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The Scrivener: Cautionary Tales – Selection 3

…Lucinda, always light upon her feet,
Desired to be a great athlete.
She ran and jumped from morn to night
Creating quite a moving sight…

Oh, but what happened when Linda tackled the high jump?

Brian Barratt brings another choice slection of cautionary tales concerning rather peculiar children.


Lucinda, always light upon her feet,
Desired to be a great athlete.
She ran and jumped from morn to night
Creating quite a moving sight.

Her muscles soon were large and strong,
Her legs and arms immensely long.
She keenly entered every race
And won, because she kept up such a pace.

She whirled and swung upon the rings,
And balanced on the bars and things.
Each time she saw a wooden horse
She leapt right over it, of course.

When in the pool, backstroke or crawl,
She went for records, winning all;
And when she tried the butterfly
She quickly passed all others by.

Back on the field was one event
She had to win with all intent:
The high jump was the final feat
To make her record book complete.

Lucinda launched into the air,
With outstretched arms and streaming hair;
Then, all confused, she lost her cool,
And thought that she was in the pool.

Around her ears the air rushed by
While she commenced to butterfly.
She flapped her arms and thrilled the crowd
And disappeared behind a cloud.


Though Hilton's friends thought he was mad,
He was a very clever lad.
They went outside to kick some goals;
He stayed indoors and studied holes.

When Hilton saw a fishing net,
He asked his dad, "How did it get
So many holes between the string?
Why don't they fall out of the thing?"

His loving father, though not wise,
Was bright enough to realise
That Hilton's question was too hard,
So sent him out to their back yard.

The problem stayed in Hilton's mind,
An answer he must surely find
He needed holes to try a test;
A piece of string would do the rest.

He searched for holes, but nothing found,
And so began to dig the ground.
"If I dig deep, in the right spot,
I'll find some holes, and quite a lot."

He tunnelled deep into the lawn
While night went by and turned to dawn.
His mother looked out through the door
But Hilton could be seen no more.

"That boy is clever, there's no doubt.
He'll need a ladder to get out."
His father went to find a ladder.
His friends said he was going madder.

Meanwhile, in darkness down below,
Young Hilton's hope began to go.
He pushed his spade with all his might
A hole came suddenly in sight.

At last he reached his distant goal.
And stepped out of the open hole.
His face was full of joy and mirth —
He'd dug his way right through the Earth.

But having started at the top,
He rapidly began to drop
Not back to where he made his dig,
But down into the sky so big.

His Mum and Dad grow daily sadder
While they are waiting with the ladder,
But Hilton, at a frightening pace,
Is falling into outer space.

© Copyright Brian Barratt 1992, 2009


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