Cautionary Tales

These tales are to teach you a lesson.
Don't do as these people did do.
And if you ignore what these poems are for,
Then some bad things might happen to you.
Little Johnny

Little Johnny at the tea table was not a pretty sight,
For he didn't like to eat what had been brought.
He would play with it and mash it and then push it ‘round his plate.
No, he didn't behave the way he should've ought.

If his mother cooked potatoes he would say, "I want some chips!"
And with chips he'd say, "I don't like them like that!"
And then after she had changed them and said, "Sorry, Johnny dear,"
He wouldn’t eat them but would sneak them to the cat.

Now, one day when all the family had baked beans and mash for tea
And our Johnny did his usual little trick,
His mother said, "I'm sorry, but please try to eat it, Johnny."
Well, his tummy made a noise and he was sick.

So the doctor, he was called out, and he brought his bag of stuff -
A tape measure and some medicine that was red.
The colour of the medicine wasn’t right for little Johnny,
So the doctor went and measured him instead.

This frightened Johnny’s mother, but the doctor said, "Don't worry,
I’m not measuring for the reason that you think.
But from everything you’ve told me, and from studying my notes,
I'm concerned that Johnny may begin to shrink.”

But, still Johnny didn't eat right for a week or maybe more.
He was fussy, he was naughty, he was bad.
Whatever dish was put upon the table by his mother,
He just pushed it ‘round his plate, the silly lad.

So the doctor came once more to test his theory on the boy,
Took his measure out and measured him again.
Then he turned around to mother and said, “Well, that proves my case.
He has gone from three foot two to two foot ten.”

Well, his mother shouted, "No! What can I do to make him eat?
Tell me, Johnny dear, what would you like for tea?"
But Johnny said, "Come, mother, stop the bluffing. He’s no doctor -
Yes, I know you're trying to play a trick on me."

And the days, they came and went, but Johnny carried on the same,
Till one day he went to climb upon his bed.
But his legs, they wouldn't lift, he couldn't make it up the step,
So he had to sleep down on the floor instead.

When he woke he felt all funny as he stood and stretched himself.
Then he looked around his room and had a shock.
For his bedroom had grown bigger, as had all the stuff inside,
And at night he must have climbed inside a sock.

Now, that feeling in his tummy became stronger all the time,
And he trembled as he headed for the door.
But he couldn't reach the handle, which had moved up way too high,
So he fell into a heap upon the floor.

When his mother shouted, "Johnny, I've put cereal on the table!"
Little Johnny's tummy rumbled with delight,
For he thought, I won't be fussy any longer, that I promise,
If it means that I will get me back some height.

But instead he kept on shrinking, now no bigger than a fly,
Now a flea and very soon not even that.
And as he squeezed under the door a breeze came by and swept him up
And, floating freely, he was breathed in by the cat.

Well, his mother never found him, though she still looks high and low,
And Little Johnny isn't Johnny any more.
For he shrank away to nothing and remains that way today,
Though exactly where he is I can't be sure.

And the moral of the story is (for boys and girls alike)
When your mother brings your tea then do what's right.
Do not push it ‘round your plate, but sit and eat it like you should,
Or you'll disappear like Johnny overnight!

Philoneas Fluff

Philoneas Fluff kept all kinds of stuff
In his house on a cliff by the sea.
He was such an old moaner, a miser and loner,
And loved not a being but he.

Now, Philoneas had not the room for a mouse
Or a cricket, an ant or a flea.
He kept his house guarded and never discarded
A pencil, a pin or a pea.

His house was a hovel straight out of a novel
Of a wicked, old man all alone.
His dog was so vicious, found nowt more delicious
Than chewing on fresh human bone.

One day, whilst out playing, some children came straying
Mistakenly onto his land.
They played with a ball and a Frisbee, that’s all,
And they had them a picnic all planned.

Well, Philoneas stared from his window, and glared
At the boys as they played in the sun.
And he waited intently, for he knew, evidently,
That the ball or the Frisbee would come.

He had not long to wait as the great iron gate
Could not keep out the young children’s toys.
And the Frisbee flew over, to land in the clover,
And after it came the small boys.

Philoneas Fluff and his dog, Rabid Ruff,
Couldn’t make with much haste through the house,
For you may well recall that along the great hall
There was not enough room for a mouse.

But P. Fluff was so lean, and his dog was so mean,
That they pushed all the rubbish aside.
Very soon they were there, that maleficent pair,
And the front door was pulled open wide.

Then the children all shrieked, and one boy even leaked,
With the fear of the man at the door.
Up till then they’d resisted the myth that existed
Of old Fluff and his beast by the shore.

“You ‘orrible brats, with your things! Give me that!”
Said Philoneas Fluff to the lads.
“Gruff, ruff, ruff, huff, ruff, gruff!” said the dog of P. Fluff,
Which meant, “Me bite their bones? Let me, Dad!”

How the boys looked in horror, and one looked in sorro’,
As the dog bit the Frisbee in three.
And he threw the disc strongly, and ever so longly,
Right over the cliff to the sea.

Then the two bent in laughter, the dog and his master.
Such misfortune of others was fun.
The poor boys stood sobbing because of the robbing,
Then started to turn round and run.

But the Fluff man said, “Boy, go and fetch me that toy!
Bring it back to add to our collection.”
Ruff grunted and bounded (how bad that dog sounded!)
And snatched the ball from their protection.

