When we were little, we had the orange set of Childcraft, a division of World Book Encyclopedia.  Although I’ve gotten rid of many of the volumes (as they’re out of date in areas such as science), I still have the two that have classic children’s poems and stories.  Here’s one of my favorites that I also read to our girls from a beautiful board book.  Its rhythms are perfect for getting ready to sleep.  It makes me happy just to read it again.  And with that, I’m off to bed.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
   Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
   Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
   The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
   That live in this beautiful sea;
   Nets of silver and gold have we,"
            Said Wynken,
            And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
   As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
   Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
   That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
   Never afraid are we!”
   So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
            And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
   To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
   Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
   As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ‘twas a dream they’d dreamed
   Of sailing that beautiful sea;
   But I shall name you the fishermen three:
            And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
   And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
   Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
   Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
   As you rock in the misty sea
   Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—
            And Nod.

© janet m. webb
  1. ksbeth says:

    i remember these encyclopedias and love that you’ve saved these classics

  2. dweezer19 says:

    I love this poem! We had Childcraft too. The entire set. Our favorite, my brother and I, was Make and Doand the fairy tales. The volume you mentioned I loved as well. Our favorite poem was a short one
    “Fishy, fishy in the brook,
    Daddy caught him with a hook.
    Mommy fried him in a pan
    And baby ate him like a man!”
    😂Thanks for the sweet memories. I would still have those books excelt for a sister with sticky fingers who claimed them. 😞

  3. I haven’t read that in a long time so thank you. We never had our own set of Encyclopedias so off to the library I always went which makes me smile thinking about how we now use Google. 🙂

  4. Carrie Crabb says:

    I remember this poem, and it brings back such sweet memories. Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. scr4pl80 says:

    I remember that poem but not that book series. We did have Encyclopedia Brittanica when I was growing up but my mom got rid of them all when they sold the house and downsized. Sad that no one uses them anymore but as you say, a lot of the info is outdated.

  6. Leya says:

    Old memories well kept – loved all the rhymes and songs we sang with the children.

  7. Tina Schell says:

    I used to love that too Janet! Your photo is perfect with it.

  8. joey says:

    Ah. I had some of those ❤ Closest my kids get is the two-volume, oh so voluminous! illustrated encyclopedia my father bought me in college. They do use it, although less now than when they were smaller.
    Some things are just better in the original analog version. I keep some good kid stuff, too 🙂

  9. belocchio says:

    The poem is pure magic. Oh how many sweet childhood memories it has evoked. Thank you so very much, dear girl. XXX Virginia

  10. de Wets Wild says:

    I can just imagine the beautiful memories you play back in your head reading the poem now that your girls are grown up, Janet!

  11. pattimoed says:

    I love those children’s poems! We have moved a lot and I can’t keep all of the children’s books, so I’ve saved some of my son’s favorites like Goodnight Moon. Beautiful image too!

  12. Thanks for this smile, Janet. Hugs.

  13. Ah, that’s lovely! I hadn’t heard or read that in eons. I’m saving this to read to #1 Grandson. I wonder if he’s heard it?

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