Every Who down in Chapel Hill liked Christmas a lot
And last Tuesday the Bull's Head grew stuffy and hot
As the bookshop on campus filled with Whos young and old
Who'd come to hear a cherished Christmas story unfold
They leaned forward eagerly in rows of folding chairs
They munched ginger cookies and tossed their dyed hair
Then, two venerable speakers took their seats by the fire
On their heads, red-felt Santa hats made for festive attire
Thomas Stumpf, who's with English, and Kenneth Reckford from Classics
Looked out at the crowd from behind two pairs of glasses
It was the second time ever that the professors would share
In a Who-liday drama all agreed was quite rare
The event drew Whos from as far off as Cary
Some were somber and studious, others lighthearted and merry
Soon, a hush fell on the group like a blanket of satin
And the reading began: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"-in Latin!
"Laetuli Laetopoli florentes," were the first words they read
"Festo Christi natalicio, valde delectati sunt omnes ad unum," they said
And they read and they read, how they read, read, read, read!
Stumps would boom out sentences full of words like "grinch-feet"
Reckford followed with vocabulary like "Sante" and "inquit"
Back and forth the two went, in an odd sort of rhythm
While the Whos in the audience went right along with 'em
So what if the dead language seemed a little bit clunky
After all, Dr. Seuss is supposed to be funky
Smiles traveled the room like a flame along a fuse
As the Whos soon discovered they had nothing to lose
They learned the Latin for popcorn, drum, plum, tree and chimney
Bicycles, tricycles and even for Cindy
And what happened then?
Well, in Who-ville they say
That the brains of the dullest grew three sizes that day
And the minute their literary conceptions weren't so tight
The Whos learned that if read in a manner just right
Even a story that's classic could spark some new thought
"They say Latin's dead," one Who confided to Reckford, "But it's not."
The second annual reading of Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit, a Latin translation of the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, was sponsored by the Bull's Head Bookshop at UNC-Chapel Hill. For information about the book and other Latin translations of children's stories, (including "Cattus Petastatus" and "Ferdinand Taurus"), call 962-5060.