Johnny Inkslinger Volunteers
Viggo Vikkerson was the newest member of Paul Bunyan’s logging crew, just off the boat from Norway. He was a tall, strapping young fellow, lanky and limber and spry. Paul thought he’d be a natural as a pike pole man, hopping from one floating log to another, steering them downriver.
It was a dangerous but important job, and Viggo was pretty darn proud of that. So proud, in fact, that he boasted about it to everybody he met. Funny thing was, his Norsky accent was so thick, he always mixed up his Ws and his Vs. Same with his Js and Ys. He couldn’t help it— didn’t even realize he was doing it.
“I’m Wiggo Wikkerson and I’m the best log valker on the vater, by yiminy!” he’d holler as he thumped his chest. “If I see a log start to vander, I yust yump right on top of it and weer it back vith my pike pole!”
Now, a lot of the loggers had accents, German and Irish and French— and most of the Scandihoovians talked just like Viggo did. But he was the new guy, and the crew liked to tease him about it. That made Viggo mad. And a little bit sad.
One night after a long hard day, Viggo was sitting all by himself at the supper table, feeling pretty low. “Yeepers I vish I’d have gone to Vest Wirginia vith my brother Valter,” he muttered. “Maybe those coal miners vouldn’t be so mean yust because I’m from Norvay.”
That’s when Ole the blacksmith ambled over and sat down. “Vhy the long face, Wiggo? Vhat’s the trouble?” Ole asked. “You shouldn’t be so sensitive to a little bit of yibing. It’s all in fun. All the fellas in this room know vhat a good log valker you are.”
Viggo shot back, “Yah, vell you’re a weteran, Ole. You talk yust like me, but nobody yumps all over you! I bet you’d giff ’em a good vhack and a vallop if they did!”
“Darn tootin’ I vould,” says Ole, “they vouldn’t know vhat hit ’em, by yingle! But if it bothers you so much, vhy don’t you yust ask somebody to help you learn not to mix up your letters?”
“You know, by yiminy, that’s yust vhat I’m gonna do!” Viggo said, and he stood up and hollered to all the other loggers, “I vant to ask if anybody here vill help me vith my wocabulary! Who vants to wolunteer?”
Well, there were some chuckles and a few guffaws, but way back in the corner, a hand rose up. “I’ll volunteer Viggo. Read more...