Monday, January 5, 2009

Three Little Horses

Three Little Horses
Piet Worm ~ Random House, 1958


Get ready, as I am sure more than one of you will have your mind blown by this post as that was exactly the way I felt when I first set eyes on this book at a flea market a few months back. It brought childhood memories flooding over me, and though I remembered so much when I saw it, for the better part of 30 years it had been forgotten completely.

It is the weirdest story ever, but you gotta love it. Soooo, there are these three horses ~ Blackie, Whitey and Brownie ~ and they were looking to do something exciting... when they happen upon a lonely man who has disguised himself as a tree to make their acquaintance... (stay with me here)... when the three horses decide they would like to visit a town... the man disguises them as three princesses... walking upright and looking rather fancy, they get mistaken for real princesses... thus a comedy of errors ensues. This bit of text alone give you a feel for the surreal images this tale conjures up...

"We shall take you on a short tour," the Mayor announced. Naturally it isn't easy for little horses to step onto a car, but with Peter's help and encouraging words whispered in their ears, Whitey, Blackie and Brownie managed to seat themselves in back while Peter and the mayor took seats facing them.

Though I adore this book now, I do have intense memories of feeling weirded out by the pictures. The man coming out of the tree costume and the horses standing upright dressed in drag was a little too freaky to me. Not to mention the trio's ladylike curves being so obviously feminine.... something about it is just not right people!Vintage first editions of this can run a bit high, but the Dandelion Press version I have is available if you look and comes as a duel title with the fabulous first Veronica on the flip side. It is back in print thanks to the ever wonderful Purple House Press for substantially less than the first edition.

17 comments:

Edi said...

When I saw your book was part of the Dandelion series I went and checked to see if I had it - and I do! I've never even flipped through that book so now I'm curious...it does seem like a very odd premise for a book...a man dressed as a tree?? Horses dressed as women? You wonder how some of the authors came up with their ideas and that someone thought they were good enough to publish.

scribbler said...

oh make no mistake... i totally think this book is AWESOME and my son loves it... I think the story is very imaginative if a little kooky... but there was just something slightly spooky in the pictures for me... but those books that freaked me when I was young seem to be the ones I like best of all now!

so are you saying you have the WHOLE dandelion library?

LUCKY DUCK!

scribbler said...

check it!

http://www.bobvila.com/SmartBuys/Books_Complete_Set_of_My_Dandelion_Library-p580393.html

http://www.amazon.com/Dandelion-Library-Set-Childrens-Tales/dp/B000MIKW0S

here are scans of the whole series...

http://andyama.com/Books/dandelion.html

Anonymous said...

Oh! Some of you perceive in an all too adult way, me thinks! I was born in 1957. Coincidentally, we ended up with three horses: one red, one black, and one white. For years I have been looking at my three horses and remembering ever so vaguely a book about three horses, one red, one black and one white. But MY memory, at such a young age back then, retained that the story included also three princesses, with red, black, and blonde hair who had these horses! I FINALLY Googled today and found the truth! Please don't turn these wonderful stories around too much in your adult minds! You have ruined my innocent good memories...horses in drag? It never occurred to me. I wish I hadn't read what you said! You have tainted my good memories.

scribbler said...

Ooops.... Sorry about that. I'm glad you found the book though. Being reunited is always the best. I hope my mildly creepy memories didn't sully your good ones too much.

and you are remembering correctly. The three real princesses show up at the end and adopt the horses.

holidaysvintage said...

Have 1st edition of this book anyone interested ?

holidaysvintage said...

Have 1st edition of this book if anyone is interested

Anonymous said...

I had this book as a child. I loved it! I saw one at a tag sale years ago and would have bought it but for the water damage and mildew. :-(
I always had a fertile imagination, so the images never bothered me. But I always felt sad that the horses went on to "better things" leaving the friend in the tree suit who loved them.

Bronx Kid

Laura@popdesign said...

I remember loving this book as a very young child... at least I think it was this one. Could you please let me know if it contains a picture of the little horses eating strawberries and cream?

B. Streetman said...

let me see if I can dig it up... in the mean time, it is back in print now.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Little-Horses-Piet-Worm/dp/1930900368/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309701346&sr=1-1

Anonymous said...

I loved this book as a kid! My Grandma read it to me all the time...I don't really even remember the story line but I. Would cry every time she got to the end of the book? And I begged her to read it again and again...maybe hoping the ending would change. That was about 25 years ago now :(

Anonymous said...

This was my favorite book as a child. I totally forgot that the horses dressed up or that they left their friend at the end. I just remembered that I loved this book about three different colored horses. Going to a baby shower that includes bringing your favorite book as a child, and I ordered the book to give at the shower. Hope people won't think I'm too odd now. :)

Anonymous said...

Have been thinking about this book for months! It popped into my memory one day. I had the book back in late 50's. I loved it. I remember feeling sorry for Brownie and for Peter at the end. Wondering if author is still alive. I'm going to get it for my niece.

Anonymous said...

I have the entire collection, 1st edition in original 'case' - very good condition of MY DANDELION LIBRARY - 18 books, 36 stories. Anyone interested?

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for this book for years, as it was one of my childhood favorites. I recognized the illustrations as soon as I opened this page. Thank you for helping me find it. I am wondering if you can help me place another. Unfortunately I don't remember the title, but was the story of a clutch of rabbits living on a hillside who were terrorized by a weasel, so they dress up as a dragon to scare the weasel away. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

B. Streetman said...

That would be the "Lively Little Rabbit"!

http://www.vintagechildrensbooksmykidloves.com/2008/11/lively-little-rabbit.html

Anonymous said...

The man disguised as the orange tree is now my Windows background. Thanks for posting this, I've been trying to place this book (from vague memories) for years. Stupidly I gave a bunch of my childhood books and records to the sister's kids and now they are gone forever. Sure need them now. :( But since this is back in print I'll be ordering one soon. I agree with the comment about not viewing this through adult eyes, if possible. As a child this was pretty special to me. It wasn't strange at all. Somehow I remember very little about the story on the reverse side. Perhaps I thought that one was just for icky girls. :D Anyway, thanks again. I've been looking for this book for YEARS with only memories of the horses as princesses. I'd forgotten completely about the orange tree. That is some kind of wonderful!

Radioman970 (James)

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