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The Magic Makers and the Bramble Bush Man

The Magic Makers and the Bramble Bush Man
Title: The Magic Makers and the Bramble Bush Man
Release Date: 2019-01-06
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 60
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With Pictures by


Copyright, 1936, by

All Rights Reserved

Printed in the United States of America

Gilly Gilly Galoo-ooI Wonder Who are You-oo!
Gilly Gilly Galoo-oo
I Wonder Who are You-oo!

To Peggy-Muffins,
the little artist in
our family



Madeline Moffet stood on the corner beside the big signthat said USE DRAGON MOTOR OIL. She liked to think ofthe sign as a warning, BEWARE OF DRAGONS and the dragonsas Mr. and Mrs. Lippett who lived in the farm house besidethe sign. Muffs boarded with them. She had been told to goout and play but there was no one to play with except the chickens.They made little friendly noises and tilted their heads.

“Talk! Talk!” they said and flocked after her.

Muffs wanted to talk with somebody. The dragons hadan idea that children should be seen and not heard and so shehad kept everything she wanted to say all bottled up insideherself. She thought the chickens felt differently about it untilshe tried to catch one. Its squawking frightened her and shedropped all of it but one long tail feather which came out andwas left waving in her hand.

“I’ll make b’lieve I’m an Indian,” she said to herself andstuck the feather in her yellow hair.

Indians were supposed to follow trails. Muffs looked upthe big road with its little stores and shops and farm housesscattered in between and decided at once that wouldn’t do fora trail. Then she looked down the little road that went through4the woods to the house where the Tylers lived. Overhangingtrees made it seem like a long tunnel. It reminded her of thesubway and shopping trips at home with her mother. Shewalked slowly, thinking of her mother and their little apartmentin New York. They called it “the studio” and it was a tiny placewith paintings hanging all about and Muffs’ own little bed hiddenbehind a green and gold screen. Last night her bed hadbeen hidden behind a curtain on the train. The curtain wasgreen, like those overhanging trees. Suddenly Muffs began tofeel very sad and homesick. Then she heard something. Itwas the strangest sort of thing she had ever heard:

Gilly gilly galoo-oo,
I wonder who are you-oo!

It sounded like a song and it came from a tree almost aboveher head. She looked up. There, in the branches of the tree,was a little boy about her own age. He was looking down ather with a friendly sort of grin as he kept on chanting the song.

“I wonder who you are too-oo!” Muffs sang back to him.

“I’m a great discoverer,” he said, sliding out of the tree andleaning against its trunk. “My name’s Tommy Tyler.”

“And I’m Miss Muffet. I’m staying with the dragons wholive at the end of this road. Didn’t you see the big sign, BEWAREOF DRAGONS? That means Mr. and Mrs. Lippett.”

“I live at the other end,” said Tommy, “with Mom andDaddy and Great Aunt Charlotte and Donald and Mary and thebaby.”

“My! What a lot of people!” Muffs exclaimed. “In myfamily there’s only Mother and me. Daddy went off and left5us when I was just three years old. I touched some of his thingsand he went to the ends of the earth because there aren’t anychildren there.”

“Did he say that?” questioned Tommy, coming closer toMuffs. He liked this strange little girl from somewhere else.She was so different from his sister, Mary, and all the childrenhe knew at school.

“I don’t exactly remember what he said,” Muffs admitted,“but I do know he stomped out of the room and pushed theelevator button so hard he caught his finger——”

“What’s an alligator button?”

Elevator button,” said Muffs. “It’s to call the elevators.In New York you go up and down in elevators like little movinghouses. The stairs go up and down sometimes too and the subwaysgo right under the river.”

“Ooo! Don’t you get all wet?”

Muffs laughed. “’Course not. It’s a tunnel. It goesunder where the water is.”

“I’ve got a tunnel,” Tommy said importantly. “I discoveredit. It goes under the floor in the workshop.”

Now it was Muffs’ turn to question and Tommy’s to answer.

“Can you go in it?”

“Yes, but you have to crawl and you’re all dressed up.I made a house in there for the Gilly Galoo Bird and ThomasJunior. They like it but you wouldn’t. The dust makes yousneeze.”

“Don’t the Gilly Galoo Bird and Thomas Junior sneeze?”

“Thomas Junior’s too busy catching rats and the GillyGaloo Bird can’t sneeze ’’cause he’s made of iron. He’s a magic6bird and lives in Daddy’s carpenter shop. Want to see him?”

Muffs did want to see him. The carpenter shop soundedas new and strange to her as her elevators and subways did toTommy. Each felt that the other was a little unreal. Afraid totake each other’s hands, they started up the road side by side.A big black cat darted out from somewhere in the bushes andbegan following them.

“That’s Thomas Junior,” Tommy explained. “He likesto go places with me ’cause I’m his master. There’s the house,”he added, pointing to it as they turned the bend in the road.

Muffs saw two houses, like twin shadows, against the whitesky. A walk connected them and at the far end of the walkon a little flight of steps, sat a girl whom she knew must be Mary.She was rocking a baby carriage gently back and forth and singinga lullaby that fitted the tune of Rock-a-bye Baby, and wentlike this:

Go to sleep, baby. You are so dear.
Go to sleep, baby. Sister is near.
Go to sleep, baby. Mother will come.
Go to sleep, baby and sister will hum
Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm ...

But while she was humming, Tommy and Muffs came intothe wood yard.

