‘Little Orphant Annie’

Published 5:32 pm Friday, October 27, 2023

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Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,

To wash the cups and saucers and brush the crumbs away, 

And shoo the chickens off the porch, and’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep, 

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And make the fire, and bake the bread, and’ earn her board-and-keep; 

And all us other chi’un , when the supper-things is done, 

We’d set around the kitchen fire an’ have the mostest fun 

   llist’nin’ to the witch-tales that Annie tells about, 

Cause the Gobble’s will get if you don’t watch out!

Once there was a little boy who wouldn’t say his prayers, — 

An’ when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs, 

His Mammy heard him holler, and his Daddy heard him bawl, 

And when they turned the covers back, he was nowhere at all! 

They looked for him in the attic and on the roof no less

And up the chimney -flue, an’ everyhere  I guess; 

But all they ever found was his pants roundabout: — 

Cause the gobblins will  git you

If you don’t watch out

Once there was a little girl that would always laugh an’ grin, 

And  make fun of ever’ one, and all her blood-an’ -kin; 

And once when they was “company,” an’ old folks was there, 

She mocked them and shocked them, and said she didn’t care! 

And just as she kicked up her heels, and turned to run and hide, 

There was two great big spooky things a-standin’ by her side, 

And they snatched her through the ceilin’ ‘fore she knowed what was about! 

Cause the gobblins will get you   

If you don’t watch out!


Little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue, 

An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo! 

And you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray, 

An’ the lightnin’-bugs an dew is all squenched away, — 

You’d better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear, 

An’ cherish them that loves you, and dry the orphrandt’s tear, 

And alook after the pore an’d needy ones that ‘clusters all about, 

Cause the gobblin’ will get you   

If you don’t watch out.        

“Little Orphant Annie” is an 1885 poem written by James Whitcomb Riley. The poem was, and continues to be a favorite of children, even now, especially around Halloween time. The poem has appeared in The Messenger at Halloween for 20 years or more. Happy Halloween!