Today, we will talk about Bedtime Story Book. In it, there is a single charming story in verse called Cabbages and Peanuts. The book is unpaginated, but amounts to 44 pages. Published in 1930 by Saalfield Publishing Company in Akron, Ohio, it was written by Harriet Boyd in the USA. The front page has a name written in pen – Francis Kelley.
I did a little research, and from what I can tell this is in the public domain. It seems that there were 2 editions of this book, with different covers. One was titled Cabbages and Peanuts copyright 1929, and mine is Bedtime Story Book copyright 1930. This book is so great, and I decided to type it out for your reading pleasure. It’s such a charming little poem, and I love the way it is written. There are tons of pictures drawn by Fern Bisel Peat.
Cabbages and Peanuts
Now Uncle Jimmy Johnson carried peanuts in his pocket;
He snapped them and he cracked them and he ate them all the time
While he worked out in the garden, hoeing lettuce, beets and onions,
And weeding corn and cabbages till everything looked fine.
It happened that a hole grew in the corner of his pocket,
Uncle Jimmy kept on working and he never knew ’twas there,
But Sammy Peanut knew it, for he saw the light shine through it
And wished that he were outside in the sunshine bright and fair.
He wriggled and he jiggled all the peanuts in the pocket;
And the tiny hole grew longer and much wider all the while.
And before the peanuts knew it, little Sammy had slipped down through it
And lay upon the soft warm ground and smiled a happy smile.
He lay quite still and waited, Uncle Jimmy left the garden.
Then Sammy jumped up quickly and ran fast along the rows
Of onion tops that waved so high above him in the sunshine
With gentle swishy rustling sounds that everybody knows.
For Sammy had been thinking as he lay there in the garden,
And he had planned a clever house, as you will quickly see;
A cunning house, so round and green, with doors and windows in it,
Where he could be as happy as a peanut ought to be.
He found a nice round cabbage just beyond the row of onions,
And with a piece of shining tin cut out a tiny door;
Then he scooped out the cabbage heart and made a room inside it,
And cut some windows all around and leveled off the floor.
And when he paused to ponder just what he would add to make it
More cheerful and more homelike — it was very bare within–
Why, whom should he spy running down between the rows of onions
But pretty Sally Peanut with a dimple in her chin!
Dear little Sally Peanut was a roly-poly peanut
Who was always bright and happy, and she sang all through the day;
And when anyone was weary or the world seemed dark and dreary,
Sally’s merry laugh would always drive the bluest blues away.
When she saw Sammy Peanut standing smiling by his cottage,
She waved her hand and hurried down the rows of onions green.
“I followed you down through the hole!” she cried with trills of laughter;
“I cannot wait to tell you of the wonders I have seen!”
When Sammy showed his visitor the pretty cabbage cottage,
She clapped her hands delightedly, and nodded once or twice.
“It needs some rugs and furniture and curtains at the windows.
When that is done,” said Sally, “it will certainly be nice.”
They made a pretty carpet of the softest, greenest grasses,
The most attractive furniture of reeds and bits of string;
They stuffed the dainty cushions with the fluff from dandelions,
And when it was completed, it was fit for any king.
When at last the house was finished and the things were all within it,
They planted many flowers in the garden plot outside,
And made a fence around it and a pebble path up through it
To the little quaint veranda and the doorstep, low and wide.
While they were both out working in the pretty flower garden,
They saw a figure hurrying down the rows of waving corn.
It was Zachariah Peanut, and his thin long legs were flying,
And as usual he was looking most amazingly forlorn.
Now Zachariah Peanut was a long and crooked peanut;
He was full of bumps and hollows, and his legs were very thin,
And his face was always mournful, sort of squeezed and pinched and doleful,
And when he tried to smile at all, it always hurt his chin.
So Sally hurried through the gate to greet old Zachariah,
And took him fondly by the hand and led him down the row,
And told him he was welcome in their modest cabbage cottage,
That he must always stay there when he had no place to go.
Then happy Zachariah peered into the pretty cottage
And saw the roseleaf curtains and the grass rug on the floor,
The furniture all painted green with cushions soft upon it
And the little tinkling doorbell that was hanging on the door.
