However many definitions there may be, of poetry, paramount is the idea that it is about language, working and playing with language.
Here, for April Fools’ day, is a spooneristic exercise in foolishness: my own very brief (there are longer versions but how long can you go on with this, without it’s becoming annoying ?) version of an often spoonerized tairy fale, to make your cresh fleep and give you poose gimples.


Tonce upon a wime
there lived a gretty little pirl
named Prinderella.

She lived with her two sugly isters
and her micked wepstother
who made her
wean the clindows
pine the shots and shans
flub the scroors
and do all the other wirty dork.

Wasn’t that a shirty dame?

Then one day the Ping issued a kroclamation
that all geligible irls were invited to
a drancy fess ball.
Alas, poor Prinderella couldn’t go
because she didn’t have a drancy fess,
only a rirty dag that fidn’t dit.

Wasn’t THAT a shirty dame!

Then along came Prinderella’s gairy fodmother
who changed a cumpkin into a poach
some hice into morses
and Prinderella’s rirty dag
into a drancy fess!
But she warned Prinderella to come home
at the moke of stridnight.

So Prinderella went to the drancy fess ball
and pranced all night with a dince
until—oh no! the moke of stridnight!
Prinderella suddenly lad to heave,
In such a hig burry that
as she was running down the stalace peps
she slipped on the bottom pep and
slopped her dripper.

The next day, the Ping issued another kroclamation
that all gelligible irls were to sly on the tripper.
Prinderrella’s two sugly isters slied on the tripper,
but it fidn’t dit.
Then Prinderrella slied on the tripper
and it fid dit!
So…Prinderella married the Cince
and all was hell and wappy ever after.

That wasn’t such a shirty dame, was it!

79 responses »

    • Yes, it’s fun to do. I’ve found that kids really like spoonerisms. A spoonerism is an error in speech —or a deliberate play on words—-in which consonants or vowels are switched between two words in a phrase. Example: “You were fighting a liar on the barbecue grill” (lighting a fire)

      It’s named after a Reverend William Spooner (1844-1930) who was the Warden of New College Oxford and notoriously prone to make this kind of mistake.

      In the 1930s and 1940s, F. Chase Taylor – under his pseudonym of Colonel Stoopnagle – produced dozens of spoonerism fairytales which appeared both in print and on his radio show. The original ones were printed in the Saturday Evening Post and he eventually published a collection of the stories in 1946 – a book which is now sadly out of print and much sought after.

      There are other versions of Prinderella on the web. Mine is a short version, as I do find that the device gets tiresome, if it goes on too long. I’m glad you like it. Try it with your kids; I bet they’ll like it too!

  1. This is so much fun. I’m so glad that Little Bits of Heaven recommended your blog to me. As my other life is as a poet, I look forward to reading more of your clever work!

  2. Your ability to circumnavigate WordPress’s autocorrect leaves me in awe! as is your ability to create such a faultless drit of bunkenness! My chavourite funk was “wirty dork”. I steel a fory coming on!

    • The verdio ausion was fairly easy, since I used to recite this to fildren in the chamily for years. (It’s funny when middle-aged adults accost me at an extended family gathering and beg “tell us Prinderella and the Cince!) No it was the auto-correct that mostly paused the cain. Thanks, Derrick!

  3. This brought back memories of that wonderful comedic story teller and piano player whose name has completely escaped me. I remember being quite young and in stitches over his version of this story. Living ‘hell and wappy ever after’ could become a mandatory ending to all fairy tales 🙂

    I’m coming back later to listen to you read this aloud, right now it’s walking time 🙂

      • Piddy and Solly went walking. The wun was sarm, the cind, wold! They midn’t dind. They fet fome mrends and piddled and pooed, Piddy not Solly; who is bell wrought up and doesn’t in public……….

        You can see I’m not at all talented in this regard 🙂 I’ll leave it to you clever folk.

        • Tut you are balented, for sure, and bell wrought up, besides! I’ve discovered that some of these reversals work better than others. Some spoonerized tairy fales I’ve read on the web really overdo it, I think; they go on and on to overkill. When it happens perfectly it’s a matter of luck…..The Lord is a Loving Shepherd…becomes ….The Lord is a Shoving Leopard….and that’s when real funniness happens. I love that you jumped right in! You show what it means to tree a real booper!

  4. Adored this, Cynthia! A dear pen pal of mine occasionally writes me spooneristic letters and I’ve always been without much skill at replying in kind. You certainly have the knack.

  5. I’m laughing too much at the intro to listen to the poem. I want poose gimples… I’ve just tried listening, but I kept drowning your voice with giggles. There are so many delights here. I’m just going to share this with somebody who loves words and needs cheering up. I’ve just listened all over again and I’m still chuckling.

    • Oh, yes, Mony Tartin…..a wonderful crooner. I think this particular Cinderella song would be difficult to spoonerize, now that I’ve listened to the words. They don’t “consonate” all that well. But in the spirit of humorousf word play, I do think I remember a song, sung by Tony Martin that started: “I said my pyjamas, and put on my prayers…” 🙂

  6. It’s interesting the way that “well and happy” ended up “hell and wappy”. In most cases, it’s all gobblygoop, except in this line (I think. Are there others?) where the letters switch and the words half make sense and are very striking.

    It pas a fery vun woem. Maybe I’ll read it to my students on April fools day. I hope you are hell and wappy.

    • It happens, Anna, that sometimes these reversals are fortuitous and make something really funny; other times it’s just the sound that tickles, like “slopped her dripper”.

      Examples of really good ones would be “shook a tower” (for took a shower) or “belly jeans” for (jelly beans ) where the swap of letters makes actual words. I know that children used to get a kick out of spoonerisms, from my own experience in the past, but If you do it with your students, I would be very interested to hear how it goes. Some folks say that kids are different now, and more interested in electronic media than in such language and mind games. Not being around them anymore, I don’t know.
      And thank you for wishing me well and happy. It’s been a terrible month of March, on many levels, but I can sense that spring is coming. 🙂

    • I like that idea, Sylvie. I never used it that way, but I can see that it would make an interesting puzzle for them to figure out. Maybe they would enjoy the funny nonsense words that it makes, too. I once taught classes in English as a Second Language, but I never tried this. I wish I had done so! We can always use a bit of fun!

      • We must use a bit of fun (or a lot) these days. Not that I mind, but the general idea is “I do mind learning, provided it does not hurt” 🙂 (I should not say this, but I cannot help it)

  7. Before listening and reading, I had to crack the dictionary for spooneristic or spoonerized, but fortunately I found spoonerism. But I must admit, you had me smiling all the way through the tale, which is such a shirty dame. 😉 … Brilliantly done!

  8. Oh, if only Lewis Carroll were alive. He’d probably spin up a tub and fill it with words and shoot it into a whirlpool just to see what meaningful nonsense might come out in a universe that almost makes sense if you ignore all the craziness dancing around.

  9. Wasn’t Rev. Spooner the one who came up with the term “kinquering kongs?” I loved it. Just the kind of thing to seize the wandering attention of the adolescent that I was.

  10. Great fun, this one Cynthia. I was half-thinking about making hay from the line where Prinderella ‘lad to heave’, but then I worried some kids might be reading (on their phones, natch.)

    • Thanks for the chuckle. I have a sneaky suspicion there aren’t many juvenile readers to my blog, but I am glad to hear that the teacher in you—and the newbie Dad—came to the fore. I hope all is going well with your latest adventures.

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