Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Countdown To Halloween Day 13



I'm not exactly sure where my fetish for all things weird and spooky came from, but since she isn't here to defend herself, let's blame it on my mother, the 9th Grade English teacher, who used to read me things like this before bedtime...

...then turn out the lights and close the door.

LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE
by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) 

INSCRIBED WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION
To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.


LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!



4 comments:

Cynthia said...

hahaha.... My grandma loved James Whitcomb Riley. I love the old, non-sanitized tales for children, ones that retain an element of fear and drama... And this even has an out... as long as you're PERFECT ALL THE TIME. 0:)

G. W. Ferguson said...

So true!

My childhood nightmares often revolved around things from this poem: going up to bed and just... disappearing and finding myself flanked by two Black Things.

This is STILL scary stuff!

JSaM said...

I think there is something inherently frightening about deep dark things coming out of an innocent's mouth, kind of a sense that behind the innocence is something evil, let's call it the "Omen Effect". While reading the poem I flashed on Saki's "The Open Window". And while I'm here, rent Dark Castle's recent DVD "The Orphan". Good horror is still being made!

G. W. Ferguson said...

JSam: see also "The Professor's teddy Bear" by Theodore "90% of everything is crap!" Sturgeon.