“It’s plain as plain,” Tommy announced. “We’re not realpeople at all. Ellen is the baby in the tree-top, I’m TommyTucker and you’re the contrary Mary who had the garden. Andthis,” he added, making a low bow and waving one hand towardMuffs, “is little Miss Muffet who sat on a tuffet only she’s frightenedaway by dragons instead of spiders.”

7Mary stopped humming and looked up in surprise.

“Is your real name Little Miss Muffet?” she asked.

“It’s Madeline Moffet,” the little girl explained, “butMother’s name is Madeline too so people call me Miss Muffetor Muffins or just plain Muffs.”

“She’s from New York,” said Tommy. “She rides inalligators under the river. I wanted to show her Balo.”

“What’s Balo?” asked Muffs.

“It’s what I call the workshop when I’m playing,” Tommyexplained. “All of Daddy’s tools come to life and talk andwalk an’ everything. The hammer is a snake, the monkeywrench a gilly galoo bird and Daddy’s old broom is a tailor witha funny face.”

“Are they alive now?” asked Muffs as she stood on tiptoeand peered into the shop window.

“No, because we’re not playing Balo. We’re being make-believepeople out of books.”

“I’m being myself,” said Mary, “and I don’t want to play.”

“You are playing! You are playing!” Muffs and Tommyboth shouted. “You’re being contrary and that makes youContrary Mary.”

“I am not contrary and you don’t sing for your suppereither, Tommy Tyler, because you can’t carry a tune.”

“I can sing-song,” said Tommy, “and it sounds magic.Muffs can sing-song too because she sing-songed back at me whenI was calling gilly-galoo out of the tree. That makes us notreal and everything we do all day MAGIC.”

“What’s that feather in your hair?” asked Mary eyeing thenew girl doubtfully.

“I was playing Indian,” Muffs explained. “I was followinga trail.”

“It was just our road,” Tommy put in. “That’s too widefor a trail. But I know where there’s a real trail we could follow.It’s somewhere over in those woods.” He pointed to thehillside beyond the apple orchard. “Remember, Mary, westarted to follow it once——”

“Oh, yes!” Mary exclaimed. “I remember. But it’s along trail. It would take all day.”

“We could pack some lunch,” Tommy suggested.

“I’ll go in and pack some now!”

So Mary, as eager for a picnic as the two younger children,wheeled the baby around to the front porch and left GreatAunt Charlotte minding her. Then she ran into the kitchenand asked Mrs. Tyler if she might have a basket. Together9they filled it with bread and cookies as well as a big jar of strawberryjam.

“Here we are,” said Mary, opening the kitchen door andrunning along the narrow walk that the children had namedthe Way of Peril. She jumped over the One Way Steps andalmost spilled the basket. “Here we are! All ready to starton the expedition.”

Tommy had whittled out a whistle from an elderberrybranch while she was packing the lunch.

“I’ll be the leader!” he cried, blowing the whistle.

“No, I will,” cried contrary Mary.

“But I thought of it,” Tommy insisted. “I should be theleader.”

“No, I should!”

It began to sound like a quarrel and, as the day was muchtoo fine for quarreling, Muffs sat down on the One Way Stepsto think of a way out. It had been a quarrel that had sent herfather to the ends of the earth and she didn’t want anythingto spoil this expedition.

“I’ll tell you what,” she exclaimed. “We’re supposed tobe story book people so let’s all say Mother Goose rhymes andthe one who thinks of the most can take the lead.”

Mary and Tommy looked at each other doubtfully, butboth of them loved a game and so it was agreed that they shouldbegin by saying the rhymes that fitted their own names. Moreand more followed until Mary could not think of another oneand had to drop out. Tommy thought of three rhymes afterthat but Muffs knew at least a dozen more.

“I’ll say a beautiful one this time,” she said with a toss ofher yellow curls.

10“No, an ugly one,” said contrary Mary.

“I like the funny ones best,” declared Tommy. “Thenwe could start off laughing.”

Miss Muffet scratched her curly head a minute and thenher eyes began to dance as they always did whenever she thoughtof something clever.

“I’ll tell you what,” she cried. “I’ll say a rhyme that’sthe prettiest and the ugliest and the funniest all together!”

“You couldn’t!”

“Oh, yes, I could,” and to prove it she began reciting:

There was a man in our town and he was wondrous wise.
He jumped into a bramble bush and scratched out both his eyes.
Then when he saw his eyes were out, with all his might and main
He jumped into another bush and scratched them in again.

“What’s beautiful about that?” asked Mary when she hadfinished.

“The two words ‘wondrous wise’,” she replied. “And theugly part is where he scratched his eyes out and the funny partis where he scratched them in again.”

“Yes,” said Tommy thoughtfully. “There can be a realMiss Muffet and a real Tommy Tucker and a real ContraryMary, but there couldn’t be a really-and-truly Bramble BushMan.”

“I think there could,” said contrary Mary. “Let’s playhe lives at the end of the trail.”

“Oh, let’s!” cried Muffs, clapping her hands. “Won’t itbe the most fun? Only I can’t be the leader,” she added aminute afterwards, “’cause I don’t know the way.”

“We’ll get you a Guide then. Here’s a hat for him,”11said Tommy handing her his own tall straw hat. Muffs stuckher feather in to make the Guide look more like an Indian.

“But where is the Guide?” she asked presently.

Mary pointed to a clump of bushes where Tommy wasbusily whittling away at something.

“I think he’s making him,” she whispered.


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