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James Whitcomb Riley - The Raggedy Man

O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
He comes to our house every day,
An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
An' he opens the shed -- an' we all ist laugh
When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
An' nen -- ef our hired girl says he can --
He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann. --
   Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!


W'y, The Raggedy Man -- he's ist so good,
He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood;
An' nen he spades in our garden, too,
An' does most things 'at boys can't do. --
He clumbed clean up in our big tree
An' shooked a' apple down fer me --
An' 'nother 'n', too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann --
An' 'nother 'n', too, fer The Raggedy Man. --
   Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!


An' The Raggedy Man one time say he
Pick' roast' rambos from a' orchurd-tree,
An' et 'em -- all ist roast' an' hot! --
An' it's so, too! -- 'cause a corn-crib got
Afire one time an' all burn' down
On "The Smoot Farm," 'bout four mile from town --
On "The Smoot Farm"! Yes -- an' the hired han'
'At worked there nen 'uz The Raggedy Man! --
   Ain't he the beatin'est Raggedy Man?
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!


The Raggedy Man's so good an' kind
He'll be our "horsey," an' "haw" an' mind
Ever'thing 'at you make him do --
An' won't run off -- 'less you want him to!
I drived him wunst way down our lane
An' he got skeered, when it 'menced to rain,
An' ist rared up an' squealed and run
Purt' nigh away! -- an' it's all in fun!
Nen he skeered ag'in at a' old tin can ...
   Whoa! y' old runaway Raggedy Man!
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!


An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,
An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:
Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,
An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves:
An', wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,
He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,
'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can
Turn into me, er 'Lizabuth Ann!
Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!
   Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!


An' wunst, when The Raggedy Man come late,
An' pigs ist root' thue the garden-gate,
He 'tend like the pigs 'uz bears an' said,
"Old Bear-shooter'll shoot 'em dead!"
An' race' an' chase' 'em, an' they'd ist run
When he pint his hoe at 'em like it's a gun
An' go "Bang! -- Bang!" nen 'tend he stan'
An' load up his gun ag'in! Raggedy Man!
   He's an old Bear-shooter Raggedy Man!
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!


An' sometimes The Raggedy Man lets on
We're little prince-children, an' old King's gone
To git more money, an' lef' us there --
And Robbers is ist thick ever'where;
An' nen -- ef we all won't cry, fer shore --
The Raggedy Man he'll come and "'splore
The Castul-halls," an' steal the "gold" --
An' steal us, too, an' grab an' hold
An' pack us off to his old "Cave"! -- An'
   Haymow's the "cave" o' The Raggedy Man! --
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!


The Raggedy Man -- one time, when he
Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,
Says "When you're big like your Pa is,
Air you go' to keep a fine store like his --
An' be a rich merchunt -- an' wear fine clothes? --
Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows?"
An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,
An' I says "'M go' to be a Raggedy Man! --
   I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"
      Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

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Added: Nov 11 2004 | Viewed: 31133 times | Comments and analysis of The Raggedy Man by James Whitcomb Riley Comments (24)

The Raggedy Man - Comments and Information

Poet: James Whitcomb Riley
Poem: The Raggedy Man
Volume: Complete Works
Year: Published/Written in 1890
Poem of the Day: Jul 18 2009

Comment 24 of 24, added on November 4th, 2010 at 9:04 PM.

My Poetry book is tattered and falling apart....my absolute favorite..and yet, there are lines that never appeared in my book, so after 40 years it is now a little bit new. Nobody would ever read it better than my Mom....I got her to read it to me a few years ago and it is still magic!!!!

Kerry from United States
Comment 23 of 24, added on April 26th, 2010 at 6:23 PM.
The Raggedy Man

I named my 22 year old daughter Elizabeth Ann because of this poem. My 5th grade teacher read it to our class. Her name was Marian Clark and she taught in Orlando, FL. I've always loved this poem because of her. She was the best teacher I ever had.

Julie Claiborne Rutledge from United States
Comment 22 of 24, added on January 24th, 2010 at 3:31 AM.

I am 31 and my father read this numerous times to my brother and me during our childhood. It came from a treasury of children's literature and was slightly shorter, but with delightful illustrations of a dusty, raggedy man with an ever-present smile. I always enjoyed hearing about the various creatures and I conjured up images of hot, breezy summers and apple trees. Yet it was not until more recent years that I understood the significance of why the boy dreamed of growing up to be a raggedy man rather than a rich merchant like his father. May we all have such an impact on a child's life.

Nova McClurg from United States

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