“You have a very charming home,” old Zachariah quavered,
And patted Sally’s shoulder with a sad and mournful smile;
“I really think that I shall build another one just like it
Where I can be real comfortable and happy for a while.”
So Zachariah looked around and found another cabbage
And made himself a cottage and a garden fine, as well;
And soon he had a pretty place as much like Sammy Peanut’s
As two small peas that shining lie together in their shell.
At last his house was finished and the three were looking at it,
Admiring all the flowers and the poppies, bright and red,
When whom should they see coming down the rows of waving carrots
But Aunt Matilda Peanut with her funny little head!
Dear Aunt Matilda Peanut was a strange-looking peanut,
For half of her was broad and plump, the other half was small;
But she was very wise and good, was Aunt Matilda Peanut,
And for happy Sam and Sally she’d do anything at all.
With laughter Sally Peanut ran to meet her Aunt Matilda,
And Sammy Peanut ran out too, and Zachariah tried
To smile and look his happiest for cheery Aunt Matilda,
And opened wide his snow-white gate and asked them all inside.
When Aunt Matilda saw the house and everything within it,
She threw her hands above her head and laughed until she cried.
“I never heard of such a thing!” she told them, chuckling softly;
“I want another like it with a doorway big and wide.”
The others all agreed to make a home for Aunt Matilda
And it really was not very long until they had it done.
And then there were three cabbage homes in Uncle Jimmy’s garden,
Three quaint and charming cottages which stood there in the sun.
The cabbage village swiftly grew as all the other peanuts
Came running, one by one, down through the shady garden rows.
They heard dear Sally laughing as she worked out in her garden
And found her sprinkling pansies with a little rubber hose.
The peanuts were delighted when they saw the pretty places,
And each one quickly went to work and built himself a home,
For the evening dew was falling and the cold north wind was blowing,
Making it a trifle chilly for small peanut folk to roam.
In one long row their houses stood, all facing one another.
Each had a garden out in front, a picket fence between.
And when the street was leveled off and covered well with pebbles,
It really was the most amazing village ever seen.
When all the homes were finished, Sammy Peanut gave a party
Within his pretty cottage at the end of Cabbage Street.
The refreshments were delicious, thanks to Sally and Matilda,
And the jolly peanut people found their happiness complete.
That evening when the harvest moon climbed up above the orchard,
The most profound astonishment was pictured on his face,
And he began to chuckle as he looked down on the garden
And saw the cabbage village there on Uncle Jimmy’s place.
Next morning Uncle Jimmy wandered out to view his garden
And weed and hoe a little, though the things were wet with dew;
And after strolling slowly through the rows of beets and onions,
At last he reached the corner where the corn and cabbage grew.
He rubbed his eyes and blinked them when he saw the cabbage village
With two trim rows of cottages along the narrow street,
And smoke curls winding slowly up from all the little chimneys,
And all the pretty gardens with their picket fences neat!
Then Uncle Jimmy Johnson thought that he must still be dreaming!
It seemed to him most certain he was walking in his sleep,
For the scene there in his garden was the stuff that dreams are made of —
Those weird and queer and crazy dreams that come in slumber deep.
But just then Sammy Peanut wandered out into his garden
And called to Aunt Matilda who lived just across the way,
And Uncle Jimmy heard him shout and knew he was not dreaming,
For dreams are not as plain as that, no matter what they say.
Dear Uncle Jimmy scratched his head; then he began to chuckle
And leaned upon his shining hoe and laughed until he cried;
Then all the neighbors hurried up to find out what the joke was
And frightened all the peanuts so they quickly ran inside.
Now Uncle Jimmy Johnson was both very wise and clever,
And as he stood there laughing loud, he had a bright idea!
He built a high board fence around his little peanut village
And charged ten cents to see it, and grew rich in just a year!
There is something in the storytelling that seems so real, like a true story. People act the way they would really act, and it gives it a very relatable touch when the storyteller says ‘With gentle swishy rustling sounds that everybody knows’ and For dreams are not as plain as that, no matter what they say’. I love the beat of the story, no forced rhymes or unbalanced beats in this one! The more times I read it, the more I catch something I didn’t before, which makes me love it that much more!
Tell us what you think of this poem. Have you heard it before? Comments!