The Two Sillies and Other Stories
First edition: 1937
Publisher: W. & A.K. Johnston
Category: Old Thatch Series
Type: Short Story Series Books
Publisher: W. & A.K. Johnston
Category: Old Thatch Series
Type: Short Story Series Books
On This Page...
- The Two Sillies
Story: Teachers World No.1470 Jul 29, 1931
- The Cold, Cold Nose
Story: Teachers World No.1594 Dec 13, 1933
- Mr. Waddle's Tables
Story: Teachers World No.1601 Jan 31, 1934
- The Great Big Bone
Story: Teachers World No.1606 Mar 7, 1934
- The Eel in the Pond
Story: Teachers World No.1590 Nov 15, 1933
- The Little Penny Purse
Story: Teachers World No.1443 Jan 21, 1931
- The Lambikin in the Drumikin
Story: Teachers World No.1439 Dec 24, 1930
- The Parcel in the Road
Story: Teachers World No.1477 Sep 16, 1931
- A Christmas Story
Story: Teachers World No.1386 Dec 18, 1929
The man thinks to himself,
"Why didn't I buy a goose because if I had, my wife could have used its feathers for a nice new pillow?"
He asks the woman if a swap could be made and she agrees because in her eyes it sounds like a bargain; so the man now continues on his way with a goose. Soon he spots a boy with a small puppy in tow. A goose for a puppy ... how does that sound? After all it would soon become a dog and could guard his wife when he's not around.
A deal is struck and one happy boy takes possession of the goose. The man (no name given) moves on and soon he spies a drummer, whereupon another swap is made - and then another, which proves the silliness of the chap. He returns home with his latest swap, and then we learn something about his wife.
She's just as silly as he is!
The Cold, Cold Nose
Don't know all that much about Sandy, but 'Bobs' belonged to Enid Blyton and one night when he and Sandy are in their kennel, Pat the cat creeps in to snuggle up between Bobs' front paws because the night is very cold indeed. When Bobs' cold nose is felt against her neck Pat asks,
"Why have you such a cold nose?"
Bobs offers to tell her all about it and Sandy's all for it as well because he loves a good tale. So ... we're treated to a journey way back in time to the period when a great flood descended upon our Earth. The wrath of God was about to cause torrents of rain and one particular family headed by a man called Noah set about building an enormous boat with which to preserve his family's lives as well as those of representative animals. A male and female of every creature was prodded onto this enormous 'Ark' as it was called and then Noah set sail in the blinding deluge that descended.
Somehow, the livestock settled down and were well cared for by Noah and his wife during that fateful period in our history. All canines are of course watch-dogs, which meant that security was left to the two dogs and before retiring each night they'd patrol the length and breadth of the Ark, sniffing round to check that's nothing untoward was occurring. One night an unfortunate emergency transpired and the dog who discovered it had only one course of action because everyone else was asleep, including his mate.
Returning from those days to the present time, Sandy and Pat now learn the reason for dogs' cold noses, although we ourselves should be able to make an educated guess as to the cause.
A very educated guess.
Mr. Waddle's Tables
Mr. Waddle never attended school so he's very bad at arithmetic although he's able to read and write. He has a little grounding where sums are involved and can add two and one together, and two and two, although two and three is a little past his capabilities.
One day the 'hero' of this story decides to open a greengrocer's shop but his pal Mr. Bo thinks he's not up to it, taking into consideration Mr. Waddle's lack of knowledge pertaining to the mathematical arts. Imagine selling three pounds of apples at fourpence a pound! You and I wouldn't hesitate to charge one shilling but how could Mr. Waddle manage to work it out? Mr. Bo suggests he needs a knowledge of tables.
Mr. Waddle answers his friend's suggestion by telling him that he could learn his tables in ten minutes ... and he won't even need a book. Mr. Bo doesn't believe this claim but he tells Waddle to visit him that evening and recite what he's learnt. Learning tables in ten minutes would be a fairly difficult thing to do but maybe our author knows of a way that it can be done, after all she was a teacher.
When Mr. Waddle returns home his actions are, to say the least, curious! This is what happens: he enters every room of his house, looks carefully around whilst saying something under his breath, and then he goes to his rocking chair in the kitchen and reclines whilst repeating whatever he has to remember, over and over with his eyes closed.
Incredibly, he then gets up and says:
"There! I know all my tables."
At this point there comes a possible inkling as to what's taken place in Mr. Waddle's mind but now it's now time for him to display his acquired knowledge to Mr. Bo, so off he goes. As Enid Blyton might say,
"Did you work out how he learnt his tables boys and girls?"
The Great Big Bone
A starling flying by spots a bone that's been thrown into a field by some unnamed person. The bird flies down and commences to enjoy a feast of meat and marrow but, as often happens when a creature finds food, others rush up to get their share. In this case it's a couple more starlings who begin fighting for their share to the chagrin of bird Number One who thinks he should have the bone to himself. The commotion then attracts a flock of the critters and in no time at all the scene resembles that which often occurs in the Serengeti when vultures fly down to feast on a predator's kill.
