“One of our favorite children’s poems, most certainly meant to be read aloud.”
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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 children, 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!
Mary Alice “Allie” Smith was James Whitcomb Riley’s inspiration for the above poem originally titled ‘The Elf Child,’ first published in the Indianapolis Journal in November of 1885. Riley was an American writer, poet, and best selling author born in Greenfield, Indiana in 1849. He died in Indianapolis in 1916. He was known as the “Hoosier Poet” and “Children’s Poet” for his dialect works and his children’s poetry respectively. (Wikipedia)