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Now I know why I was such an obedient child ;). It all stems from a poem my mother used to read to us at night that was TERRIFYING! She’d open up this ancient book and read the poem from a piece of tattered newspaper taped to the inside cover. The book belonged to my great-grandmother and it’s called The Best Loved Poems of the American People, Copyright 1936.
I remember the goosebumps I’d get and can still hear my mom’s voice when she read us this poem that was so scary, it gave me nightmares. (Thanks a lot, mom!)
The poem is called “Little Orphant Annie” and it inspired the beloved “Annie” character of movie, radio and comic strip fame. It was written in 1885 by James Whitcomb Riley who wrote his rhymes in nineteenth century Hoosier dialect.
The stories in the poem each tell of a naughty child who is snatched away by goblins as a result of their misbehavior. The underlying moral and warning is announced in the final stanza, telling children that they should obey their parents and be kind to the unfortunate, lest they suffer the same fate.
Now a parent to three young children, I’m starting to believe my mom had ulterior motives in reading us this rhyme and I thought I’d share it with you to set a spooky tone for this gray and chilly Halloween night……
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