Diddily Dee Dot's Dreamland
The Story Teller
would like to tell you a story from
GROOM, ARTHUR (1904-1953),
conservationist and author, was born on 11 December
1904 at Caulfield, Melbourne, son of Arthur
and Eva Rosabelle Groom.
moved to Longreach, Queensland, about 1911 and to
Julia Creek about 1916. Arthur finished his schooling
as a boarder at the Southport School near
He was a jackeroo at
Lake Nash cattle-station on the Northern Territory
border in 1922-25,
then went to Brisbane in 1926 to write for the
He won second prize in a
Bulletin story competition in the late 1920s and in
1930 published his first book, A Merry Christmas,
The story was set in
Brisbane and far western Queensland.
any children who might be interested in the Author
who gave us many books including the fabulous
Bubble and Squeek Annual, one of which I have still
got today, although I must admit it's a bit tatty
now, follow this link to Australia.
Arthur Groom (1904
- 1953), self-portrait, 1930s, courtesy of National
the man in the huge hat, the brightly coloured tie
and bright yellow shoes held up a large cigar in
his right hand, Squeek pulled up with a shriek of
brakes and headed for the pavement.
! he said. "Howya, Bud ?
The passenger grinned.
"So you speak American, huh ?" he said. "Waa! I'm
glad to meet you. The name is Ted and fellows call
me Texas Ted. "
"Why ?" asked little
"Because little lady," answered the
American with the big cigar, "I come from Texas.
That's a part of the United
of America. Say buddy." he looked at Bubble. "Can
you drive a guy over there
The Jolly taxi-man threw away the tiny end of a
cigarette as he accepted a cigar from the American.
"Sure," he cried. "Where is the passenger
"He's right here," laughed Texas Ted. " Yep !
It's me. Drive me to the Horseshoe Ranch, Cactus
City Texas." And he hopped into the cab as perky as
"Do you know the way Squeek ?"
"I know the way to a ship,
Bubble," came the reply, "and we can ask when we
get to New York. Hooray ! I've always wanted to go
to America. Honk away, Herbert, we're off on a long
run. Yes, and you can start ticking up the dollars,
Monty, because we will need plenty when we get
across the Atlantic Ocean." And Squeek dashed away
for the seaside and a ship, singing : "Yankee
Doodle !" at the top of his voice.
big steamer hooted loudly as she saw Squeek dash up
to the quay with Bubble at the wheel and Texas Ted
"Alright, Alright ! " snapped the cab.
"Come on then !" drawled the
steamer and, reaching down with a crane lifted the
cab and his passengers on to her deck. "There ! Now
you'll be alright. Off we go. First stop New
before the Captain had time to kiss his wife
goodbye, the Queen of the Seas dashed down the wide
river and headed
out to the ope sea.
How Bubble, Squeek, Herbert
Horn, Monty Meter and little Squeeker enjoyed that
trip ! They gulped down gallons and gallons of pure
salt air; they walked round and round and round the
deck with Texas Ted; they had tea in the Captains
cabin; they listened to the ship's orchestra, and
Squeek insisted upon meeting Rumble - Rumble the
last, one misty
morning, the huge figure of the Statue of Liberty
appeared out of the mists in New York Harbour.
went up to the very top of skyscrapers; they saw
the bright lights; they went to the theatre, and
did all the things that visitors to New York
usually do. Yes, and Texas Ted paid for everything,
feeding Monty SO well that he soon has a pain in
his tummy and just couldn't have eaten another dime
to save his life.
to America, Bubble," she called out, waving her
hand and nearly putting out the torch she held.
"Same to you Squeek. Hope you have a good
"I'll see to that,
Ma'am " laughed Texas Ted. "I'm paying for this
trip. Yippppeeeeee !" And he gave a shrill, happy
cowboy yell and helped the Queen of the Seas to tie
up at the quay by lassoing a post on the
all enjoyd a few days in the great American
"Now friends," cried Texas
one morning. "It's time we hit the highway for
Catcus City. Gee ! I'm aching to see Horseshoe
Ranch once more. How do I look now, eh ? " And he
showed off his cowboy clothes. " Reckon they're
better than my town clothes."
