Googly Goo looks like a roly-poly, self-indulgent brat. All of his Ten Men look just like him. They all look like brats. They look like Santa's Elves gone bad - sycophants to a one, they are, dressed all in blue. They are Blue Meanies with googly eyes and vapid grins. Googly-Goo and his Ten Men don't like naughty children. And they mean to do something about it. And they do.
The text spells it out, short and simple, in poor, ragged verse, no less:
This Googly-Goo, His Ten Men too,
A page in the book shows Googly-Goo and his Ten Men flying through the air in Santa's sleigh, drawn by Santa's six reindeer. Googly-Goo is blowing a trumpet announcing his evil deed to the world. Where Santa would fly quietly over rooftops with an occasional Ho! Ho! Ho! and softly jingling sleigh bells, and a farewell Merry Christmas, Googly Goo must trumpet his arrival with noisy fanfare! The book also shows Santa tied up. The children are looking out of windows at this madness with horror.
So Googly-Goo - his Ten Men, too,
Harrumph! Kidnapping Santa Claus! What outrage! Does this book end happily? Could it? Haw! Well, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it does. If one doesn't think too much about it.
After warning about the "girls and boys who growl and poke and get angry when others joke", Googly-Goo relents - and releases Santa, for the children have all said their prayers. (I find it so strange and ominous that it is Googly-Goo who hears those prayers.) But Googly-Goo still holds some nefarious power over Santa and gives the jolly old man, who seems none the worse for having been trussed up, some instructions about filling stockings and distributing gifts, harrumph, as if he wouldn't know how.
Even though the children of the world buckled down and said their prayers and promised to be good and obey their parents, the damage had been done. Poor children! The fearful seed was planted. The message was clear. Even Saint Nick, in a world ravaged by a World War was not safe. (it was 1916, after all). If Santa is not safe from depredation and mischief, and kidnapping and trussings, how could mere innocent, helpless children be safe?
The Googly-Goo Xmas message?
Hide and tremble in your trundle-beds, kiddies.
And so to end, let us hie back to Lewis Carroll and his 1867 Christmas message, found in the front of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:
Lady dear, if Fairies may
We have heard the children say -
Still, as Christmas-tide comes round,
Yet the hearts must childlike be
Thus forgetting tricks and play
On the back cover of Googly-Goo and His Ten Men is this message:
"Santa Claus, smiling, will come your way,
Do we dare believe this?
< to previous article to next article >
Questions or comments?