Artful Anticks

Artful Anticks
Title: Artful Anticks
Release Date: 2018-06-14
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 97
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Artful Anticks


Artful Anticks
Oliver Herford

New York
The Century Co.

Copyright, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894,
By The Century Co.
Copyright, 1894, by Oliver Herford.

The De Vinne Press.

Table of Contents.

The Audacious Kitten 1
The Artful Ant 4
The Gifted Ant 10
Sir Rat. A Comedy 16
The Deceitful Dormice 22
Nature and Art 24
The Geometrical Giraffe 25
The Early Owl 32
A Dark Career 35
A Packet of Letters 37
The Naughty Fay 43
The Miller’s Quest 46
Nell’s Fairy Tale 50
The Unfortunate Giraffe 52
Stockings or Scales 53
A Riddle 54
Good-bye 56
The Professor and the White Violet 58
The First Rose of Summer 60x
The Elf and the Dormouse 62
The Crocodile 64
The Forgetful Forget-Me-Not 69
The Birds’ Farewell 72
The Spider’s Tale 73
Highly Connected 78
The Miser Elf 79
The Point of View 84
Heroes 88
A Belated Violet 89
The Parrot and the Cuckoo 92
The Elf and the Bee 96
A Fable 97
The Fairies’ Concert 98

The pictures in “The Point of View” are used by permission of Messrs. Harper and Brothers.



Artful Anticks


TheAudacious Kitten.

“Hurray!” cried the kitten, “Hurray!”
As he merrily set the sails;
“I sail o’er the ocean to-day
To look at the Prince of Wales!”
“O kitten! O kitten!” I cried,
“Why tempt the angry gales?”
“I’m going,” the kitten replied,
“To look at the Prince of Wales!
“I know what it is to get wet,
I’ve tumbled full oft into pails
And nearly been drowned—and yet
I must look at the Prince of Wales!”
“O kitten!” I cried, “the Deep
Is deeper than many pails!”
Said the kitten,“I shall not sleep
Till I’ve looked at the Prince of Wales!”
“O kitten! pause at the brink,
And think of the sad sea tales.”
“Ah, yes,” said the kitten, “but think,
Oh, think of the Prince of Wales!”


“But, kitten!” I cried, dismayed,
“If you live through the angry gales
You know you will be afraid
To look at the Prince of Wales!”
Said the kitten, “No such thing!
Why should he make me wince?
If ‘a Cat may look at a King,’
A kitten may look at a Prince!”


The Artful Ant.

Once on a time an artful Ant
Resolved to give a ball,
For tho’ in stature she was scant,
She was not what you’d call
A shy or bashful little Ant.
(She was not shy at all.)
She sent her invitations through
The forest far and wide,
To all the Birds and Beasts she knew,
And many more beside.
(“You never know what you can do,”
Said she, “until you’ve tried.”)
Five score acceptances came in
Faster than she could read.
Said she: “Dear me! I’d best begin
To stir myself indeed!”
(A pretty pickle she was in,
With five-score guests to feed!)


The artful Ant sat up all night,
A-thinking o’er and o’er,
How she could make from nothing, quite
Enough to feed five-score.
(Between ourselves I think she might
Have thought of that before.)
She thought, and thought, and thought all night,
And all the following day,
Till suddenly she struck a bright
Idea, which was—(but stay!
Just what it was I am not quite
At liberty to say.)


Enough, that when the festal day
Came round, the Ant was seen
To smile in a peculiar way,
As if—(but you may glean
From seeing tragic actors play
The kind of smile I mean.)
From here and there and everywhere
The happy creatures came,
The Fish alone could not be there.
(And they were not to blame.
“They really could not stand the air,
But thanked her just the same.”)


The Lion, bowing very low,
Said to the Ant: “I ne’er
Since Noah’s Ark remember so
Delightful an affair.”
(A pretty compliment, although
He really wasn’t there.)
They danced, and danced, and danced, and danced;
It was a jolly sight!
They pranced, and pranced, and pranced, and pranced,
Till it was nearly light!
And then their thoughts to supper chanced
To turn. (As well they might!)
Then said the Ant: “It’s only right
That supper should begin,
And if you will be so polite,
Pray take each other in.”
(The emphasis was very slight,
But rested on “Take in.”)
They needed not a second call,
They took the hint. Oh, yes,
The largest guest “took in” the small,
The small “took in” the less,
The less “took in” the least of all.
(It was a great success!)

As for the rest—but why spin out
This narrative of woe?—
The Lion took them in about
As fast as they could go.
(And went home looking very stout,
And walking very slow.)
And when the Ant, not long ago,
Lost to all sense of shame,
Tried it again, I chance to know
That not one answer came.
(Save from the Fish, who “could not go,
But thanked her all the same.”)


The Gifted Ant.

A gifted ant, who could no more
Than keep starvation from her door,
Once cast about that she might find
An occupation to her mind.
An ant with active hands and feet
Can, as a rule, make both ends meet.
Unhappily, this was not quite
The case with her of whom I write.

“Since I am gifted,” she’d explain,
“I ought to exercise my brain.
The only thing for me, it’s clear,
Is a professional career!”


But no profession could she find,
Until one day there crossed her mind
The proverb bidding sluggards gaze
Upon the ant to learn her ways.
“The very thing!” she cried. “Hurray!
I’ll advertise without delay.
Things are come to a pretty pass,
If I can’t teach a sluggard class!”
She set to work without delay,
And wrote some cards that very day;
And hung them in the grass—a plan
To catch the sluggard’s eye. They ran

As follows:

Sluggards who desire
An education to acquire
Will find it well to call to-day
Upon Professor Ant, B. A.
Her Sluggard Class, she begs to state,
Reopens at an early date
With several vacancies—a chance
Terms—In Advance.


To The Ant

She placed at every turn that led
To her abode, a sign which read,
“Go to the Ant,” and hung beside
Her picture, highly magnified.
Said she, “At least that cannot fail
To bring a Turtle, Sloth, or Snail,
A Dormouse, or a Boy, to learn
Their livelihood (and mine) to earn!
“I’ll teach them, first of all, to see
The joyousness of industry;
And they, to grasp my meaning more,
Shall gather in my winter store.
“The Beauty of Abstemiousness
I’ll next endeavor to impress
Upon their minds at meals. (N. B.
That is—if they should board with me.)

“Then Architecture they shall try
(My present house is far from dry)—
In short, all Honest Toil I’ll teach
(And they shall practise what I preach).”


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