little princess, "and where, oh, where is the little wood elf?" But she let nothing of this appear in her face, and clicking her tiny little heels together, declared she would marry the one who paid her the fairest compliment.
"Ah!" cried the frog, falling on one knee, "you are as beautiful as mud!"
"Mud!" echoed the little Princess dismally. "How horrid!"
"You are as toothsome as a bone!" cried the dog, edging closer. The princess shivered and for the first time noticed how sharp Jerry dog's teeth were. "Nay, she is as lovely as a lake!" quacked Commodore Duck, flapping his wings; but Captain Cat hissed scornfully, declaring her as "Rich as a saucer of cream!" "Sharp as stale cheese!" squeaked Timothy, and they all began screeching their compliments louder and louder, till the little princess was obliged to hold her ears. And just then along hurried the bright little wood elf. He seemed to know just what was going on. (I think he was listening.) "Fair as the little star shining yonder over the purple hills!" whispered the little fellow in her ear.
The princess thought of the mud and the bone and the big lake, of the saucer of cream and the stale cheese. THEN she looked at the little star shining so very faintly far off above them all and she put her hand in the hand of the wood elf and away they scampered to the deep, dark forest, to live happily ever afterward in the heart of a tree. And to this day the mouse and the frog and the duck and the dog and the cat cannot tell why she did not marry them. But I know--do not you? They were thinking--not of what she liked best--and their compliments were selfish. The wood elf, who had often seen the little princess gazing off up in the sky, guessed that she loved the stars better than anything else and trusted a little star to tell her his message, and you see it did!
THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 6, 1917.
The Puzzle Corner
The Forgetful Poet has written a masterpiece. He says it is a masterpiece and it is impolite to contradict, so we'll say nothing. All the blanks are to be filled in by flowers. See how many of you can complete the dear fellow's poem.
A Few Flowery Phrases
I saw a ___ ___ in a field
While Sam was milking, and
Although 'twas spring, frost took a fling
And ___ ___ on the land.
Beside a stream a nanny goat
Grazed hungrily--and hid
Behind her in the underbrush
I saw her child ___!
The farmer put a scarecrow up,
Which frightened all of us,
But scared the blackbirds most of all
And made the old ___!
The ___ ___ bark at ___ o'clock
To waken up the lazy.
And who can guess the flowers here
Is certainly a ___!
[Answers next time.]
[Solution to last month's puzzle:
Delightful spring is here again,
The fruit tree blossoms fall.
And from on elm tree comes the
Robin's cheery spring time call!
The boys play baseball on the lot,
And from the hat rack swing
The hats and mitts and roller skates
That prove that it is spring.
Each maiden has a lovely hat
To swim the boys are going,
The careless find the newly painted
Fences most annoying!
I'm feeling awfully fit and trim
And ready for vacation
And send my love to all of you
The pride of this great nation!]
Copyright © 2003 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.
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