Little Orphant Annie Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Little Orphant Annie

Rating: 3.4

To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was 'company,' an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

Tasha Linn 07 October 2009

I grew up in Indianapolis, and my grandparents were from Greenfield. I can remember soo many times before bed my grandma quoting this poem to me. I loved it. It gave me shivers then and made me think befre I gave them attitude... I would look around for those 'two great big black things' before I smarted off... lol. I think I might have to teach it to my 6 year old, or at least quote it more.

9 5 Reply
Ramesh T A 12 November 2009

An interesting bedtime poetic story for kids! Nice to read!

7 4 Reply
Shittin Bull 12 November 2011

reminds me of childhood and those lovely stories

7 4 Reply
Marilyn Lott 30 May 2007

My dad read this to me and my brother when we were children. I still have the Jr. Classic set of books that it was in. I read them to my kids and now grandkids. It's a wonderful poem that always made me smile! So nice to find it here and to also read more of Mr. Riley's work. Marilyn

6 5 Reply
Molaire Jules 12 November 2007

Entertaining Poem!

6 4 Reply
Lenore Churchwell 28 September 2020

I remember this poem from when I was a child back in the fifties. It is still fun to read aloud.

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Carrie 21 July 2019

I know it nearly by heart

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Pat Coulston 27 June 2019

I use to read it to children when they were small, love this poem.

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Susan Montiel 10 May 2019

I learned this poem for recitation in the 4th grade circa 1962. I had an anthology of children's poems which was lost and later tried to find a reprint for my own children and could never find it. It included this lovely poem.

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Beverly Baker 17 February 2019

I was taught this poem in grade school. Believe it or not it was during speech class. I managed to scare my kids and my grand kids sometimes at bonfires in the yard. I still love this poem.

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