by Kung Fu Zu 6/20/15
By Dr. Seuss • “The country has gone to hell”, is a lament often made by not only conservatives, but others who wonder how the United States has sunk to the depravity of reality TV, the Kardashians and Bruce Jenner. There are, no doubt, manifold reasons for this decline, but I believe one of the more important reasons for the low state in which we find ourselves is the lack of proper moral education of children. Too many parents have left this to the schools, which are often controlled by those who believe there are no permanent morals and think all lifestyle choices are valid.
We have a huge problem, but a small corrective might be for parents to spend more time reading to and with their children. Of course, in order to teach moral lessons from books, it is necessary to start with moral books. With this in mind, I wish to recommend to parents, grandparents and readers in general one of the best books I have every read. “Horton Hatches the Egg”.
The book starts with the lazy bird Mayzie lamenting her situation i.e. having to sit on her egg.
“I’m tired and I’m bored
And I’ve kinks in my leg
From sitting, just sitting here day after day”
Poor Mayzie, there she is alone sitting on her egg. Presumably, the father has flown the coup thus mama has limited prospects. But in her moment of despair good old Horton passes by.
It would be hard to think of a less ideal candidate for egg hatching than an elephant. But being less concerned with her egg’s well being and more concerned about getting away, Mayzie starts sweet talking Horton.
“Why of all silly things!
I haven’t feathers and I haven’t wings.
Me on your egg? Why, that doesn’t make sense…
Your egg is so small, ma’am, and I’m so immense!”
But Mayzie knows her pachyderm and convinces Horton with a final plea,
“Please!” begged the bird.
I won’t be gone long, sir. I give you my word.
I’ll hurry right back. Why, I’ll never be missed.”
Poor naïve’ good hearted Horton gives in promising,
You want a vacation. Go fly off and take it.
I’ll sit on your egg and I’ll try not to break it.
I’ll stay and be faithful. I mean what I say.
and Mayzie is gone before you can say, “so long sucker.”
Being a responsible sort, Horton survey’s the situation and takes the proper measures to insure the egg is not damaged while in his care. He then shinnies up the tree and sits on the egg to await Mayzie’s return. And he waits, and waits, ands waits……But of course, by this time Mayzie has decided that she is enjoying herself too much to go back and sit on an egg.
So there Horton sits day and night, through freezing weather, though mocked by his friends. But he stays on that egg and recalls his promise to Mayzie,
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant….
An elephant’s faithful
One hundred percent!
And on Horton sits, until discovered by hunters who are amazed at the sight of an elephant in a tree. They take him, still in the tree, to American and sell him to a circus, which travels from town to town selling tickets to see him at “ten cents a peek.” And through these vicissitudes Horton remains true. During all the excitement, sea-sickness, change, discomfort and embarrassment, Horton comforts himself by recalling his pledge,
I meant what I said, and I said what I meant…
An elephant’s faithful-one hundred percent
Then one day the circus visits Palm Beach where Mayzie has taken up residence. While flying around, she notices the circus and decides to have a look. And as she “swooped from the clouds through an open tent door”, who did she see but poor Horton in the tree sitting on her egg. Both Horton and she are shocked, and before either could say a word, the egg starts to hatch. Horton gets excited and says, “My egg!…My EGG! WHY IT’S HATCHING.”
As one might expect, now that the work is done and the egg is about to hatch, Mayzie asserts her “rights”. “But it’s MINE!” screams Mayzie, claiming Horton had stolen it. She tells poor Horton to beat it and get out of “her” tree.
Heartbroken, Horton begins to climb down,
“But at that very instant, the egg burst apart!
And out of the pieces of red and white shell,
From the egg that he’d sat on so long and so well,
Horton the Elephant saw something whizz!
IT HAD EARS, AND A TAIL, AND A TRUNK JUST LIKE HIS!”
Then the crowd,
“..cheered and they cheered and they CHEERED more and more.
They’d never seen anything like it before!
“My goodness! My gracious! they shouted. MY WORD!
IT’S AN ELEPHANT BIRD
Horton is duly rewarded for his fidelity when the book closes,
And it should be, it should be, it SHOULD be like that!
Because Horton was faithful! He sat and he sat!
He meant what he said and he said what he meant…
….And they sent him home Happy, One hundred percent!
This is a wonderful book. Not only does it teach important lessons, it does so in a fun way. It is especially the case if the reader gives the various characters different voices. Can anyone think of a better way to catch and maintain a child’s attention while at the same time imparting some of life’s lessons? There will always be Mayzie’s in the world. That is pretty much the human condition. Even so, or perhaps because there are so many Mayzies, we must always try to raise more Hortons.
And Brad, I hope your brother is rewarded just like Horton.