The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

The Complete Tribune Primer

Eugene Field, 1901

Selections (probably written 1881-83):


The Man has a Baby. The Baby is Three weeks
Old. Its Mamma Died two Years ago. Poor
little Baby! Do you not Feel Sorry for It?


The Mud is in the Street. The Lady has on a
pair of Red Stockings. She is Trying to Cross
the Street. Let us all give Three cheers for the


This is a gun. Is the Gun loaded? Really, I do
not know. Let us Find out. Put the Gun on
the table, and you, Susie, blow down one barrel,
while you, Charlie, blow down the other. Bang!
Yes, it was loaded. Run quick, Jennie, and pick up
Susie's head and Charlie's lower Jaw before the
Nasty Blood gets over the New carpet.


Oh, how nice and Black the Coal-Hod is! Run,
children, Run quick and put your Little Fat
hands in it. Mercy me, your Hands are as Black as
the Coal-Hod now! Hark! Mamma is Coming.
She will spank you when she Finds your Hands so
Dirty. Better go and Rub the Black Dirt off on
the Wall Paper before she Comes.


The Rat is Gnawing at the Baby's Ear. The
Baby is in the cradle, and is so Little it cannot
Help itself. Oh, how Piteously it is Crying! The
Rat does not care a Cent, and keeps Eating away at
the Baby's Ear. When it gets this Ear eaten off it
will Crawl over the Baby's neck and eat the other
Ear. Where is the Baby's Mamma? She is Down
in the Back Yard Talking over the fence to the
neighbors about her New Dress. You must Tell
your Mamma never to Leave you Alone in the
Cradle, or a Rat may Eat off your Poor little Ears.


The Cat is Asleep on the Rug. Step on her Tail
and See if she will Wake up. Oh, no; She will
not wake. She is a heavy Sleeper. Perhaps if you
Were to saw her Tail off with the Carving knife
you might Attract hr attention. Suppose you try.


Oh, what a Bad Mamma to Leave Little Esther
allAlone in the Dark Room. No wonder Es-
ther is Crying. She is afraid a Big Bugaboo will
come down the Chimney and Eat her up. Bugaboos
like to Eat little Children. Did you ever see a Buga-
boo with its Big Fire Eyes and Cold Teeth all over
Blood? The next Time Mamma leaves you Alone
in a Dark room, perhaps One will Come to Eat you.


The Well is very Dark and Deep. There is Nice
Cool Water in the Well. If you Lean way Over
the Side, maybe you will Fall in the Well and down
in the Dear Water. We will Give you some Candy
if you will Try. There is a Sweet Little Birdie in
the bottom of the Well. Your Mamma would be
Surprised to find you in the Well, would she not?


See the Wasp. He has pretty yellow Stripes
around his Body, and a Darning Needle in his
Tail. If you Will Pat the Wasp upon the Tail, we
will Give You a Nice Picture Book.


This is an Hired girl. She has Something in
her Hand. It is a Can, and there is Coal Oil
inside. The Hired Girl is going to Light a Fire in
the Kitchen Stove. She has been Disappointed in
Love, and Desires to Die. She will Put some of the
Pil in the Stove, and Light it with a Match. In
about half a Minute she will be Twanging a Gold
Harp among the Elect in Heaven.


Who is this Creature with Long Hair and a
Wild Eye? He is a poet. He writes Poems
on Spring and Women's Eyes and Strange, unreal
Things of that Kind. He is always Wishing he
was Dead, but he wouldn't Let anybody Kill him if
he could Get away. A mighty good Sausage
Stuffer was Spoiled when the Man became a Poet.
He would Look well Standing under a Descending
Pile Driver.


Here is a Sewing Machine. It was Made for
little Children to Play with. Put your Feet on
the Treadle and Make the Wheels go round Fast.
See how the Thread unwinds and the Needle bobs
up and down! This is Lots of Fun. Do not Deny
baby the privilege of Putting his Fat little Finger
under the Needle. It will Make pretty holes in the
Finger and give Baby something to occupy his At-
tention for a Long time.


Here lies the body of Mary Ann,
  Who rests in the bosom of Abraham.
It's all very nice for Mary Ann,
  But it's mighty tough on Abraham.


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