I wasn’t there; I simply state what was told to me by the Chinese plate!

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!

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The Duel 

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.)
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