When I was wee, and the world a mystery, much more was possible than is today.
Santa, tooth fairy, Easter bunny – these are just a few examples of what was true then for me but is not now, not to mention pusses in boots and moon-jumping cows!
Animals could talk, and so could things like plates and clocks.
I remember a poem which my mother loved to quote, about a dog and a cat who got into a fight.
Now you might wonder, and I wouldn’t blame you, “What’s so amazing about a dog-cat fight?”
Well, I’ll tell you: see, the dog ate the cat up and the cat ate the dog up, or so said at least the clock and the plate!
by Eugene Field
- The gingham dog and the calico cat
- Side by side on the table sat;
- ‘Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
- Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!
- The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
- Appeared to know as sure as fate
- There was going to be a terrible spat.
- (I wasn’t there; I simply state
- What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
- The gingham dog went “bow-wow-wow!”
- And the calico cat replied “mee-ow!”
- The air was littered, an hour or so,
- With bits of gingham and calico,
- While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
- Up with its hands before its face,
- For it always dreaded a family row!
- (Never mind: I’m only telling you
- What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
- The Chinese plate looked very blue,
- And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
- But the gingham dog and calico cat
- Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
- Employing every tooth and claw
- In the awfullest way you ever saw-
- And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
- (Don’t fancy I exaggerate-
- I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
- Next morning where the two had sat
- They found no trace of the dog or cat;
- And some folks think unto this day
- That burglars stole that pair away!
- But the truth about the cat and pup
- Is this: they ate each other up!
- Now what do you really think of that!
- (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
- And that is how I came to know.)