I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
|1965 (renewed 1993)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and paperback)|
|Preceded by||Fox in Socks|
|Followed by||The Cat in the Hat Song Book|
The book is a first-person narrative told 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 city of Solla Sollew ("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, and troublesome, encounters. 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 Kahn 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-headed 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 drawn by a 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 gleeks and orders him to bed for twenty weeks. The driver makes it up to the protagonist by telling him he can catch the 4:42 bus to Solla Sollew at the nearest bus stop, but when the protagonist gets to the bus stop he learns from a sign tacked on a stick that the Solla Sollew bound bus is out of service (the driver, Butch Myers, apparently destroyed all his tires from accidentally running over four nails), leaving him to hike for one hundred miles. Soon, the poor protagonist is caught in a storm. A kindly stranger tells him that the storm is the infamous "Midwinter Jicker" and 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 Kahn Schmitz, who immediately drafts him into his army for an upcoming battle against the Perilous Poozer of Pompelmoose Pass, a lion-like creature. 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, armed only with "a shooter and one little bean".
The protagonist manages to escape the Poozers by diving down an air vent marked "Vent No. 5" but has to spend the next three days trying to find his way through a network of tunnels inhabited by birds, all 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 only trouble the city has: a key-slapping slippard has 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 the keyhole whenever he tries to insert it, thereby preventing anyone from entering the city. Because killing a slippard is considered an omen of bad luck, the doorman cannot evict this pest in that regard. However, he decides instead to leave Solla Sollew for the city of Boola Boo Ball, on the banks of the beautiful river Woo-Wall, and where troubles are completely nonexistent ("No troubles at all!"), and invites the protagonist to come along.
At first, the protagonist considers joining the doorman, but realizing that he's come all this way for nothing, he instead decides to go back home to the Valley of Vung and deal with his troubles. He recognizes that he will have at least some troubles for the rest of his life, but at least now, he's ready to face 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 Kahn Schmitz makes an appearance as a secondary 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 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. However, they cannot ever find it, saying in the song "when I get close, it disappears".
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