[PW] old tree poem (thread)?

Allen Koenigsberg allenamet at aol.com
Mon Aug 6 13:13:45 PDT 2018


   Can it be almost ten years since I posed a question about the source of an old poem about (types of) trees?         

e.g.   "What's the social tree/ and the dancing tree, etc." I had found a version copied by Thomas Edison in 1902. (he used 18, but there are other versions with 24 and 49 tree questions).

  The answers were of two types,1)  word play on the actual names of the trees, and 2) puns on the endings of the answers, as in the suffix "-try".

  Can anyone direct me to the original thread? Thanks to some newspaper databases, I have traced the oldest version of the poem back to 1885 (with straight-forward answers), but the author is unknown.
I do not know when the '-try' version of answers first appeared.

  Maybe the old Thread will jog my memory!



Allen Koenigsberg
allenamet at aol.com

-----Original Message-----
From: d-lien University of Minnesota <d-lien at umn.edu>
To: list <list at project-wombat.org>
Sent: Sun, Aug 5, 2018 8:51 pm
Subject: Re: [PW] Acknowledgments for Yale Book of Quotations

O.K., "next week" was off by seven or so. But here we go.

I'd like to suggest one or more of the following quotes by Charles
Fort for the next edition.

In approximate order of fame and/or importance:


A tree can not find out, as it were, how to blossom, until comes blossom-time. A
social growth cannot find out the use of steam engines, until comes
LO! (1931) Part 1, chapter 4

comment: "steam-engine time" is perhaps his most famous coinage

If there is an underlying oneness of all things, it does not matter
where we begin,
whether with stars, or laws of supply and demand, or frogs, or
Napoleon Bonaparte.
One measures a circle, beginning anywhere.
LO! (1931) Part 1, chapter 1

"one measures a circle, beginning anywhere" is famous and could stand by itself,
but the lead-in sentence makes the context clearer

I think we're property.
BOOK OF THE DAMNED (1919) chapter 12

comment: one of probably his three most famous quotes, along with
"steam-engine time"
and "Was someone perhaps collecting Ambroses?" -- but the Ambroses
quote does not work
very well without also quoting a great deal of preliminary matter.
(This one stands
alone better, but again lead-in material makes it richer.)


I believe nothing of my own that I have ever written. I cannot
accept that the products of minds are subject-matter for beliefs.
LO! (1931) Part 1, chapter 3

I conceive of nothing, in religion, science, or philosophy, that is more than
the proper thing to wear, for a while.
WILD TALENTS (1932), chapter 22


comment: essence of Fort's actual philosophy, a rather different view than the
"woo woo early NATIONAL ENQUIRER gullible dupe" stuff often ascribed to him


All works online at



Dennis Lien (who considers himself a Fortean, though an imperfect one)

On Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 8:49 AM, d-lien University of Minnesota
<d-lien at umn.edu> wrote:
> I don't recall that I've contributed anything (may have or may not
> have, just don't recall) this go-around, but your message does remind
> me that I've meant to suggest that the "Charles Fort" selection be
> beefed up. I'll try to get around to a few suggestions in that
> direction this week.
> Dennis Lien
> On Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 8:10 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
>> I am entering into the home stretch now for completing the compilation of the Yale Book of Quotations, 2nd edition (although I still have probably six or more months of hard work ahead of me). Obviously Project Wombat participants have been of enormous help to me, and I want to give proper acknowledgment to those involved.
>> I have tried to keep track of those individuals who merit acknowledgment in the front matter of the book, but it is certainly possible that some names have fallen between the cracks. Please note that my criterion for acknowledgment in the front matter is that I want to list those who have contributed two or more quotations or corrections that actually make it into the book. If you believe that you may have sent me, or posted to the list, two or more usable quotations or corrections, please email me at fred.shapiro at yale.edu to remind me of that fact. I apologize for putting people in this self-aggrandizing position.
>> Fred Shapiro
>> _______________________________________________
>> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>> list at project-wombat.org
>> http://www.project-wombat.org/
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