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Little Orphant Annie
by
James Whitcomb Riley


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INSCRIBED WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION
To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

       
      Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
      An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' 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 childern, when the supper-things is done,
      We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
      A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
      An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
      Ef you
      Don't
      Watch
      Out!
       
      Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
      An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
      His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
      An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn'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 wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
      An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
      Ef you
      Don't
      Watch
      Out!
       
      An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
      An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
      An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz 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 wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
      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
      Out!
       
      An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
      An' the lamp-wick 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,--
      You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
      An' churish them '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
      Don't
      Watch
      Out! 

      This poem is in the public domain.
Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

James Whitcomb Riley (1849 - 1916) was an American poet best known for his children's poems and dialect-based verses. James was born in Greenfield, Indiana, and later moved to Indianapolis; homes in both cities are preserved and open to the public today. James was hugely popular during his lifetime. A bestselling author who traveled the country speaking to sell-out crowds, he never married or had children of his own, but he loved children and they loved him back. When he died, more than 35,000 people came to pay their respects as James lay in state under the Indiana capitol dome.  This poem, along with "Raggedy Man," was the inspiration for the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and stories created by Johnny Gruelle, who was one of James' neighbors. "Little Orphant Annie" was based on a real person--Mary Alice Gray--an orphan who was brought to the Riley home when she was ten years old to work as a domestic.

 


New comments are closed for now.
paradea:
I love this!!
Posted 10/31/2014 09:20 AM
Linda B:
I just shared this last week on my blog, a very favorite because my grandparent used to read it to me when I was little. It's just wonderful!
Posted 10/30/2014 11:30 PM


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