One enormous battle!
Sandy makes an appearance once again in this tale and whilst wandering down a nearby lane he becomes aware of the fracas and runs to investigate. The starlings, knowing Sandy, ask him to be the judge as to who should have the bone. Right at this spot, those of us who've read a dozen or more Enid Blyton books can begin calculating the pros and cons of what happens next.
Sandy is happy to oblige the starlings with his judging abilities and he makes an order.
"Go to the other end of the field and close your eyes. Count one hundred, then fly back, and whoever finds the bone first may have it all to themselves."
Yes ... well!
The Eel In The Pond
'Gotham' is a name to conjure with but the Gotham in this tale is a place where the peoples' larders are full of herrings and sprats. That enigmatic remark can be qualified by the fact that fish is cheap, but there comes a time when the inhabitants of Gotham become a little sick of piscine fodder. They confer and decide to preserve what fish they have until the wintertime when food is scarcer, so a decision is made to throw their fish into the village pond where it can grow big and multiply. This seems an excellent idea and all the fish is collected from various larders before being cast into the water - there to reside until winter arrives.
In the passage of time, the men of Gotham remember their fish and sally forth to catch it for their dinners. A good hour or more is spent swishing their nets around in the pond but not a fish do they catch and the villagers become very angry. After poking around some more they haul up an enormous eel and this discovery throws them into a rage because the creature has obviously consumed all of their fish.
Punishment is called for and the one decided upon sounds very appropriate indeed.
The Little Penny Purse
For a birthday present Ann's grandmother has given her a lovely set of doll's clothes. This is the only gift Ann receives for the big day because her father's out of work which means Mummy hasn't any spare pennies for birthday fare. Ann who's been visiting her Granny, departs from her house and skips through the woods thinking how grand her doll will look in its new clothes.
Passing through the trees she becomes aware of a queer noise sounding as if someone is crying in a small voice, and then Anna sees where it's coming from. She confronts a small shivering pixie looking up at her and it's no wonder the creature is sobbing - all she's wearing is a dress that seems to be made of cobwebs. Putting two and two together we can guess that Ann offers to donate her newly acquired doll's clothing to the unfortunate creature and she's very happy to see the pixie's eyes light up with glee when given the tunic, coat, gaiters, and a woolly cap. The little sprite skips about joyfully.
"I'm warm, warm, warm, and I look lovely, lovely, lovely! What can I possibly give you in return?"
What can she give Ann indeed? The story title is of course a good hint, but the question arises: What's the use of a purse that contains just one penny, and can hold only one at a time?
Somewhere, there has to be magic involved.
The Lambikin In The Drumikin
The word 'Lambikin' had to be looked up but it's not in the dictionary although 'lambkin' is of course. Perhaps Enid Blyton spelt it the other way or maybe 'Lambikin's an obscure version, but it doesn't matter because there's definitely a lamb in this tale and also a 'drumikin.' That word doesn't seem to be in the dictionary either, nor is 'drumkin' so are we off to a bad start?
Not really because it should be sorted out somewhere along the line.
A frolicking lamb sets out one day to visit his grandmother and on the way he meets a Jackal. Naturally the carnivore desires the lamb for his next meal but the Lambikin jumps up and cries:
"To my Granny's house I go
And I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."
The Jackal accepts this excuse and allows the Lambikin to continue on his journey. Then a Vulture appears with the same thought in mind as that of Mr. Jackal. The Lambikin repeats his rhyme and once again receives a positive result but could the Lambikin be so lucky if a Tiger loomed up? Well ... one does and, unbelievably, the Lambikin's rhyme works for him yet again.
Now that's luck personified.
The Lambikin reaches his Granny's place and makes a very unusual request.
"Granny, I've promised to get fat so would you please put me in the corn-bin?"
With no questions asked, the Lambikin's Granny places him in the receptacle where he eats heartily for seven days. Upon emerging he says to his nana,
"I'm so fat now, I'm afraid I'll be eaten on my way home so could you make a drumikin and put me inside it?"
There's not all that much left to the story except we have to figure out (with reasonable clues) what a 'drumikin' is and, just for the record, Lambikin's last words are:
The Parcel In The Road
"Hie! Hie! Carrier! You've dropped a parcel!"
That's what John yells when he sees something drop from a passing horse and cart, but the man doesn't hear because his horse's hoofs are clip-clopping too loudly. John races to pick up the parcel which is a big one with no address attached ... and it rattles when shaken.
What could it be?
Anyone else may have opened it out of curiosity but John doesn't; instead he looks and sees the horse going quite slowly up a steep hill which means he could catch the cart if he ran after it. Off he goes at a good pace and halfway up he stops to catch his breath but seeing the cart is nearly at the top he starts running again whilst yelling out,
"Hie! Hie! Do stop!"
