Complete Halloween Book: Moontykes
Here’s a lovely bit of writing I discovered nosing around in a 104 year old book from 1915, written by Elizabeth Guptill, titled, “The Complete Hallowe’en Book”.
If you’re a fan of Halloween, chilling little tales, or naughty children getting their comeuppance, this one is for you.
Have you ever seen the Moontykes? Never heard of them, you say?
Well, I’ll remedy that trouble in a few words, right away.
They are only seen by mortals on one night of all the year,
And, as this the mystic eve is, I will try to call them here.
Moontykes! Moontykes! appear to us tonight,
Sliding down the moonbeams, so airy, cool and white.
Moontykes! Moontykes! quickly now appear,
On this weirdest, spookiest night of all the year.
Moontykes! Moontykes! Don’t you hear me calling so?
I’m afraid I can not get them. They are contrary, you know.
Why, however did they get here? Thought there wasn’t one around!
But they always move so quietly, without a word or sound.
Once they all were little children, just the same as you, or you,
But they didn’t mind their mothers, as of course, you children do.
They were saucy, disobedient, quarreled, threw their toys around,
Sometimes sulked when they were crossed, or stamped their feet upon the ground;
And one night they were in mischief, where they never should have been,
All forgetful of the dangers lurking round on Hallow e’en.
Suddenly they paused, affrighted, at a fierce, ear-splitting yell,
That apparently from heaven, through the twilight dimness fell.
“What was that?” they cried in terror. “Was it ghost or goblin, which?”
There, upon a broomstick balanced, with her black cat, rode a witch.
And she cast a spell upon them–piled them all upon her broom,
Set the old black cat to guard them, and sailed upward to the moon.
There she dumped the naughty children, and she quickly sailed away,
Leaving them with the old Moon Man for forever and a day.
Now the Moon Man is a tyrant, and he made them stand around,
And they quickly learned obedience when his switch the Moon Man found.
‘Twas the tail of an old comet, so I’ve heard a whisper say,
And he used it on the children in the good, old fashioned way.
No more sulking no more fighting. He was always lurking near,
And, at the first sign of trouble, he was certain to appear.
Then he tired of their noise. He said they screamed and cried too much,
Also that their tongues were saucy. So he laid an icy touch
With his cold and clammy finger on their rosy lips, and then
Not a single child could ever scream or sing or talk again.
So they slowly turned to Moontykes, as tonight you see them here.
Say, if one of them had been yours, would you know the little dear?
There is not a thing to eat but green cheese, in the moon, you know,
And whoever feeds upon it, e’er will round and rounder grow.
In the moon there’s not a thing to do but polish up the light,
So they trim and rub and polish, till it’s shining, clear and bright.
Then, for playing’s not allowed, they stand around and sigh,
And the tears come slowly dropping from each sad and sorry eye.
If they could come back again, and little children be once more,
They would not be cross and hateful, or sulk, as they did before.
They are cured of naughty ways, and they are watching night and day,
If perchance the witch who brought them, might again sail out that way.
Something’s coming, in the distance! Could it- can it really be?
It is surely drawing nearer! Yes it is! It’s surely she!
See them kneel to her, imploring, in their silent, voiceless way,
That she take them back again. Alas! she coldly turns away!
Poor, wee Moontykes! See them weeping! One pleads still. She seizes him,
Spins him round, and bids him fetch her, quickly, the old Moon Man grim.
Him she questions very closely, finds the children now are good,
That they’ve surely learned their lesson, as most any children would!
On her broom once more they’re mounted; sail they downward through the air;
Land once more on terra firma. Look, perhaps your darling’s there!
Speech has come once more, and slowly they’ll grow thinner, each poor dear.
But they never will forget the long-ness of that year.
Heed the lesson of the Moontykes! Tell you, you had best be good!
You had better mind your mother-do just as good children should!
For the Man in the Moon is watching, and the Witch, so fierce and grim,
May swoop down, and carry you to spend a year or so with him!
Want to read more of this wonderful book? You can do so, for free, thanks to the Internet Archive: The Complete Hallowe’en Book by Guptill, Elizabeth Frances.