Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
The Elf Child
By James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916)
 
[The Boss Girl, and Other Sketches. 1886.]

LITTLE Orphant Allie’s come to our house to stay
An’ wash the cups and saucers up, and 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,        5
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
A-list’nin’ to the witch tales ’at Allie tells about,
An’ the gobble-uns ’at gits you
                    Ef you
                        Don’t        10
                            Watch
                                Out!
 
Onc’t they was a little boy wouldn’t say his pray’rs—
An’ when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,
His mammy heerd him holler, an’ his daddy heerd him bawl,        15
An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he wasn’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 was thist his pants an’ roundabout!
An’ the gobble-uns ’ll git you        20
                    Ef you
                        Don’t
                            Watch
                                Out!
 
An’ one time a little girl ’ud allus laugh an’ grin,        25
An’ make fun of ever’ one an’ all her blood-an’-kin,
An’ onc’t when they was “company,” an’ ole folks was 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 was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,        30
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        35
                                Out!
 
An’ little Orphant Allie says, when the blaze is blue,
An’ the lampwick 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,—        40
You better mind yer parents, and yer teachers fond and dear,
An’ churish ’em ’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        45
                        Don’t
                            Watch
                                Out!
 
 
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