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The Scrivener: Cautionary Tales – Selection 2

Children do like to own pets. But a worm? A crocodile?

Brian Barratt tells two more rhyming cautionary tales concerning some rather peculiar children.


Charlotte Gross liked cats and dogs,
And chirping budgies, hopping frogs.
She told her Aunt, "I'd like a pet."
Kind Auntie asked, "What shall we get?"

They went around the shops and zoos,
Inspecting lobsters, mice and gnus.
At last they found it, fat and firm:
A wriggly, cuddly little worm.

She taught it tricks and how to sing,
The worm was good at everything!
She made sure it was well fed,
It even slept in Charlotte's bed.

One night they shared a sticky bun,
And in the bath had lots of fun.
She dried the worm when they had washed,
But pressed too hard — the worm got squashed.

Charlotte Gross liked cats and dogs,
And hopping budgies, chirping frogs.
The flattened worm made Auntie laugh—
She bought the girl a large giraffe.


Young Roland was a caring child:
He rescued creatures from the wild.
Although he found the game quite thrilling
The creatures often were unwilling.

Now Roland's house was rather small
There wasn't really room for all
The insects, beetles, bats and birds,
And furry things he found in herds.

"I don't know what's come over you,"
Said Mum. "It's getting like a zoo."
His father soon began to shout,
"For goodness sake, get those things OUT!"

But Roland rescued more and more,
They crawled and hopped around the floor.
He even had them in his bed,
And some inside the garden shed.

He placed a spider in a box
And nursed a cockroach in his socks.
A packet held a worried bee
Which really wanted to be free.

A sheep stood in the kitchen sink
Creating something of a stink.
The bathroom housed a crocodile
Nobody washed for quite a while.

"Why do you do this?" cried his Dad.
"You're driving all the family mad."
"What shall we do?" said Mum in rage.
"I know — we'll put him in a cage!"

The creatures went back to the wild,
But in a cage now sits a child
Whose parents give him daily feeds
Of water, bits of bread, and seeds.

© Copyright Brian Barratt 1992, 2009


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