How Bimbo the Snip’s Thumb Stuck to His Nose When the Wind Changed

Carl Sandburg August 29, 2016
North American
Intermediate
6 min read
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    Once there was a boy in the Village of Liver-and-Onions whose name was Bimbo the Snip. He forgot nearly everything his father and mother told him to do and told him not to do.

    One day his father, Bevo the Hike, came home and found Bimbo the Snip sitting on the front steps with his thumb fastened to his nose and the fingers wiggling.

    “I can’t take my thumb away,” said Bimbo the Snip, “because when I put my thumb to my nose and wiggled my fingers at the iceman the wind changed. And just like mother always said, if the wind changed the thumb would stay fastened to my nose and not come off.”

    Bevo the Hike took hold of the thumb and pulled. He tied a clothes line rope around it and pulled. He pushed with his foot and heel against it. And all the time the thumb stuck fast and the fingers wiggled from the end of the nose of Bimbo the Snip.

    Bevo the Hike sent for the ward alderman. The ward alderman sent for the barn boss of the street cleaning department. The barn boss of the street cleaning department sent for the head vaccinator of the vaccination bureau of the health department. The head vaccinator of the vaccination bureau of the health department sent for the big main fixer of the weather bureau where they understand the tricks of the wind and the wind changing.

    And the big main fixer of the weather bureau said, “If you hit the thumb six times with the end of a traffic policeman’s club, the thumb will come loose.”

    So Bevo the Hike went to a traffic policeman standing on a street corner with a whistle telling the wagons and cars which way to go.

    He told the traffic policeman, “The wind changed and Bimbo the Snip’s thumb is fastened to his nose and will not come loose till it is hit six times with the end of a traffic policeman’s club.”

    “I can’t help you unless you find a monkey to take my place standing on the corner telling the wagons and cars which way to go,” answered the traffic policeman.

    So Bevo the Hike went to the zoo and said to a monkey, “The wind changed and Bimbo the Snip’s thumb is fastened to his nose and will not come loose till it is hit with the end of a traffic policeman’s club six times and the traffic policeman cannot leave his place on the street corner telling the traffic which way to go unless a monkey comes and takes his place.”

    The monkey answered, “Get me a ladder with a whistle so I can climb up and whistle and tell the traffic which way to go.”

    So Bevo the Hike hunted and hunted over the city and looked and looked and asked and asked till his feet and his eyes and his head and his heart were tired from top to bottom.

    Then he met an old widow woman whose husband had been killed in a sewer explosion when he was digging sewer ditches. And the old woman was carrying a bundle of picked-up kindling wood in a bag on her back because she did not have money enough to buy coal.

    Bevo the Hike told her, “You have troubles. So have I. You are carrying a load on your back people can see. I am carrying a load and nobody sees it.”

    “Tell me your troubles,” said the old widow woman. He told her. And she said, “In the next block is an old umbrella handle maker. He has a ladder with a whistle. He climbs on the ladder when he makes long long umbrella handles. And he has the whistle on the ladder to be whistling.”

    Bevo the Hike went to the next block, found the house of the umbrella handle maker and said to him, “The wind changed and Bimbo the Snip’s thumb is fastened to his nose and will not come loose till it is hit with the end of a traffic policeman’s club six times and the traffic policeman cannot leave the corner where he is telling the traffic which way to go unless a monkey takes his place and the monkey cannot take his place unless he has a ladder with a whistle to stand on and whistle the wagons and cars which way to go.”

    Then the umbrella handle maker said, “To-night I have a special job because I must work on a long, long umbrella handle and I will need the ladder to climb up and the whistle to be whistling. But if you promise to have the ladder back by to-night you can take it.”

    Bevo the Hike promised. Then he took the ladder with a whistle to the monkey, the monkey took the place of the traffic policeman while the traffic policeman went to the home of Bevo the Hike where Bimbo the Snip was sitting on the front steps with his thumb fastened to his nose wiggling his fingers at everybody passing by on the street.

    The traffic policeman hit Bimbo the Snip’s thumb five times with the club. And the thumb stuck fast. But the sixth time it was hit with the end of the traffic policeman’s thumb club, it came loose.

    Then Bevo thanked the policeman, thanked the monkey, and took the ladder with the whistle back to the umbrella handle maker’s house and thanked him.

    When Bevo the Hike got home that night Bimbo the Snip was in bed and all tickled. He said to his father, “I will be careful how I stick my thumb to my nose and wiggle my fingers the next time the wind changes.”

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