"The Adventures of Jimmy Abraham"
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!", etc.
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, October 4 to December 13, 1914.
The captain of the tin soldiers presented him with his sword, the dolls with a cardboard shield which they had fashioned from the lid of a candy box. And thus armed, Jimmy Abraham felt able to conquer the world.
"Good-by!!" he called gaily, letting himself out of the nursery window. "Good-by, Jimmy Abraham!" called the dolls waving their handkerchiefs.
Very carefully Jimmy climbed down the stout vine which grew under the nursery window. He had almost reached the bottom when - a terrible beast came rushing out of the shadows and stood with its mouth wide open, waiting.
"Dollamercies!!" cried Jimmy Abraham, peering down at the frightful beast - indeed such was his agitation that he nearly lost his gold upon the vine. Quickly recovering himself, however, he tied his grip fast to a twig, then with his free hand brandished his tin sword. "Stand out of the way - BE OFF! - BEGONE!" he called valiantly, but the beast, with a horrible noise, sprang up and snapped at his heels.
Jimmy shivered in all his joints. For a moment he almost wished himself back in the nursery, but remembering that he was a brave doll starting out on his journey of adventures, he set himself to think a way out of the difficulty. Suddenly, Jimmy had an idea! He opened his grip and took out one of the animal crackers and held it out invitingly. The beast stopped snarling. Then Jimmy threw the cracker over as far as he could, and while the beast ran to pounce upon it, he seized his grip, tumbled down the vine and plunged into a thick bush, his china heart beating like a Chinese dinner gong.
The frightful beast crunched up the animal cracker; then it sniffed and snuffed around. But Jimmy kept still as a mouse, and, concluding that he had gone back to the nursery, the dog (for the frightful beast was a dog, my dears) trotted off.
Then Jimmy Abraham crept out of the bush, walked rapidly down the path and out of the garden gate. He had not gone far down the dark road before he heard footsteps pattering after him. "Dollamercies!" cried Jimmy Abraham again. Looking over his shoulder, he caught the twinkle of a red lantern and out of the gloom a strange figure came hurrying. Jimmy put down his grip, grasped his cardboard shield in one hand and his tin sword in the other and stood waiting to see what would happen.
"Good evening!" called the creature holding the lantern high above its head. With a sigh of relief Jimmy put up his ton sword. "Good evening!" he called politely. Who do you 'spose it was? Why, Robin Rabbit hurrying home with a load of wood. And being the friendliest little rabbit in the world, he invited Jimmy Abraham to spend the night with him. So they both went on down the road together - and had soon come to the Robin"s hose in the woods. "Wife! Wife!" called Robin, pattering down the long hallway. "I have brought you a guest!" Then Mrs. Robin Rabbit came out of the warm kitchen and courtesied to Jimmy Abraham until her ears touched the floor. Off she hurried to the cupboard and brought out a huge frosted cake and a jar of honey, and they all sat around the table in the coziest fashion imaginable.
Jimmy Abraham told Mrs. Robin Rabbit all about his life in the nursery and of his determination to see the world. "You have a great future in store for you!" said Mrs. Rabbit, shaking her ears, when Jimmy related how he had outwitted the savage dog. "I quite agree with you," said Robin, taking off his specs. "Upon my tail I shouldn't be surprised to see you at court before you are through with your adventures." Then they in their turn told Jimmy all about their life in the woods and about their friends the Charley Chipmunks and of the weekly nut parties of the Stephen Squirrels, and in this pleasant fashion the evening soon passed. Then Mrs. Rabbit gave Jimmy Abraham a night light and showed him into a cozy little brown room with a couch of leaves. He undressed quickly, put on his pink pajamas and though he was not accustomed to sleeping under the ground, the rabbit couch was so soft, and the night light so cheering, that he soon fell asleep and dreamed he was King of the Wood-Folk.
Jimmy arose from his couch much refreshed, and, dressing quickly, not forgetting to put a clean handkerchief into his pocket, he went up to breakfast. The bedrooms in a rabbit house are always downstairs, you know. He bowed politely to Mrs. Robin Rabbit, who was setting the table. "Well," said he, "I must now set off again upon my journey of adventures." It was only after much coaxing that they could get him to stay to breakfast. "Dear me! Dear me!" murmured Robin. "I had hoped to introduce you to the King. He holds court under the oak tree at 10. Couldn't you put off your journey that long?" Jimmy shook his head as he finished this coffee. "Take this to the King, with the compliments of Jimmy Abraham!" said he, and, reaching into his grip, took out another of his precious animal crackers. Robin promised that he would, and wrote Jimmy a leaf (the wood folk always write leaves instead of letters) to his friend, Stephen Squirrel, and with this, his good tin sword and grip Jimmy Abraham set out once more.
It was quite chilly in the woods, and Jimmy Abraham walked along briskly. He hoped to reach the house of Stephen Squirrel in time for luncheon. But suddenly he heard a noise that made his hair stand straight on end! "INDIANS!" gasped he; "Indians!" He had just time to jump behind a tree before at least 20 of them came rushing out.
