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How Much Fortunatus Could Do With A Cap

Guy Wetmore Carryl 1873 (New York City) – 1904 (New York City)

Fortunatus, a fisherman Dane,
Set out on a sudden for Spain,
Because, runs the story,
He'd met with a hoary
Mysterious sorcerer chap,
Who, trouble to save him,
Most thoughtfully gave him
A magical traveling cap.
I barely believe that the story is true,
But here's what that cap was reported to do.

Suppose you were sitting at home,
And you wished to see Paris or Rome,
You'd pick up that bonnet,
You'd carefully don it,
The name of the city you'd call,
And the very next minute
By Jove, you were in it,
Without having started at all!
One moment you sauntered on upper Broadway,
And the next on the Corso or rue de la Paix!

Why, it beat every journey of Cook's,
Knocked spots out of Baedeker's books!
He stepped from his doorway
Direct into Norway,
He hopped in a trice to Ceylon,
He saw Madagascar,
Went round by Alaska,
And called on a girl in Luzon:
If they said she'd be down in a moment or two,
He took, while he waited, a peek at Peru!

He could wake up at eight in Siam,
Take his tub, if he wanted, in Guam.
Eat breakfast in Kansas,
And lunch in Matanzas,
Go out for a walk in Brazil,
Take tea in Madeira,
Dine on the Riviera,
And smoke his cigar in Seville,
Go out to the theatre in Vladivostok,
And retire in New York at eleven o'clock!

Every tongue he could readily speak:
French, German, Italian, Greek,
Norwegian, Bulgarian,
Turkish, Bavarian,
Japanese, Hindustanee,
Russian and Mexican!
He was a lexicon,
Such as you seldom will see.
His knowledge linguistic gave Ollendorff fits,
And brought a hot flush to the face of Berlitz!

He would bow in an intimate way
To Menelik and to Loubet,
He was frequently beckoned,
By William the Second,
A word of advice to receive,
He talked with bravado
About the Mikado,
King Oscar, Oom Paul, the Khedive,
King Victor Emmanuel Second, the Shah,
King Edward the Seventh, Kwang Su, and the Czar!

But what did he get from it all?
His wife used to wait in the hall!
When this wandering mortal
Set foot on the portal,
She always appeared on the scene,
And, far from ideally,
Remarked: "Well, I really
Would like to know where you have been!"
Now what is the good of a wandering life,
If you have to tell all that you do to your wife?

She'd indulge in a copious cry,
She'd remark she'd undoubtedly die,
Or, like many another,
Go back to her mother,
And what would the world think of that?
She only grew pleasant,
When offered a present
Of gloves or a gown or a hat:
And more than his talisman saved him in fare
Fortunatus expended in putting things square!

And The Moral is easily said:
Like our hero, you're certain to find,
When such a cap goes on a head,
Retribution will follow behind!
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

2:33 min read
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Guy Wetmore Carryl

Guy Wetmore Carryl was an American humorist and poet more…

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