What Was I Scared Of? Reading Assignment

posted Feb 14, 2014, 6:38 PM by Jason Brunken
For this week, your reading assignment is to read Dr. Seuss's What Was I Scared Of? This short story is an allegory, and one of his best too. Read the text below. You can also watch the video (it has the words as well) to see the pictures. While you are reading think about what this story might be an allegory for. What do the characters represent? What are the Pale Green Pants a symbol of? We will discuss next week.

What Was I Scared Of?

by Dr. Seuss


I was walking in the night 
And I saw nothing scary. 
For I have never been afraid 
Of anything. Not very. 

Then I was deep within the woods 
When, suddenly, I spied them. 
I saw a pair of pale green pants 
With nobody inside them! 

I wasn't scared. But, yet, I stopped 
What could those pants be there for? 
What could a pair of pants at night 
Be standing in the air for? 

And then they moved? Those empty pants! 
They kind of started jumping. 
And then my heart, I must admit, 
It kind of started thumping. 

So I got out. I got out fast 
As fast as I could go, sir. 
I wasn't scared. But pants like that  
I did not care for. No, sir. 

After that a week went by. 
Then one dark night in Grin-itch 
(I had to do an errand there 
And fetch some Grin-itch spinach)...... 

Well, I had fetched the spinach. 
I was starting back through town 
When those pants raced around a corner  
And they almost knocked me down? 

I lost my Grin-itch spinach 
But I didn't even care. 
I ran for home! Believe me, 
I had really had a scare! 

Now, bicycles were never made 
For pale green pants to ride 'em, 
Especially spooky pale green pants 
With nobody inside 'em! 

And the NEXT night, I was fishing 
For Doubt-trout on Roover River 
When those pants came rowing toward me! 
Well, I started in to shiver. 

And by now I was SO frightened 
That, I'll tell you, but I hate to.... 
I screamed and rowed away and lost 
my hook and line and bait, too! 

I ran and found a Brickle bush 
I hid myself away. 
I got brickles in my britches 
But I stayed there anyway. 

I stayed all night. The next night, too 
I'd be there still, no doubt, 
But I had to do an errand 
So, the next night, I went out. 

I had to do an errand, 
Had to pick a peck of Snide 
In a dark and gloomy Snide-field 
That was almost nine miles wide. 

I said, "I do not fear those pants 
With nobody inside them." 
I said, and said, and said those words. 
I said them. But I lied them. 

Then I reached inside a Snide bush 
 And the next thing that I knew, 
I felt my hand touch someone! 
And I'll bet that you know who. 

And there I was! Caught in the Snide! 
And in that dreadful place 
Those spooky, empty pants and I 
were standing face to face! 

I yelled for help. I screamed. I shrieked. 
I howled. I yowled. I cried, 

But then a strange thing happened. 
Why, those pants began to cry! 
Those pants began to tremble. 
They were just as sacred as I! 

I never heard such whimpering 
And I began to see 
That I was just as strange to them 
As they were strange to me! 


I put my arm around their waist 
And sat right down beside them. 
I calmed them down. 
Poor empty pants 
With nobody inside them. 

And now, we meet quite often, 
Those empty pants and I, 
And we never shake or tremble, 
We both smile and we say..."Hi!