Image of Guy Wetmore Carryl


Lifetime: 1873 - 1904 Passed: ≈ 120 years ago


American Humorist, Poet


United States

Guy Wetmore Carryl

Guy Wetmore Carryl was an American humorist and poet.

Carryl was born in New York City, the first-born of writer Charles Edward Carryl and Mary R. Wetmore.

He had his first article published in The New York Times when he was 20 years old. In 1895, at the age of 22, Carryl graduated from Columbia University. During his college years he had written plays for amateur performances, including the very first Varsity Show. One of his professors was Harry Thurston Peck, who was scandalized by Carryl's famous statement, "It takes two bodies to make one seduction", which was somewhat risqué for those times.

After graduation, in 1896 he became a staff writer for Munsey's Magazine under Frank Munsey and he was later promoted to managing editor of the magazine. Later he went to work for Harper's Magazine and was sent to Paris. While in Paris he wrote for Life, Outing, Munsey's, and Collier's, as well as his own independent writings.

Some of Carryl's better-known works were his humorous poems that were parodies of Aesop's Fables, such as "The Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven" and of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, such as "The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet", poems which are still popular today. He also wrote a number of humorous parodies of Grimm's Fairy Tales, such as "How Little Red Riding Hood Came To Be Eaten" and "How Fair Cinderella Disposed of Her Shoe". His humorous poems usually ended with a pun on the words used in the moral of the story.

You are only absurd when you get in the curd,

But you’re rude when you get in the whey.

—from “The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet”

Guy Carryl died in 1904 at age 31 at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. His death was thought to be a result of illness contracted from exposure while fighting a fire at his house a month earlier.

Books by Guy Wetmore Carryl

Fables for the Frivolous Cover image

Fables for the Frivolous

Poetry Humour

Fables for the Frivolous, or Fables for the Frivolous (with Apologies to La Fontaine), is one of the earliest works by the American parodist Guy Wetmore Carryl. It was published by Harper & Brothers in 1898. These fables are adapted from Jean de La F...

Grimm Tales Made Gay Cover image

Grimm Tales Made Gay

Fairy Tale
Children Comics Moral Myths Childhood Humorous Fiction Legends

A comic rendering in verse of well-loved Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, each ending with a moral and full of puns. The titles of the tales themselves make another verse.

Mother Goose for Grownups Cover image

Mother Goose for Grownups

Mother Goose for Grownups is a delightfully silly collection of parodies on well-known Mother Goose tales by Guy Wetmore Carryl. (Summary by fink)