James Whitcomb Riley

THE NINE LITTLE GOBLINS
by James Whitcomb Riley

They all climbed up on a high board-fence?
Nine little Goblins, with green-glass eyes?
Nine little Goblins that had no sense,
And couldn’t tell coppers from cold mince pies;
And they all climbed up on the fence, and sat?
And I asked them what they were staring at.

And the first one said, as he scratched his head
With a queer little arm that reached out of his ear
And rasped its claws in his hair so red?
“This is what this little arm is fer!”
And he scratched and stared, and the next one said,
“How on earth do you scratch your head?”

And he laughed like the screech of a rusty hinge?
Laughed and laughed till his face grew black;
And when he choked, with a final twinge
Of his stifling laughter, he thumped his back
With a fist that grew on the end of his tail
Till the breath came back to his lips so pale.

And the third little Goblin leered round at me?
And there were no lids on his eyes at all?
And he clucked one eye, and he says, says he,
“What is the style of your socks this fall?”
And he clapped his heels?and I sighed to see
That he had hands where his feet should be.