"Dollamercies!" exclaimed Jimmy. No wonder! For by the hair those terrible Indians dragged the most beautifulest doll you ever saw! And while Jimmy looked on they tied her to a tree stump and danced around, brandishing their tomahawks. They were going to BURN HER AT THE STAKE! - that was clear. "What shall I do? What shall I do?" cried Jimmy Abraham, for brave as he was, he could not fight 20 Indians. Then all at once he remembered what Robin Rabbit had said of the King of the Woods holding court at 10 under the oak tree! He also remembered having passed the tree a few minutes before. "I'll tell the King!" choked Jimmy Abraham in a rage, and he set off on a run toward the oak tree, the terrible cries of the Indians ringing in his ears! Oh I hope he will get back in time, don't you?
"Help! HELP!" cried Jimmy Abraham, rushing through the circle of strange beasts gathered about the oak tree and knocking Hedwig Hedgehog flat upon her quills. "Help! HELP!" and down he fell upon his china nose at the feet of the King of the Woods.
Oh, what an excitement! "Throw him out!" "Eat him!" "Step on him!" "Skin him!" shouted the foxes and bears, the squirrels and hedgehogs, the rabbits and all the rest of them. "SILENCE!" thundered the King of the Woods, who was a huge bear, and everybody grew silent instanter. "Does anybody know this - er - thing - er - creature - who has rudely interrupted my speech?" he roared n a terrible voice. There was a slight rustle in the crowd, and Robin Rabbit stepped forward nervously, his hears twitching with terror. "Help!" cried Jimmy Abraham, still prone upon his face.
"Er - ah - uh - " stuttered Robin Rabbit hurriedly. "This, your Majesty, is Jimmy Abraham!" Immediately the manner of the bear changed. "Jimmy Abraham," said he in a pleased voice. "Didn't he send me that most toothsome cracker - that delightful animal cake?"
At this encouraging speech Jimmy jumped to his feet. "Yes, yes," he cried. "But oh, your Majesty, make haste! A band of ferocious Indians is burning the most beatifulest doll in the world at the stake. I beg, I entreat, I implore you to HURRY to her assistance!"
"What's this? What's this?" cried the King, his crown falling off with a clatter. "Burnings at the stake! I'll have no such outrages as this in MY woods! Come! COME! Everybody! And he dashed after Jimmy Abraham with the rest of the woodfolk at his heels.
Horrors! As they ran through the trees they saw that the wretched Indians ha already kindled the fire and were dancing wildly about the dol. With a mighty roar the bear king rushed upon them and scattered them left to right, while Jimmy plunged through the flames and dragged the doll to safety, severely scorching his hair. When the Indians had been chased off (and they just escaped being eaten I can tell you) the woodfolk set about restoring the poor dolly, who was quite overcome by her harrowing experience. Her head drooped sadly - her china eyes were tightly closed. "I tell you," said Robin Rabbit, after they had worked a while, "we must take her to Doctor Badger." So with Jimmy holding her by one arm and Robin by the other, and with the King and his court trailing behind, they set off to the badger's house.
"Bring her right in!" cried Doctor Badger, who had seen the procession advancing from his window. The badger's house was too small to accommodate the whole party, so the King and his court went off back to the oak tree to finish the trials of the day, while Jimmy and Robin carried the beautifulest dolly into the office. The doctor bustled over to his medicine closet and brought out a bottle of green fluid. I do not know what it was, but after three doses the dolly opened her eyes, and, with all of them listening breathlessly, told her story. Her name, she said, was Florabel Elizabeth, and she lived with her mistress in a white house on the edge of the wood. A few days ago her mistress had gone away on a visit, and while she was gone her brothers - her brothers and a band of wicked boys from the neighborhood - had dressed themselves as Indians, burst into the nursery and carried off Florabel Elizabeth to burn at the stake.
"The young rogues should be hung up by the ears!" cried Robin Rabbit, while Jimmy Abraham rattled his tin sword for very rage.
"And now," sighed Florabel Elizabeth as she finished her story, "I have no place to go!"
"I shall take care of you!" cried Jimmy Abraham valiantly.
"I'll tell you," put in Robin, scratching his ear, "both of you come along home with me, and then we can decide what's to be done." After much discussion they finally decided that this was the best plan. The doctor ordered his carriage, and I wish you could have seen them, Jimmy Abraham and Florabel Elizabeth, and Doctor Badger and Robin Rabbit, riding behind the doctor's team of hares. It was wonderful!
Well, what do you suppose? On that wonderful drive Jimmy Abraham asked Florabel Elizabeth a question - and she must have said yes - for no sooner had they come to Robin's house than Robin set out again and came hurrying back with - with PREACHER MOLE - Yessir! with Preacher Mole! Then Mrs. Rabbit all aflutter with excitement, somehow made a wedding cake, and with her ears flip flap flopping she ran to invite all the neighbors. And so they were married in Robin's front parlor and afterwards all the folks who live n the wood came and brought them gifts so that they had plenty of vases and things to go to housekeeping with. And they went to housekeeping RIGHT AWAY in a hollow tree and Jimmy Abraham became chief all powerful Minister of State in the Woods - and he never went back to the nursery again.
This is all of the story of Jimmy Abraham who set out upon his journey of adventures, except that he and Florabel Elizabeth lived happily ever afterward.
THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 25, 1918.
The Forgetful Poet
The heat gave the Forgetful Poet a terrible toothache and he says please to 'scuse him this week - he can't think of a single riddle.
Last week's answers were: First, thin; second, how; third, head; fourth, sinker.
There's a little red fire
In the pine tree's breast,
For a robin has snuggled
Down there to rest.
And the pine is so happy
It sways and swings,
While the little red robin bird
Sings and sings!
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