Friday phrase: I said them but I lied them

Dr Seuss seems to be going round my head at the moment.

And really, why not? For all of the famous restricted vocabulary, to help beginning readers, he also worked incredibly hard at making the stories effective.

Even when they seem unlikely choices.

Some time back now (lost in the mists of parenting time), Junior Reader was very fond of the story of The Pale Green Pants. (In case of any uncertainty, pants here means trousers, for anyone concerned about where the story was going.)

It runs a bit like a classic ghost story. Our hero is out in various places at night – and keeps coming across a ghostly pair of pale green pants ‘with nobody inside them’.

(I know that it’s a while ago, because Junior Reader would tend to say ‘no-der-ee’ instead of nobody.)

Understandably, the hero gets more and more scared by the pants, and tries various means to deal with them, including trying to convince himself that he isn’t really scared. (This is where today’s phrase comes from, which you can read below.)

In fact, when they do meet again, the outcome is not that scary – but I will leave you to read the story, and find out.

I think we all have these points where we are trying to be brave, and not quite succeeding. Part of us believes that positive thinking will win the day – and part of us recognises…not quite yet.

Whatever your day is like, whatever you are being brave about, take heart that others are not necessarily that brave either. (And, if you’re lucky, that what you are scared of may turn out to be less scary than you thought.)


Dr Seuss, What Was I Scared Of?

“I said, ‘I do not fear those pants

With nobody inside them.’

I said and said and said those words.

I said them. But I lied them.”

The story belongs in this compendium, The Sneeches and Other Stories. (Undoubtedly more on that another time.)