It is passing into common knowledge. For instance when 3-year-old nephew George Andrew cut his finger he said he would be like the Pobble Who Had No Toes, only with him it would be fingers. Ha, ha! I said, Georgie, I hope not!
Anyway Barbara and Georgie are there next to me and we revisit "The Pobble Who Had No Toes." I am getting to love the poem too. I love how Victorian it is. How they put the Pobble in a friendly Bark ... I always have to stop and explain a bark is a boat ... and then they row and row and row till they come to his Aunt Jobiska's Park. In 1848 when this book was published you would have a park.
There is also the speculation about how the Pobble loses his toes. Edward Lear raises the possibility of a mermaid.
"What's a mermaid?" asked Barbara.
And I began to explain: A mermaid is half fish, she has the tail of a fish, but the other half is, she is a beautiful girl, and --
Suddenly my brother George, Barbara's daddy, interrupted. "Myth, Barbara!" he said. "It's a myth!"
And I felt chastised. I mean, I probably would have gotten around to telling her mermaids were make-believe, I like to think I would, but for a second, could we not enter the world of Edward Lear, and the mermaid, and Aunt Jobiska's Park?
When I was little I think I knew what a mermaid was before I knew what a myth was.
I will have to try to sneak Edward Lear words into my book about Leonard Pennario. Words like "runcible," "flannel" and, well, perhaps I will allude to my Park.
Then again, the story is unbelievable enough on its own.