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Princess Platypus and the Vagabond Turtles by Kathleen Jacoby

platypus_thumbPrincess Platypus is a pure delight.
She sits on a log and reads sonnets at night.
She is young and rambunctious from the clan known as Django
Her father, a builder, makes dams at an angle
That are tight and just right.
A beaver’s delight!

The Vagabond Turtles, an itinerant band,
Float here and there throughout uncharted land
And drift on their backs as they meander down streams
Singing songs of ambition, of riddles and dreams
These are The Vagabonds, Turtles all Three
‘Riddlers and ‘Fiddlers each of them be

One day when the moon was hanging down low,
The Vagabond Turtles arrived in a row
They’d floated for nearly a week and a day,
And now they were ready to riddle and play.
Beavers from everywhere gathered to see
The Vagabond Turtles, musicians all three.

“We’re the Riddlin’ Fiddlin’Vagabond Turtles,
and we ask you question that provide you hurtles,
The crux of our message lies within.
What roars, has a mane, and is in a Violin?”

The audience sat quietly for a moment in shock.

They had to think quickly…had to take stock
After all, what DOES roar, has a mane and lives in a violin?

All beavers seemed stumped as they mumbled and jittered.
Til a beaver tail thumped and the whole crowd tittered …
“I KNOW! I KNOW,” came a young beaver voice,
IT’S a LION, a LION, the answer of choice!”

“Fiddle dee dee,” cried the vagabonds three,
you got the score,
Now let’s sift some more!”

Princess Platypus felt perplexed and confused.
The turtles were strange, made no sense, and were rude!

She hemmed and hawed and steamed and stewed,
madder and madder, ‘til she came unglued!
She paddled her tail so she had to be heard
And when she finally spoke,
No one said a word!

Tell me right now, and don’t be slow!”

Turtles three, fiddle dee dee,turtle_2_thumb
how playful they be when someone seems not to see.
They jangled and giggled, they rolled and they wiggled,
For the Princess was haughty and mad as could be.

“Well,” said the first one, (the turtle I mean),
“words are not always the way that they seem!
Not only a Lion, but Lion the Sixth!
You’ll have to look carefully to see how that fits.”

“LION THE SIXTH!” It just wasn’t possible.
Yet, Lion the Sixth seemed most unstoppable.

“Take the name Violin and look at the word.
Take all the letters, and instead of a herd,
you get just one very special to feed,
it’s Lion the Sixth, most important indeed.”

Princess Paddletail thought, but she still didn’t get it
She was getting so mad, she was ready to whack
A Vagabond Turtle flat on its back
When the sharp little Beaver, who’d solved the main riddle,
Leaped over the others and ran up with a giggle…

“It’s all about letters and taking them apart.
If you look at possibilities, it’s really an art!”

He pulled out a chalk board
(goodness, where did that come from?)
and just like a math problem, he figured the sum.

turtle_1_thumb“Look, Princess Paddletail. See all the letters?
When we change them around, we get something better.
V I O L I N becomes L I O N, who sure likes to roar.
Wth a V and an I remaining, there’s more.
V and I in Roman Numerals means number 6,
So, king of the jungle is Lion the VI.

Princess Paddletail finally saw what was done,
and she immediately smiled and joined in the fun.
“This is surprising, and a neat game to play.
What other riddles in words can you teach us today?”

The Vagabond Turtles, delighted all three,
looked at each other and then at a tree.
“See that tall Poplar…the one over there?
How does it fit with a very cold bear?”

All of the beavers were enjoying the game.
They mumbled and tumbled to figure the name.
Princess Paddletail, who’d had trouble before,
now spoke up quite quickly as she reckoned the score!

“The bear is a polar bear, and it comes from the tree.
Poplar and Polar. I see what you see!”

Beavers thumped tails, and the turtles sang songs.
They riddled and fiddled all the night long.
And when it was time for the beavers to go,
they all declared at once it had been the best show!

– – – – – – – – – – — – – – –

Now here are more riddles for you to find, too.
Look at them carefully and see how you do.

When is a name not a name, but a bully? (when it is mean)

Why is a turtle like a king? (because they rule)

Beavers are wondrous, noble and true. But they also get medals for being something else, too. What is it? (brave) Beyond that, there is another animal hiding in Beaver’s name. It loves honey and hibernates in the winter. What is it? (bear)

What animal gallops along the shore? (horse)

It’s a part of the body that hears, and it’s found in a bear. What is it? (ear)

Tar is used to fix streets and roofs, true. This animal is said to hide in roofs, too. What is it? (rat)

You can now look at words in a whole different way. You can take them apart and see what they say…so start on your own and give it a go, doesn’t matter how many, how fast or how slow. The fun is in playing, and this you can do with friends or alone. It’s all up to you!


kathleen_jacoby_thumbKATHLEEN JACOBY is a writer, associate editor of The Inner Voice Magazine, Blogger, and consultant. Her contributions are in the realm of inspiration and she spends her spare time reading, writing, and putting jigsaw puzzles together. You can read her work on the following websites: Seasons of the Soul Newsletter – Numbers by Design:
Journey to Raw: