Authors: The Woggle-Bug Book
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic
ONE day Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E., becoming separated from his
comrades who had accompanied him from the Land of Oz, and finding that
time hung heavy on his hands (he had four of them), decided to walk
down the Main street of the City and try to discover something or other
The initials "H. M." before his name meant "Highly Magnified," for this
Woggle-Bug was several thousand times bigger than any other woggle-bug
you ever saw. And the initials "T. E." after his named meant "Thoroughly
Educated"—and so he was, in the Land of Oz. But his education, being
applied to a woggle-bug intellect, was not at all remarkable in this
country, where everything is quite different than Oz. Yet the
Woggle-Bug did not suspect this, and being, like so many other thoroughly
educated persons, proud of his mental attainments, he marched along the
street with an air of importance that made one wonder what great
thoughts were occupying his massive brain.
Being about as big, in his magnified state, as a man, the Woggle-Bug
took care to clothe himself like a man; only, instead of choosing sober
colors for his garments, he delighted in the most gorgeous reds and
yellows and blues and greens; so that if you looked at him long the
brilliance of his clothing was liable to dazzle your eyes.
I suppose the Waggle-Bug did not realize at all what a queer appearance
he made. Being rather nervous, he seldom looked into a mirror; and as
the people he met avoided telling him he was unusual, he had fallen
into the habit of considering himself merely an ordinary citizen of the
big city wherein he resided.
So the Woggle-Bug strutted proudly along the street, swinging a cane in
one hand, flourishing a pink handkerchief in the other, fumbling his
watch-fob with another, and feeling his necktie was straight with
another. Having four hands to use would prove rather puzzling to you or
me, I imagine; but the Woggie-Bug was thoroughly accustomed to them.
Presently he came to a very fine store with big plate-glass windows,
and standing in the center of the biggest window was a creature so
beautiful and radiant and altogether charming that the first glance at
her nearly took his breath away. Her complexion was lovely, for it was
wax; but the thing which really caught the Woggle-Bug's fancy was the
marvelous dress she wore. Indeed, it was the latest (last year's) Paris
model, although the Woggle-Bug did not know that; and the designer must
have had a real woggly love for bright colors, for the gown was made of
red cloth covered with big checks which were so loud the fashion books
called them "Wagnerian Plaids."
Never had our friend the Woggle-Bug seen such a beautiful gown before,
and it afflicted him so strongly that he straightaway fell in love with
the entire outfit—even to the wax-complexioned lady herself! Very
politely he tipped his to her; but she stared coldly back without in
any way acknowledging the courtesy.
"Never mind," he thought; "'faint heart never won fair lady.' And I'm
determined to win this kaliedoscope of beauty or perish in the
attempt!" You will notice that our insect had a way of using big words
to express himself, which leads us to suspect that the school system in
Oz is the same they employ in Boston.
As, with swelling heart, the Woggle-Bug feasted his eyes upon the
enchanting vision, a small green tag that was attached to a button of
the waist suddenly attracted his attention. Upon the tag was marked:
"Price $7.93—GREATLY REDUCED."
"Ah!" murmured the Woggle-Bug; "my darling is in greatly reduced
circumstances, and $7.93 will make her mine! Where, oh where, shall I
find the seven ninety-three wherewith to liberate this divinity and
make her Mrs. Woggle-Bug?"
"Move on!" said a gruff policeman, who came along swinging his club.
And the Woggle-Bug obediently moved on, his brain working fast and
furious in the endeavor to think of a way to procure seven dollars and
You see, in the Land of Oz they use no money at all, so that when the
Woggle-Bug arrived in America he did not possess a single penny. And no
one had presented him with any money since.
"Yet there must be several ways to procure money in this country," he
reflected; "for otherwise everybody would be as penniless as I am. But
how, I wonder, do they manage to get it?"
Just then he came along a side street where a number of men were at
work digging a long and deep ditch in which to lay a new sewer.
"Now these men," thought the Woggle-Bug, "must get money for shoveling
all that earth, else they wouldn't do it. Here is my chance to win the
charming vision of beauty in the shop window!"
Seeking out the foreman, he asked for work, and the foreman agreed to
"How much do you pay these workmen?" asked the highly magnified one.
"Two dollars a day," answered the foreman.
"Then," said the Woggle-Bug, "you must pay me four dollars a day; for I
have four arms to their two, and can do double their work."
"If that is so, I'll pay you four dollars," agreed the man.
The Woggle-Bug was delighted.
"In two days," he told himself, as he threw off his brilliant coat and
placed his hat upon it, and rolled up his sleeves; "in two days I can
earn eight dollars—enough to purchase my greatly reduced darling and
buy her seven cents worth of caramels besides."
He seized two spades and began working so rapidly with his four arms
that the foreman said: "You must have been forewarned."
"Why?" asked the Insect.
"Because there's a saying that to be forewarned is to be four-armed,"
replied the other.
"That is nonsense," said the Woggle-Bug, digging with all his might;
"for they call you the foreman, and yet I only see one of you."
"Ha, ha!" laughed the man, and he was so proud of his new worker that
he went into the corner saloon to tell his friend the barkeeper what a
treasure he had found.
It was just after noon that the Woggle-Bug hired as a ditch-digger in
order to win his heart's desire; so at noon on the second day he quit
work, and having received eight silver dollars he put on his coat and
rushed away to the store that he might purchase his intended bride.
But, alas for the uncertainty of all our hopes! Just as the Woggle-Bug
reached the door he saw a lady coming out of the store dressed in
identical checks with which he had fallen in love!
At first he did not know what to do or say, for the young lady's
complexion was not wax—far from it. But a glance into the window
showed him the wax lady now dressed in a plain black tailor-made suit,
and at once he knew the wearer of the Wagnerian plaids was his real
love, and not the stiff creature behind the glass.
"Beg pardon!" he exclaimed, stopping the young lady; "but you're mine.
Here's the seven ninety-three, and seven cents for candy."
But she glanced at him in a haughty manner, and walked away with her
nose slightly elevated.
He followed. He could not do otherwise with those delightful checks
shining before him like beacon-lights to urge him on.
The young lady stepped into a car, which whirled away rapidly. For a
moment he was nearly paralyzed at his loss; then he started after the
car as fast as he could go, and this was very fast indeed—he being a
Somebody cried: "Stop, thief!" and a policeman ran out to arrest him.
But the Woggle-Bug used his four hands to push the officer aside, and
the astonished man went rolling into the gutter so recklessly that his
uniform bore marks of the encounter for many days.
Still keeping an eye on the car, the Woggle-Bug rushed on. He
frightened two dogs, upset a fat gentleman who was crossing the street,
leaped over an automobile that shot in front of him, and finally ran
plump into the car, which had abruptly stopped to let off a passenger.
Breathing hard from his exertions, he jumped upon the rear platform of
the car, only to see his charmer step off at the front and walk
mincingly up the steps of a house. Despite his fatigue, he flew after
her at once, crying out:
"Stop, my variegated dear—stop! Don't you know you're mine?"
But she slammed the door in his face, and he sat down upon the steps
and wiped his forehead with his pink handkerchief and fanned himself
with his hat and tried to think what he should do next.
Presently a very angry man came out of the house. He had a revolver in
one hand and a carving-knife in the other.
"What do you mean by insulting my wife?" he demanded.
"Was that your wife?" asked the Woggle-Bug, in meek astonishment.
"Of course it is my wife," answered the man.
"Oh, I didn't know," said the insect, rather humbled. "But I'll give
you seven ninety-three for her. That's all she's worth, you know; for I
saw it marked on the tag."
The man gave a roar of rage and jumped into the air with the intention
of falling on the Woggle-Bug and hurting him with the knife and pistol.
But the Woggle-Bug was suddenly in a hurry, and didn't wait to be
jumped on. Indeed, he ran so very fast that the man was content to let
him go, especially as the pistol wasn't loaded and the carving-knife
was as dull as such knives usually are.
But his wife had conceived a great dislike for the Wagnerian check
costume that had won for her the Woggle-Bug's admiration. "I'll never
wear it again!" she said to her husband, when he came in and told her
that the Woggle-Bug was gone.
"Then," he replied, "you'd better give it to Bridget; for she's been
bothering me about her wages lately, and the present will keep her
quite for a month longer."
So she called Bridget and presented her with the dress, and the
delighted servant decided to wear it that night to Mickey Schwartz's
Now the poor Woggle-Bug, finding his affection scorned, was feeling
very blue and unhappy that evening, When he walked out, dressed (among
other things) in a purple-striped shirt, with a yellow necktie and
pea-green gloves, he looked a great deal more cheerful than he really
was. He had put on another hat, for the Woggle-Bug had a superstition
that to change his hat was to change his luck, and luck seemed to have
overlooked the fact that he was in existence.
The hat may really have altered his fortunes, as the Insect shortly met
Ikey Swanson, who gave him a ticket to Mickey Schwartz's ball; for
Ikey's clean dickey had not come home from the laundry, and so he could
not go himself.
The Woggle-Bug, thinking to distract his mind from his dreams of love,
attended the hall, and the first thing he saw as he entered the room
was Bridget clothed in that same gorgeous gown of Wagnerian plaid that
had so fascinated his bugly heart.
The dear Bridget had added to her charms by putting seven full-blown
imitation roses and three second-hand ostrich-plumes in her red hair;
so that her entire person glowed like a sunset in June.
The Woggle-bug was enraptured; and, although the divine Bridget was
waltzing with Fritzie Casey, the Insect rushed to her side and, seizing
her with all his four arms at once, cried out in his truly educated
"Oh, my superlative conglomeration of beauty! I have found you at
Bridget uttered a shriek, and Fritzie Casey doubled two fists that
looked like tombstones, and advanced upon the intruder.