Carl Sandburg





The Story of Blixie Bimber and the Power of the Gold Buckskin Whincher

    
    Blixie Bimber grew up looking for luck. If she found a horseshoe 
she took it home and put it on the wall of her room with a ribbon tied to it. 
She would look at the moon through her fingers, under her arms, 
over her right shoulder but never—never over her left shoulder. She l
istened and picked up everything anybody said about the ground hog and 
whether the ground hog saw his shadow when he came out the 
second of February.
    If she dreamed of onions she knew the next day she would find 
a silver spoon. If she dreamed of fishes she knew the next day she would 
meet a strange man who would call her by her first name. She grew up 
looking for luck.
    She was sixteen years old and quite a girl, with her skirts down 
to her shoe tops, when something happened. She was going to the 
postoffice to see if there was a letter for her from Peter Potato 
Blossom Wishes, her best chum, or a letter from Jimmy the Flea, 
her best friend she kept steady company with.
    Jimmy the Flea was a climber. He climbed skyscrapers and flagpoles 
and smokestacks and was a famous steeplejack. Blixie Bimber liked 
him because he was a steeplejack, a little, but more because he was 
a whistler.
    Every time Blixie said to Jimmy, “I got the blues—whistle the blues 
out of me,” Jimmy would just naturally whistle till the blues just 
naturally went away from Blixie.
    On the way to the postoffice, Blixie found a gold buckskin whincher. 
There it lay in the middle of the sidewalk. How and why it came to 
be there she never knew and nobody ever told her. “It’s luck,” she 
said to herself as she picked it up quick.
    And so—she took it home and fixed it on a little chain and wore it 
around her neck.
    She did not know and nobody ever told her a gold buckskin whincher 
is different from just a plain common whincher. It has a power. 
And if a thing has a power over you then you just naturally can’t help 
yourself.
    So—around her neck fixed on a little chain Blixie Bimber wore the
 gold buckskin whincher and never knew it had a power and all the 
time the power was working.
    “The first man you meet with an X in his name you must fall head 
over heels in love with him,” said the silent power in the gold buckskin 
whincher.
    And that was why Blixie Bimber stopped at the postoffice and went 
back again asking the clerk at the postoffice window if he was sure 
there wasn’t a letter for her. The name of the clerk was Silas Baxby. 
For six weeks he kept steady company with Blixie Bimber. They went 
to dances, hayrack rides, picnics and high jinks together.
    All the time the power in the gold buckskin whincher was working. 
It was hanging by a little chain around her neck and always working. 
It was saying, “The next man you meet with two X’s in his name you 
must leave all and fall head over heels in love with him.”
    She met the high school principal. His name was Fritz Axenbax. 
Blixie dropped her eyes before him and threw smiles at him. And for 
six weeks he kept steady company with Blixie Bimber. They went to 
dances, hayrack rides, picnics and high jinks together.
    “Why do you go with him for steady company?” her relatives asked.
    “It’s a power he’s got,” Blixie answered, “I just can’t help it—it’s a 
power.”
    “One of his feet is bigger than the other—how can you keep steady 
company with him?” they asked again.
    All she would answer was, “It’s a power.”
    All the time, of course, the gold buckskin whincher on the little chain 
around her neck was working. It was saying, “If she meets a man with 
three X’s in his name she must fall head over heels in love with him.”
    At a band concert in the public square one night she met James 
Sixbixdix. There was no helping it. She dropped her eyes and threw her
smiles at him. And for six weeks they kept steady company going to
band concerts, dances, hayrack rides, picnics and high jinks together.
    “Why do you keep steady company with him? He’s a musical soup 
eater,” her relatives said to her. And she answered, “It’s a power—I can’t 
help myself.”
    Leaning down with her head in a rain water cistern one day, listening 
to the echoes against the strange wooden walls of the cistern, the gold 
buckskin whincher on the little chain around her neck slipped off and 
fell down into the rain water.
    “My luck is gone,” said Blixie. Then she went into the house and made 
two telephone calls. One was to James Sixbixdix telling him she couldn’t 
keep the date with him that night. The other was to Jimmy the Flea, the 
climber, the steeplejack.
    “Come on over—I got the blues and I want you to whistle ’em away,”
 was what she telephoned Jimmy the Flea.
    And so—if you ever come across a gold buckskin whincher, be careful. 
It’s got a power. It’ll make you fall head over heels in love with the next 
man you meet with an X in his name. Or it will do other strange things 
because different whinchers have different powers.