Words and Music by David King


Songs, fiction and the occasional recipe by David King

Little Miss Muffet Sat on a Tuffet You won't believe what happened next

So there was Miss Muffet sitting on her lavishly upholstered tuffet partaking of a bowl of curds and whey when who comes along, most impressed with himself, none other than Jack (don’t call me little) Horner.  “Say…” said Jack to Miss Muffet   “ever try whey with Salsa?  Really enlivens the taste.“ 

Before Miss Muffet could respond, Jack jumped to another topic which alluded to a recent incident that had proven to be quite harrowing for Miss Tuffet.  “So what’s your take on Spiders these days?  I, personally, take pleasure in crushing them with my thumb”.  Then he showed her his thumb which was shiny and purple, but not from spider guts; rather from some kind of fruit pudding, possibly plum. 

“Did your Mother not scold you for eating with your thumb?” 

“I see no harm in it” said Jack, sanctimoniously.  “I certainly don’t see it as a breach in table manners.  But I understand that certain people might have a problem with it.  That’s why I confine my pie eating to the corner”.  

“Yes, I’ve noticed you sitting there with your back to the room.  I always wondered what you were doing.”

“Well, I was eating pie with my thumb.  It gets uncomfortable after a while, sitting on the floor.  Sure would help if I had a tuffet as nice as yours to sit on.  I 'd be happy to sit  in the corner the whole day through.”

“Well, you’re just going to have to get your own tuffet because I shall never relinquish mine!”

Jack looked around to make sure there was no one else within earshot. “Say, you interested in checkin out a new style of rhyme?”

“Why, Jack Horner, whatever are you talking about?”

“Just something new I heard the other day.”

Miss Muffet, knowing Jack as she did, was reluctant to inquire further but she could not hold back. “Where ever did you hear this new kind of rhyme?”

Jack attempted to sit down beside her, thinking she might shift over a bit; but she didn’t budge, so he sat on the floor as was his wont.  “Way back in the woods among the evergreens.  He lives in a little cabin made of mud and wood.”

“My goodness, it sounds horrid.”

“No, it’s just the circumstances of his birth.  You can’t judge him for not being able to read or write so well.  He does something else that more than makes up for his shortcomings.”

Miss Muffet blushed in spite of herself, anticipating a ribald punch line.  “I don’t think I want to hear any more about this unfortunate boy.”

Jack continued in spite of her limp protest.  “You know what a good boy am I, don't ya?  Well,  this cat's name is Goode.  With an E at the end.”

“And in what manner does he rhyme?”

“Well, it’s not the rhyming so much as the rhythm that he lays down with his guitar.  A rhythm that was inspired by the sound of a train.”

“And how do people respond?  Do they perform a jolly dance?”

“Yeah, I guess,” said Jack.  “they kinda can’t help it.”  

“You mean you lose control?  But that’s not good.  Not good at all.”

“Well, you wouldn’t think so, but it really is.  People come to see him from all around.  To hear him play his music when the sun goes down.`

“Well, I’m sorry, Jack Horner but I refuse to put myself into a situation where my better judgement might be compromised.”

“Sure, Missy.  I understand.  I understand that you’re all about bland.”  And with that rude little rhyme, Jack strode out of the room no less pleased with himself than when he walked in.     

Miss Muffet finished her curds and whey and set her bowl down on the table just as a spider sat down beside here.  This had happened twice before, the most recent intrusion made page 3 of the local paper; but now she was not nearly as frightened.  She took a moment to observe the spider hanging from a single strand of webbing.   She leaned into the spider, took a deep breath, then blew the spider clean out of her periphery.  She then stood up, tucked her tuffet under her arm and went outside into the warm storybook night. 

Outside in the village square, there was an excitement in the air that she could not readily identify.  She passed a grocer and noticed a jar of salsa displayed in the window.  She considered going in but then thought better of it.  She had once tried sprinkling some pepper on her curds and whey, and rather enjoyed the enhancement, until she noticed people looking at her disapprovingly, and so she never was so bold again. 

As she approached the Plaza she noticed a throng of people around her own age standing in line outside the Lyceum Theatre.  She saw the name on the marquee written in lights.  It said, “Johnny B. Goode tonight.”

Little Miss Muffet then decided  she would rather be known by her given name.`Peggy Sue`