Carl Sandburg





How Bimbo the Snip’s Thumb Stuck to His Nose When the Wind Changed


    Once there was a boy in the Village of Liver-and-Onions whose 
name was Bimbo the Snip. He forgot nearly everything his father 
and mother told him to do and told him not to do.
    One day his father, Bevo the Hike, came home and found Bimbo 
the Snip sitting on the front steps with his thumb fastened to his 
nose and the fingers wiggling.
    “I can’t take my thumb away,” said Bimbo the Snip, “because 
when I put my thumb to my nose and wiggled my fingers at the 
iceman the wind changed. And just like mother always said, if the 
wind changed the thumb would stay fastened to my nose and not 
come off.”
    Bevo the Hike took hold of the thumb and pulled. He tied a clothes
line rope around it and pulled. He pushed with his foot and heel 
gainst it. And all the time the thumb stuck fast and the fingers 
wiggled from the end of the nose of Bimbo the Snip.
    Bevo the Hike sent for the ward alderman. The ward alderman 
sent for the barn boss of the street cleaning department. The barn 
boss of the street cleaning department sent for the head vaccinator 
of the vaccination bureau of the health department. The head 
vaccinator of the vaccination bureau of the health department sent 
for the big main fixer of the weather bureau where they understand 
the tricks of the wind and the wind changing.
    And the big main fixer of the weather bureau said, “If you hit the 
thumb six times with the end of a traffic policeman’s club, the thumb 
will come loose.”
    So Bevo the Hike went to a traffic policeman standing on a street 
corner with a whistle telling the wagons and cars which way to go.
    He told the traffic policeman, “The wind changed and Bimbo the 
Snip’s thumb is fastened to his nose and will not come loose till it is 
hit six times with the end of a traffic policeman’s club.”
    “I can’t help you unless you find a monkey to take my place standing 
on the corner telling the wagons and cars which way to go,” answered 
the traffic policeman.
    So Bevo the Hike went to the zoo and said to a monkey, “The wind 
changed and Bimbo the Snip’s thumb is fastened to his nose and will 
not come loose till it is hit with the end of a traffic policeman’s club 
six times and the traffic policeman cannot leave his place on the street 
corner telling the traffic which way to go unless a monkey comes 
and takes his place.”
    The monkey answered, “Get me a ladder with a whistle so I can climb 
up and whistle and tell the traffic which way to go.”
    So Bevo the Hike hunted and hunted over the city and looked and 
looked and asked and asked till his feet and his eyes and his head and 
his heart were tired from top to bottom.
    Then he met an old widow woman whose husband had been killed in 
a sewer explosion when he was digging sewer ditches. And the old woman 
was carrying a bundle of picked-up kindling wood in a bag on her back
 because she did not have money enough to buy coal.
    Bevo the Hike told her, “You have troubles. So have I. You are carrying 
a load on your back people can see. I am carrying a load and nobody sees 
it.”
    “Tell me your troubles,” said the old widow woman. He told her. And she 
said, “In the next block is an old umbrella handle maker. He has a ladder 
with a whistle. He climbs on the ladder when he makes long long umbrella 
handles. And he has the whistle on the ladder to be whistling.”
    Bevo the Hike went to the next block, found the house of the umbrella 
handle maker and said to him, “The wind changed and Bimbo the Snip’s 
thumb is fastened to his nose and will not come loose till it is hit with the
 end of a traffic policeman’s club six times and the traffic policeman cannot 
leave the corner where he is telling the traffic which way to go unless a 
monkey takes his place and the monkey cannot take his place unless he has
 a ladder with a whistle to stand on and whistle the wagons and cars which 
way to go.”
    Then the umbrella handle maker said, “To-night I have a special job because 
I must work on a long, long umbrella handle and I will need the ladder to 
climb up and the whistle to be whistling. But if you promise to have the 
ladder back by to-night you can take it.”


    Bevo the Hike promised. Then he took the ladder with a whistle to the monkey,
 the monkey took the place of the traffic policeman while the traffic policeman 
went to the home of Bevo the Hike where Bimbo the Snip was sitting on the 
front steps with his thumb fastened to his nose wiggling his fingers at everybody 
passing by on the street.
    The traffic policeman hit Bimbo the Snip’s thumb five times with the club. And 
the thumb stuck fast. But the sixth time it was hit with the end of the traffic 
policeman’s thumb club, it came loose.
    Then Bevo thanked the policeman, thanked the monkey, and took the ladder 
with the whistle back to the umbrella handle maker’s house and thanked him.
    When Bevo the Hike got home that night Bimbo the Snip was in bed and all 
tickled. He said to his father, “I will be careful how I stick my thumb to my nose 
and wiggle my fingers the next time the wind changes.”