Dumpy La Rue


October 10, 2001|By Elizabeth Winthrop

* Editor's note: Barnyard animals go hog wild over dance lessons given by an independent-minded pig.

Dumpy La Rue wanted to dance, "You're a pig," said his father. "Pigs don't dance. They grunt, they grovel, they snuffle for truffles."

"Pigs don't dance," said his mother. "They bellow, they swallow, they learn how to wallow."

"I want to dance," said Dumpy.

"Fat chance," said his sister. "Boys don't dance. They fight, they march, they sport, and they snort. And they're never ever supposed to cavort."

But Dumpy La Rue was a pig who knew what he wanted to do.

He twirled in the sty, raised his snout to the sky, spread his hooves far and wide, and pretended to fly.

The cow came by. Then the horse, and some fowl, a mule, 14 sheep, and a fox on a prowl. A turkey all gobbling, a goat and his mate, and five gray rats, who were quite overweight. They stopped and they stared. They leaned on the fence. 'Twas the first time they'd seen a pig who could dance.

"Hey, Dumpy, you're dancing," yelled the goose. "What a kick!" She hopped up and down. "You look pretty slick!"

Dumpy La Rue was clearly a pig who knew what he wanted to do. He slipped in the slop, he slid in the slime. But no matter what, he always kept time.

He did a glissade, a pas de bourree. From slop heap to bucket, he jeted his way.

"He's a porker with passion, a dancing fool, a pig with rhythm -- this breaks every rule," said the normally reticent mule.

"We want to dance, too," cried the sheep. "It looks fun. Why should he be the only one?"

"What's the tune?" yelled the cow. "What's the beat?" called the horse,

"You can't hear it, of course," said Dumpy La Rue. "It's all in my head. You have it too.

If you want to dance, if you want to glide, just close your eyes and listen inside."

Some heard bugles, some heard drums, some heard mothers humming hums.

Some heard rhumbas some heard swing, some heard choirs of angels sing.

Some heard jazz, some heard blues, some heard the slap of tapping shoes.

Then all of a sudden in twos and in threes the animals stirred like leaves to a breeze.

The cow shimmied right. The horse turned a twirl till his long knobby legs were curled in a curl.

The goats did a two-step. The fox did a three. The mule danced the salsa with a neighboring tree.

Now that his friends had learned to dance, they would never be the same.

From the book DUMPY LA RUE by Elizabeth Winthrop. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Text copyright (c) 2001 by Elizabeth Winthrop. Illustrations copyright (c) 2001 by Betsy Lewin. Reprinted by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.