Nine Little Goblins

Written Text

They all climbed up on a high board-fence—

Nine little Goblins, with green-glass eyes—

Nine little Goblins that had no sense,

And couldn’t tell coppers from cold mince pies;

And they all climbed up on the fence, and sat—

And I asked them what they were staring at.

And the first one said, as he scratched his head

With a queer little arm that reached out of his ear

And rasped its claws in his hair so red—

‘This is what this little arm is fer!’

And he scratched and stared, and the next one said,

‘How on earth do you scratch your head?’

And he laughed like the screech of a rusty hinge—

Laughed and laughed till his face grew black;

And when he choked, with a final twinge

Of his stifling laughter, he thumped his back

With a fist that grew on the end of his tail

Till the breath came back to his lips so pale.

And the third little Goblin leered round at me—

And there were no lids on his eyes at all—

And he clucked one eye, and he says, says he,

‘What is the style of your socks this fall?’

And he clapped his heels—and I sighed to see

That he had hands where his feet should be.

Then a bald-faced Goblin, gray and grim,Bowed his head, and I saw him slip

His eyebrows off, as I looked at him,

And paste them over his upper lip;

And then he moaned in remorseful pain—

‘Would—Ah, would I’d me brows again!’

And then the whole of the Goblin band

Rocked on the fence-top to and fro,

And clung, in a long row, hand in hand,

Singing the songs that they used to know—

Singing the songs that their grandsires sung

In the goo-goo days of the Goblin-tongue.

And ever they kept their green-glass eyes

Fixed on me with a stony stare—

Till my own grew glazed with a dread surmise,

And my hat whooped up on my lifted hair,

And I felt the heart in my breast snap to

As you’ve heard the lid of a snuff-box do.

And they sang ‘You’re asleep! There is no board-fence,

And never a Goblin with green-glass eyes!—

‘Tis only a vision the mind invents

After a supper of cold mince-pies,—

And you’re doomed to dream this way,’ they said,—

‘And you sha’n’t wake up till you’re clean plum dead!’

“Little Orphan Annie”

Little Orphan 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




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




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




An’ little Orphan 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 Orphan’s tear,

An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,

Er the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you

Ef you