The Curious Case of Ah-Top, A Chinese Legend

 

The slant-eyed maidens, when they spied
The cue of Ah-Top, gaily cried,
“It is some mandarin!”
The street-boys followed in a crowd;
No wonder that Ah-Top was proud
And wore a conscious grin!

But one day Ah-Top’s heart grew sad.
“My fate,” he said, “is quite too bad!
My cue will hang behind me.
While others may its beauty know,
To me there’s naught its grace to show,
And nothing to remind me.”

At length he hit upon a plan,
Exclaiming, Im a clever man!
I know what I will do:
Ill simply wheel myself around,
And then the pigtail will be found
Where I can see it, too.

He spun himself upon his toes,
He almost fell upon his nose,
He grew red in the face.
But when Ah-Top could whirl no more,
He found the pigtail as before,
Resolved to keep its place.

Aha! he cried, I turned too slow.
Next time, you see, Ill faster go.
Besides, I stopped too soon.
Now for a good one! Ah, but stay
Ill turn myself the other way!
He looked like a balloon!

So fast he whirled, his cue flew out
And carried Ah-Top round about.
An awful moment came
The helpless spinner could not stop!
The poor man had become a top!
This gave the toy its name.