opened wide. Can't I be a cowgirl?" she asked. "Of
course you can," Came the reply. "Let's go and buy
some new things for all of
Thus they set off along
the broad highway, even Bubble had a huge hat, a
scarf, a chequered shirt and top boots. Only Squeek
had refused to dress up as an American Cowboy. "I'm
alright as I am," he declared. "Weeeek ! This
road is simply grand !" And he fairly whistled down
the length of America, bound for the Horseshoe
Ranch near Catcus City,
After a thrilling
drive there they were being greeted by Texas Ted's
"Yipppeee !" shrilled the
men, as they rode alongside a proud and excited
From that moment the
visitors did not have a second to spare. They
rounded up the cattle, they roped steers, they went
to exciting dances in great barns and did all the
things that cowboys and cowgirls do.
little Squeeker got so tired that she often came
home to the ranch fast asleep in Texas Ted's
said Bubble at last. "I reckon we must be getting
home now, Texas."..
The American nodded.
"Sure," he said, "but I'll be over in England again
soon and I'll look
you up. Meanwhile buddy, what about a last ride,
eh? We#ll start tomorrow morning and maybe we'll
see a herd of buffaloes. There are still some
about. How would you like that, little Squeeker
"Oh please, Unky Ted," squeaked the little
cab. "It would be oovey."
So, at sunup the next
morning, off they went in Squeek across the wiide
prairie. On and on and on they drove until, in the
far distance herbert Horn saw a column of dust.
"Honk!" he cried nervously. "What's that,
"Gee Whiz!" cried the rancher. "That's a
herd of buffaloes. Hurry up, Squeek, they won't
hurt you and we don't want to miss them. Step on it
put his foot hard down on the accelerator pedal and
away they went, bouncing over the rough ground with
Squeek's heart going pit-a-pat, pat-a-pit with
Soon they could all see the great
herd of beasts thundering along in a cloud of
thick, yellow, choking dust.
Texas Ted warningly. That will be near enough
Squeek. We don't want to ask for
Squeek stopped at once but trouble
WAS coming all
In the silence, except for
the pounding of the buffalo's hoofs, little
Squeeker gave a honk of sheer excitement.
Immediately the head of the leader of the herd went
up and he turned. That meant that all the
others turned at the same time and, before anyone
could have said "Gee Whiz!" The whole herd was
tearing down towards poor shivering Squeek and his
"Quickly !" yelled Texas Ted.
Start your engine Squeek, and go like the
"Whirrrrr !" The self-starter
whirred but nothing else happened.
"I --- I c
can't start . . ." wailed the frightened
spurs a jingle, jumped out of the seat and
tried to start Squeek with the starting handle, but
it was no good, no good at all. By this time the
beasts were only a few hundred yards away so Bubble
scuttled back to his seat, put his huge hat
over his eyes, crouched over the wheel and
"RUMMMMMBLLLLLEEEEE !" In a roar of
sound the buffalo herd reached the taxi and Squeek
knelt down with his mudguards over his eyes.
seconds ticked by and Monty Meter swallowed half a
dollar at one gulp in his excitement. There was a
roaring in the ears of the travellers and then,
quite suddenly, everything was silent.
came the voice of Texas Ted. "Everyone alright
Squeek peeped out of one eye and felt himself
all over. " I -- I think so," he said. "I think I'm
!" whistled the American. "That was a near thing.
The herd went right round us. Gee! I wish I had
been able to catch one of those little fellows.
They sure are cute."
Bubble shook his
head. "I'm glad you didn't." he said, I never want
to see another buffalo again. What a brave man
Buffalo Bill must have been."
certainly was !" agreed Texas. "But how about
getting back to the ranch, Squeek. Can you start
your engine now ?"
"Whirrrr !" went Squeek's
starter and , this time, the engine burst into
So they returned to the Ranch but, do you
know, they were all so nervous that they set off
for home almost as soon as they had dropped off
"S'long, buddies !" cried the
rancher. " it's been swell meeting you all. Look
out for me in little Old England. I'll be over
again very soon."
"We'll never forget
you," called back Bubble.
"Or the Buffaloes !"
piped up Squeeker. "Goodbye, Unky Ted."
waved until the ranch house was lost to sight in
the haze and the dust of the prairie and they were
heading for New York again, and England and