The carrier looks around and comes to a halt. A very out-of-breath John hands the parcel to him and it's not long before the label is found - it had fallen to the floor. The ending reveals to us:
To whom the parcel is addressed ... and next day we learn -
What's in it!
A Christmas Story
As he has done for hundreds of years, Santa Claus sets off one Christmas Eve with his load of toys but doesn't notice the sack has a hole in it. Two things drop out onto the road - a fine clockwork motor car with a clown driving it, and a fairy doll. Seeing he has transport the obvious thing for the clown to do is drive like the billy-o and catch up to Santa Claus. Telling the fairy doll to jump in, he sets off in pursuit.
On their way they spy two nuts and an orange lying in the road, which the doll retrieves. Then an apple and a chocolate appear and it's not long before a couple more items from Santa's sack are spotted, and as they progress further the car soon becomes quite packed with presents. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Santa discovers the hole in his sack and pins it up with a safety pin, which is all very well but not so hot for the clown and his companion who have been following the trail of goodies in an effort to locate the sleigh.
Now they're lost!
The doll's becoming cold and the clown suggests they approach a house that can be seen behind some trees. With the thought in mind there might be some children who would welcome having a motor car, clown, and fairy doll, they knock on the door. After being admitted by the resident cat, a slight mistake which Santa has made is corrected, and a very appropriate ending follows.
In the Ark, a pair of all animals including lions, tigers, horses, cats, giraffes, pigs, moles, mice, and birds, amongst thousands of others were apparently transported to safety. Fish? With all that watering down of the sea surely those salt-water inhabitants would have been compromised. What about all the other animals? Humans such as sick children in their beds? The aged and crippled? The compassionate and altruistic? Unfortunately 'No!' Their fate was sealed.
Right from our earliest days I don't think we, or any of our friends, thought of a 'greengrocer' as being a retailer coloured green.
Could there be anything more frustrating when you sit down to a meal such as the original starling did, to have a crowd of hungry individuals race over to grab some for themselves? This is of course what happens in the animal world ... especially when predators make a kill. Designated as a 'Natural Wonder,' the 'Serengeti' is a vast plain situated mainly in Tanzania containing a considerable number of diverse animal species.
Crows and jackdaws have shown remarkable intelligence when tested so not all feathered creatures are 'bird brains' - but the starlings in this tale may qualify as such.
Can't be sure how many times this plot has been used by the author but one example occurs in 'Enid Blyton's Second Bedside Book,' when two mice discover a piece of bacon rind.
It's not mentioned but presumably the fish were all dead - unless they were kept in aquariums. The people of Gotham wouldn't have had refrigerators of course unless the incident is set in modern times.
The previous tale's starlings have been shown up as fools, but the people of Gotham might even excel them in the idiot stakes.
A question: Did Enid Blyton read comics and if not, where did she get the name 'Gotham?' Batman started up only a couple of years prior to publication of The Two Sillies, but the answer might lie in a different direction. "Gotham: A village in Nottinghamshire, England associated in folklore with insanity." We learn something every day! One could imagine a children's entertainer from this particular settlement amusing a multitude of kids by dressing up as the Caped Crusader. If asked the whereabouts of his hometown, would he be taken seriously?
Gaiters! What are gaiters? Could never remember exactly what they were for but apparently these are a kind of protection for the leg. Not sure why ordinary clothing or shoes or gumboots aren't sufficient, but 'gaiters' still seem to be de riguer.
'Lambikin' has been written with a capital, as have 'Jackal,' 'Vulture,' and 'Tiger.'
Where would lambs meet a jackal or tiger? Come to think of it, we never see pictures of lambs or sheep on the Serengeti Plain so I guess these particular creatures are confined to domestic settings; and just as well because it's not hard to fathom how long one would last on the veld.
It's interesting how terms go out of fashion. In times when cars were newer they were often called 'motor cars' - presumably to distinguish them from cars without motors (if such things can be visualised). However the definition, 'wheeled-vehicles,' presumably covers all related contraptions including tram-cars. Automobiles? That term is probably used more readily across the Atlantic.
The clown wound up his car before driving in pursuit of Santa Claus.
The fairy doll has wings so, if it had passed their minds, she would probably have been able to locate Santa from the air.
The clown's favourite expression is "Hoy!" or "Hoy-oy!"
Often, it happens that older fans of Enid Blyton can recall only a character's name they encountered in a story years ago and want to track it down. One of the first places to visit, if one is wise, would be the Enid Blyton Society 'Cave of Books,' so all relevant factors need to be included in reviews: John 's full name is 'John Harris,' he lives at Green Farm, Horton and has an 'Uncle Dick.'
Trivia: Looks like all the tales have been filched from the 'Teachers World' magazines. For some reason there's no apostrophe in the word 'Teachers' although Sheila Ray and Barbara Stoney have apostrophised it in their biographies, and 'Teacher's Treasury' also includes the punctuation.