Memory: Gingham Dog and Calico Cat

A sweet memory-  


My Daddy would recite the opening lines of this poem to entertain us when we were children.  We knew the story of these two!  Bill reminded me today that I must not leave the one-eyed cat, Minnie, alone in the den with the dogs.  Lately they’ve ganged up on her.  It reminded me of this poem.  Also, recently my Mother found a calico cat and brought it to me as a reminder of this childhood memory.  She tells me that now she’s on the lookout for a gingham dog.  I told her any dog of comparable size would do.  I can paper mache’ it with the gingham!


The Duel

Eugene Field


The gingham dog and the calico cat

Side by side on the table sat;

‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)

Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink!

      The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate

      Appeared to know as sure as fate

There was going to be a terrible spat.

            (I was n’t there; I simply state

            What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”

And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”

The air was littered, an hour or so,

With bits of gingham and calico,

      While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place

      Up with its hands before its face,

For it always dreaded a family row!

            (Now mind: I’m only telling you

            What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,

And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”

But the gingham dog and the calico cat

Wallowed this way and tumbled that,

      Employing every tooth and claw

      In the awfullest way you ever saw—

And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!

            (Don’t fancy I exaggerate—

            I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat

They found no trace of dog or cat;

And some folks think unto this day

That burglars stole that pair away!

      But the truth about the cat and pup

      Is this: they ate each other up!

Now what do you really think of that!

            (The old Dutch clock it told me so,

            And that is how I came to know.)”


Later a friend gave me a pug figurine that I decoupaged in scraps of gingham. Now my set is complete…..But mine live in harmony, just like Minnie and Winnie do.  7/14/21   CBB