Monday, January 26, 2009


Hippos Go Berserk is a Forgery!



The following information is so explosive that I just couldn't wait for the Speculum article to come out.

I have evidence that Hippos Go Berserk, allegedly by Sandra Boynton, is likely a crude forgery that has duped generations of scholars. A close-minded critical establishment dominated by a line of Oxford and Cambridge Professors has refused to acknowledge that Hippos Go Berserk contains inconsistencies that the real Sandra Boynton would never have included in a work.

I draw your attention in particular to the point of the story where the Hippos have already gone berserk and are leaving the party. "Hippos" states:

Seven hippos heading west
Leave six hippos quite distressed.
Five hippos then set forth
With four hippos headed north.
Three hippos say 'good day.'
The last two hippos go their way.
One hippo, alone once more, misses the other forty-four.

See it? See the problem? The six hippos who were quite distressed NEVER LEFT. They are still there. So the final hippo is NOT alone, missing the other forty-four: He's with six hippos, and the seven of them are (perhaps) missing the other thirty-eight hippos.

If the version we have of Hippos Go Berserk were actually by Sandra Boynton, this inconsistency would never have occurred. Therefore Hippos Go Berserk is a later forgery, not actually by the great Boynton, and thus the entire edifice of scholarship built upon the assumption that Hippos Go Berserk is genuine needs to be demolished.

The "six hippos who never leave" inconsistency and others (for example: the fuzzy blue animal at the beginning of the book is at one point called "a guest" and at another, "a beast") suggest a writer who is trying to imitate Boynton from a different point in time. We will, to be cautious, call this writer Pseudo-Boynton, but it is likely that the forger is the only writer of the tenth century who had the ability even to attempt to forge Boynton's unique style. The true author of our version of Hippos Go Berserk is thus none other than . . . Byrhtferth of Ramsey!

11 comments:

Mary Kate Hurley said...

I cannot tell you how awesome this post is. But I might hint at its greatness by saying -- it's really, really awesome.

My two favorite things, together at last. Sandra Boynton and the 10th century.

Perhaps you could look into problems posed by the Going-to-Bed book next. Is the Moon high? Is the Sea deep? More importantly, why is it that when the moon is on the rise the animals all exercise? On whose authority are such things claimed, I wonder. ;)

Oscar Alex Gilchrist said...

Perhaps "Leave" is in the imperative?

Mary Pat said...

Indeed. Boynton is precise in her works, especially with regards to hippos.

You, sir, have done the reading public a service by exposing this fraud for what it is.

Michelle said...

This is scandalous! Earthshattering! Legions of children will be scarred! I foresee a huge flurry of lawsuits, all claiming intellectual property theft... or maybe just emotional suffering.

(I've read that one waaaaay too many times myself, but not as many times as "But not the Hippopotamus")

Kath said...

What if it is really saying that 13 hippos set off heading west, but 7 of them then left the other 6 behind?

I think we need a symposium on this.

;p

Rebekah said...

If we are talking inconsistencies, Arthur's April Fool supposedly by Marc Brown, my 18 months favorite these days, has April Fools on the second of April. Making it almost unreadable should I have such options

Derek the ├ćnglican said...

This reminds me of the classic midrash on Goodnight Moon...

Richard Reitz said...

I disagree with your analysis. This is no forgery; only an attempt by Boynton to spare her younger audience the truth of the horrible acts and consequence that occurred. The 7 'berserk' hippos murdered 6 'distressed' hippos and left their homeland as outlaws, to be followed by the most of the other hippos traveling to all corners bent on revenge. Note, the use of the term berserk, is a clue linking this story to some lost Nordic saga upon which this story is obviously based.

bram said...

Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for highlighting the fraud perpetrated by the scholars of the Oxford-Cambridge axis upon the rest of the world. That damn Bryhtferth, couldn't he just leave well enough alone and not perpetrate all of these forgeries?

Jo Friedman said...

I thoroughly agree that the mystery of the 6 "lost" hippos is worth further investigation. But I have another question for this esteemed forum: why did the beast go home with the working hippos and not with the hippos he came with? Did he come to the party to get a job? Did they 'get rid of him' by shipping him off home with the workers?

Phillip Morrison said...

I think it is funny that this person posing as a literal scholar would call out Boynton on leaving 6 hippos at the party, yet doesn't notice the the first hippo only called 2 hippos. It never showed up and thus, in the way of this article, were never at the party. So, of you do the math, as this article would like you to do, there are only 5 hippos left at the party, not the 7 it says there would be.