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With apologies to Theodor Geisel


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.

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