The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk: Race and Ethnic Images in American Children's Literature, 1880-1939



As Johnniky Van, in his Sunday clothes,
Walked out from town one day,
It chanced that a man from Chamboree
Was sitting beside the way.
Oh, fat and fierce and brown was he—
Sing fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!
the wandering man from Chamboree!
Now Johnniky Van was well brought up,
And always most polite,
And so, though his hair stood quite on end,
And he shook in his shoes with fright—
"It 's a beautiful day, dear sir," said he
To the terrible man from Chamboree.
Oh, fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!
"It's no such a thing!" the stranger growled;
"For the clouds are quite too green,
And the sky-blue grass and the purple trees
Are the ugliest things I 've seen;
And the rain is wet, it appears to me—
Oh, fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!"
Said the singular man from Chamboree.
Cried Johnniky Van: "Excuse me, sir,
But I really must explain
That the sky is blue, and the grass is green,
And there is n't a drop of rain."
"Goo-roo! you 'd better not differ with me!
Oh, fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!"
Said the quarrelsome man from Chamboree.
Then Johnniky Van politely bowed,
But he said: "My statement 's true;
You may eat me up if you please, dear sir,
But I 'll never agree with you!"
"Oh, ho, my friend, I 'll try it and see!"
Said the cannibal man from Chamboree!
"Sing fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!"
Then Johnniky Van he plainly saw
There was not much time to waste.
So he said: "I am pleased to have met you, sir,
But I find I must leave in haste."
And down the road like a shot went he,
Away from the man from Chamboree!
Sing fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!

"This is dreadfully hard," the cannibal cried,
"On a man with nothing to eat!
A nice little boy in his Sunday suit
Would have been such a charming treat;
And now, pray waht shall I have for tea?"
Said the cannibal man from Chamboree.
Oh fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!
When a cannibal man 's in sight, my boy,
Don't stop to say, "Good day";
Though it 's well to be polite, my boy,
It is better to run away.
And, whatever you do, don't disagree
With a cannibal man from Chamboree!
Oh, fi-cum, fo-cum, fiddle-cum-fee!