Curly and Floppy Twistytail, the Funny Piggie Boys

by Howard R. Garis

Chapter 9: “Curly and the Spinning Top”

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1918
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Garis, H. R. (1918). Curly and Floppy Twistytail, the Funny Piggie Boys. New York, NY: A. L. Burt Co.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 5.5
  • Word Count: 1,203


“Oh dear!” cried Curly one morning, before his papa, Mr. Twistytail, the pig gentleman, had started for work. “Oh dear, how dreadful I feel!”

“Why, what is the matter?” asked his papa, as he looked in the back of the shiny dishpan to see if his collar was on straight.

“Oh, my arm hurts so!” went on Curly. “It all seems swelled up, and it has a lump under it and I don’t feel a bit good. Oh dear!”

“It’s his vaccination,” said his mamma. “It is beginning to ‘take’ now, and it pains him.”

“What is beginning to ‘take’, mamma?” asked Curly. “It is beginning to take the pain away? Because if it isn’t I wish it was. Oh dear!”

“It will soon be better,” said Mrs. Twistytail. “Would you like some nice yellow cornmeal ice cream, or some lollypops, flavored with sour milk?”

“Neither, mamma,” answered the piggie boy. “But I would like something to amuse me.”

“All right,” answered the pig lady. “Then I’ll send Flop Ear down to the store to get you a toy. Come Floppy,” she called, “go and get something with which to amuse your brother,” for you see Flop hadn’t yet been vaccinated, and his arm was not sore.

“What would you like?” asked Flop of his brother. “Shall I get you a mouth organ, or a kite, so you can fly away up to the clouds?”

“Neither one,” said Curly. “I want a spinning top that I can make it go around when I lie down in bed. And I want it to make music and jump around on a plate and slide on a string and all things like that.”

“All right,” said Flop Ear. “I’ll try to get it for you.”

So he went down to the eleven-and-six-cent store to buy a spinning top for his brother. And he found it, too. It was a top all painted red and blue and yellow and green, and when you wound it up, and pressed a spring, it spun around and around as fast as anything, making soft and low music like the wind blowing through the trees on a summer night, and sending the mosquitoes all sailing away to the north pole.

“I know Curly Tail will like this,” said Flop Ear.

So the store man wrapped the top up for him in a nice piece of blue paper, tied with a pink string, just the kind they have in the drug store, and Flop started back with the top to amuse his little sick, vaccinated brother.

And when Curly saw that top, all colored red and green, and blue and yellow and skilligminkpurple, as it was, he felt better at once, and, sitting up in bed, he began to spin it on a nice smooth board that his brother brought up from the woodpile for him.

Around and around on the board spun the top, looking like a pinwheel on the night before Fourth of July, and Curly’s sore arm began to feel better all at once.

Then Flop started to run down in the yard to play hopscotch with Peetie and Jackie Bow Wow, the puppy dogs, and Curly said:

“Some day, Flop, when you’ve been vaccinated, I’ll get you a top to amuse you.”

“Thank you,” spoke Flop most politely, as he slid down the banisters and bumped off on the last step with a bounce.

So Curly played with his spinning top, and his brother was down in the yard, having fun, when, all at once in at the window where Curly was in bed, jumped a great big snail. Now a snail is an animal that has horns, and he lives in a shell that grows on his back, and he goes very slowly. But sometimes, when he has eaten red pepper for his lunch, he can go as fast as anything. And this was what had happened to this snail. He had eaten red pepper, and he fairly jumped in at the window where Curly was lying in bed.

“Bur-r-r-r!” warbled the snail, “Here I am,” and he made a grab for the little piggie boy, for he was a very large snail indeed, as big as a dog house.

“Look out for my vaccination!” cried Curly. “Don’t hit my arm, please.”

“Oh, what do I care for vaccinations!” cried the snail. “If you don’t give it to me at once, so I can throw it away, I’ll stick you with my horns,” and he wiggled them at Curly just as a mooley cow would have done.

“Give you my vaccination!” cried Curly. “Why, how can I, when it’s fast on my leg?”

“No matter!” snapped and snipped the snail. “Give it to me at once,” and he reached over, and he was just going to squeeze Curly Tail’s vaccination, and maybe hurt him like anything for all I know, when, all of a sudden, the little piggie boy thought of his spinning top.

It was all wound up, ready to spin, so Curly just pushed the spring, and whizzicum-whazzicum, around and around went the top, on the board in bed, right in front of the snail. And when the queer creature, with his home on his back, saw it he cried out:

“Oh, merry-go-rounds! Oh, pin wheels! Oh, circus hoops!” For it made him dizzy to see the top spinning around, you see. “Stop it!” he begged, but Curly would not, and at last the snail got so dizzy from watching the spinning top that he fell right over backward on it, and around and around he went, faster and faster, until, all of a sudden, just as when you get off a merry-go-round before it stops moving, that snail was tossed off from the top right out of the window into the mulberry bush, where he belonged, and so he didn’t stick Curly with his horns after all. Wasn’t that good?

So that’s how Curly, with his spinning top, got the best of the snippery snail, and a few days later the little piggy boy could go to school whenever he wanted, for his vaccination was all better. And as for that snail, well, the less said about him the better—at least in this story.

And pretty soon, in case the man who is taking up the dried leaves in the street, doesn’t put the rag baby in his bag and take her off to gather chestnuts, I’ll tell you about Flop Ear and the frozen turtle.