The She-Bear by Warwick Goble

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Grimm Tales Made Gay
by Guy Wetmore Carryl

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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.

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 conserva-
tive should be:
Speech is silver, and it never should be free!

Carryl, Guy Wetmore. Grimm Tales Made Gay. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1902.

Other humorous fairy tales available from

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

Fractured Fairy Tales by A. J. Jacobs



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