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The Scrivener: Cautionary Tales – Selection 5

There’s poor Michael, a most forgetful lad. And Tiny Thomas who undressed into the yard. Then we hear of Herbert who lost all his teeth...

Brian Barratt serves up another delicious helping of cautionary tales to delight every reader with a sense of humour.

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Though Michael was a happy lad
His memory was very bad.
He very often could not say
Where he had put his things away.

The teacher gave him worried looks
When Michael said he'd lost his books.
And at the shop it was not funny
When he could not find his money.

One morning, when he went to school,
The children said, "Oh, what a fool!"
Although he tried to do his best,
He had forgotten to get dressed.

"You have no shirt or pants or socks,"
The children said. "Get in this box."
So in he climbed, all pink and bare,
And they forgot that he was there.

They all went home at end of day.
The cleaners threw the box away.
His parents did not say a lot,
They sighed — and then they just forgot.


Tiny Thomas, in the shower,
Sang Sunday songs for half an hour.
Then began a night of dramas —
The dog had stolen his pyjamas.

Of decency he'd no regard,
But ran undressed into the yard.
He found where Fido dug his pit
And jumped, all dripping, into it.

Back in the house he had to go,
All caked in mud from head to toe.
"Into the shower!" his mother said,
"Then take yourself right off to bed."

Tiny Thomas, in the shower,
Sang his songs for half an hour.
He sang of elephants and llamas.
Meanwhile, the dog had taken his pyjamas.

And so on,
and so on,
and so on.


Herbert, in his morning rush,
Gave his teeth a rapid brush.
Then he let out such a shout
All his teeth had fallen out.

It was just as Herbert feared,
Down the plug they disappeared.
He asked himself, "What fall I fay?
My teef are failing far away?"

Herbert could not eat his toast,
Or chew upon the Sunday roast.
He tried to live on milk and jelly
To satisfy his rumbling belly.

Then one day a parcel came,
Addressed quite clearly to his name.
Someone found his teeth were floating
In the lake where they were boating.

Now Herbert always takes more care,
When cleaning teeth, and brushing hair.
He says, while chewing at his bread,
"I'll keep my teeth inside my head".

© Copyright Brian Barratt 1992, 2009


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