I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and paperback)|
|Preceded by||Fox in Socks|
|Followed by||The Cat in the Hat Song Book|
Solla Sollew is an Odyssey-tale told in the first person by a young narrator who experiences troubles in his life (mostly aggressive small animals that bite and sting) and wishes to escape them. He sets out for the mythical city of the title ("where they never have troubles / at least very few") and learns that he must face his problems instead of running away from them. He then goes back home to deal with his "troubles," arming himself with a big bat and resolving that "Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"
The journey includes several fantastic encounters, some with mild political implications. In one instance, the protagonist is forced to haul a wagon for a bossy companion. ("'This is called teamwork. I furnish the brains. You furnish the muscles, the aches and the pains.'") In another scene, he is drafted into the army under the command of the fearsome (and, ultimately, cowardly) General Genghis Khan Schmitz, who abandons him at a critical moment.
As the story opens, the young protagonist (resembling a cat or dog) lives a happy and carefree life in the Valley of Vung, but one day, all that changes when he goes out for a stroll to look at daisies and hurts himself by tripping over a rock, which sets off the troubles he will soon face. The protagonist vows to be more careful, but a green necked Quilligan Quail bites his tail from behind ("I learned there are troubles of more than one kind; Some come from ahead and some come from behind"). Worse still, a Skritz dives to sting his neck and a Skrink bites his toe, proving that troubles can come from all directions.
As the protagonist tries to fight off his troubles, a man on a One Wheel Wubble and camel comes up and explains that like the protagonist, he too is experiencing a troubled life and has decided to escape his troubles by going to Solla Sollew, a city on the beautiful banks of the river Wah-Hoo, and known to never have troubles (at least very few). He invites the protagonist to come along with him. Eager to escape his troubles, the protagonist joins the wubble driver, but after a long night of traveling, the camel gets sick and starts to bubble. At first, the driver and protagonist pull him on the wubble, but for the rest of the day, the driver acts lazy and has the protagonist do all the hard work.
The next day they thankfully discover a camel doctor, Dr. Sam Snell, who diagnoses their camel with a bad case of the gleeks and prescribes him to bed for twenty weeks. The driver makes it up to the protagonist by telling him to catch the 4:42 bus at the nearest bus stop, but the protagonist discovers from a note from the bus line's president, Horace P. Sweet, that the Solla Sollew bound bus isn't in service due to four punctured tires, leaving him to hike for one hundred miles. Soon, the poor protagonist is caught in the rains of an early Midwinter Jicker, and a man, who's leaving to move in with his grandpa in Palm Springs in order to escape the storm, allows the protagonist to take shelter in his house, where a family of mice and a family of owls are also taking shelter.
After a sleepless night and dreaming of sleeping in Solla Sollew, the protagonist awakens to find that the flood-waters have washed the house over a cliff, with him still inside. He spends twelve days in the flood-waters, until somebody rescues him by throwing down a rope. The protagonist climbs the rope, only to discover that his savior is General Genghis Khan Schmitz, who immediately drafts him into his army for an upcoming battle against the Perilous Poozer of Pomplemoose Pass. At the pass, the General discovers he and his army are outnumbered by too many Poozers and orders an immediate retreat without fighting, leaving the protagonist to face the Poozers alone.
The protagonist manages to escape the Poozers by diving down an air vent, but has to spend the next three days trying to find his way through a network of tunnels where birds are going in the wrong direction. Close to the end of the third day, he finally finds a door and discovers he's come out at the beautiful banks of the river Wah-Hoo. Realizing he's reached his goal, the protagonist rushes out to Solla Sollew.
At the gates of Solla Sollew, the protagonist is greeted by a friendly doorman. The doorman explains to the protagonist about the most recent trouble the city has acquired: two weeks before (while the protagonist had been stuck in the Midwinter Jicker flood-waters), a Key Slapping Slippard moved into the lock of the door, which happens to be the only way into Solla Sollew, and bugs the doorman by continuously slapping the key out of his hand. As it's considered bad luck to kill a Slippard, the doorman cannot do anything to evict this pest, but decides instead to leave Solla Sollew for the city of Boola Boo Ball, on the banks of the beautiful river Woo-Wall, and known to never have troubles ("No troubles at all!!") and invites the protagonist to come along.
At first, it looks to the reader like the protagonist will join the doorman, but realizing that he's come all this way for nothing, the protagonist, instead, decides to go back home to the Valley of Vung and face his troubles. He now knows he will have troubles for the rest of his life, but he's ready for them. Armed with a bat, the Protagonist now gives the rocks, quail, skritz, and skrink troubles of their own ("But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!").
In Seussical, the character of General Genghis Khan Schmitz makes an appearance as a minor character. He introduces Jojo to the military school in song. This sets up a subplot concerning Jojo in which he is thought to be lost in battle. The character of Schmitz in the play is a cross between the Schmitz seen in the book and the unnamed generals in the Butter Battle Book.
Solla Sollew is the subject of a song in which the main characters yearn for a happy resolution to their problems. It is referred to as "a faraway land, so the stories all tell / somewhere beyond the horizon." It is said that "troubles there are few" and that "maybe it's something like heaven."
Solla Sollew, in the story and in Seussical, is believed to be a place of hope and wonder, where "breezes are warm" and "people are kind." It is a dream of the characters to find this incredible place, where they will find each other and be happy once and for all.
In this part of the show, Horton the Elephant has been auctioned off to the circus and has just been told by Mayzie that the egg in which she asked him to sit on for one afternoon, but he has actually sat on it for "fifty-one weeks" now belongs to him. Horton is then worried about all of the people in Who-ville, the world on a dustspeck he found. He is worried about all of the people, and especially his friend JoJo, who is off at military school, and his parents are back home, yearning to see their son again. The song established a connection between these characters, as they all were in bad situations.
Poetry Contest: Poems in History
This book was featured as a poem in a 2013 live-action/animated romantic comedy-drama and fantasy film.