May 9, 2008

The Duel: The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat

The Duel
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied, "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! What shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw ---
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate ---
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

Free from Denyse Schmidt: gingham's dog and calico cat
Free pattern for the Gingham Dog pdf:Free download!

Simple 'flat' one piece Calico cat and Gingham Dog soft baby toy patterns

in honor of:
My mom who still can recite parts of this,
her favorite, Eugene Field's poem.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom !


Paula, the quilter said...

I used to reference this and people would look at me like I was crazy. Quilt related, I have an old pattern that is the epitome of this poem.

Tanya said...

Hmmm. Now why do I know this poem? That is so interesting. As I read along I thought "I know all this. Did my father read it to me? Was it in a book at the grandparents's house?" I can't figure it out but struck the back side of my memories...

Quiltdivajulie said...

This was one of my very favorites as a child along with Wynken, Blynken and Nod... my mother must have had such a headache from reading them over and over and over and over and over (kind of like me reading If I Ran the Circus for my oldest son :-)

Thanks for wonderful memories!

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