The ball, it was dropped. Then the ball, it was popped,
As the kids vaulted over the fence.
Rabid Ruff stood there panting, Philoneas ranting,
Neither man nor beast making much sense.

So there’s Ruff with the ball, which looks flattened and small,
And a dastardly grinning P. Fluff.
“Come then, my dear mutt, their ball’s useless now, but
We shall put it with all of our stuff.”

So Philoneas Fluff went back home to his stuff
With one other small item to store.
And he squeezed the ball in through a gap thin as skin,
Till the house couldn’t take any more.

With a creak and a crack from the base of the shack
Came a judder, a shudder and screech.
Then Philoneas Fluff, Rabid Ruff and their stuff
Toppled over the cliff to the beach.

How the children applauded (I believe that they all did)
And walked to the edge of the land.
And far down on the ground, with his stuff and his hound,
Lay Philoneas dead on the sand.

So if you keep stuff, and it’s more than enough,
Build your house far away from the sea.
Build it well, build it strongly or, rightly or wrongly,
Your downfall it surely will be.
Picky Nicky

Eight year old Nicky was not really naughty, but had him a habit so bad.
It annoyed all his friends, drove them half round the bend, and his family virtually mad.
It was the sound of the clicking that came with the picking of fingernails, spots and of toes,
Or that wet, squelchy sound you would get when around someone picking away at their nose
He would pick at his ears, he would pick at his head, he would pick at the nsleep in his eyes.
He would pick at his bum till his fingers went numb and just leave what he’d picked for the flies.
He had heard silly tales of boys biting at nails but had always considered it fiction.
When he’d heard, he had scoffed, ‘Fingers can’t just fall off,’ and he’d carried on with his addiction.

His mum had said, ‘Love, I shall knit you some gloves if you don’t stop that picking right now.’
So he’d stopped for a second, but the picking had beckoned. Within moments he’d broken his vow.
A doctor was called. He was truly appalled at the state of his hands and his feet.
But, with toes raw and bleeding, he still didn’t heed him, but managed to be more discrete.
So he waited till bedtime, his resting his head time, then started to pick at his fingers -
Then his nose, skin and ears, then the bit at the rear, then the rest, upon which I won’t linger.
And he soon fell asleep (and asleep very deep), but his fingers continued to pick.
And above all the snoring, from night until morning, his fingers went clickety-click.
The night, it went on and the night, it was long, and he picked at his bobs and his bits.
All through his sleeping his fingers went creeping as he scritched and he scratched and he itched.
Then an itch on his nose brought him out of his doze and he raised up his hand for a pick.
But his nose wasn’t there - there was just noseless air. Surely someone was playing a trick!

Nicky woke with a start as the sound of a fart drifted up from his covers so soft
And, lifting them high, he peered downwards to find that he’d picked his bum totally off.
Then his whole face went rigid as he saw fifteen digits, two feet and two legs and one arm,
One elbow, two knees and a nose with a sneeze and he tumbled from bed in alarm.

Well, in fear, he shrieked, ‘Mum! I have picked off my bum! And my narm and my legs and my nose!
I’ve left more than a scar! I’ve gone one pick too far! How I’ll get out of this, heaven knows.’
Footsteps ran to the landing and there she was standing, an expression of shock on her face.
And his mother shrieked, ‘No! Where did all your bits go? Nicky, dear, you look such a disgrace!’

Then, in front of his mother, Nicky pulled back the covers with the arm that he still had connected,
To reveal all his parts (with the bum and its farts) that his fingers had picked and dissected.
Then his mother passed out, gave her head such a clout. It was more than the woman could stand.
And Nick laid on the floor with his head, not much more - just a shoulder, an arm and a hand.

There’s not much more to tell - it didn’t end very well, for he never recovered, poor Nick.
And his mum made one glove for her poor one armed love to prevent him from trying to pick.
But that well knitted mitten was soon picked and bitten and Nick didn’t last very long.
So if you do the same, there’ll be just you to blame when you wake to find half of you gone.

Jeffrey McTavish

Jeffrey McTavish lived a life that was lavish
And prized every penny he had.
He was tighter than pants made for new baby ants
Being worn by an elephant’s dad.

His single most goal was to help not a soul.
He saw charities as such a chore.
And to waste just one pence would make him so incensed
That he’d scream and he’d shout and he’d roar.

His house was so grand and it came with more land
Than you’d find in some kingdoms on Earth.
And no-one could fathom or ever imagine
Just how much McTavish was worth.

One day came a cat (not the one with the hat –
Just a cat, nothing more, nothing less).
It sat on the stair, licked its bum, coughed up hair,
And then paddy-pawed down for a rest.

When McTavish came down in his gold dressing gown,
Saw that cat lying there by his door…
Well, he gave it a kick, said, “Darned cats make me sick.
Go and lie at the porch of the poor!”

The next day in town there was talk all around
Of a pauper whose fortune was made.
He’d be rich beyond dreams and all due to, it seemed,
An old cat who, beside him, had laid.

The cat, the tale went, had met the blind gent
Who had fed him some scraps, the tale told.
And early that morning, as day was just dawning,
That cat had done poos of pure gold.

McTavish did listen, his eyes all a-glisten
With anger at what he’d let go.
That cat had picked him. If he’d let that cat in
He’d have riches upon him bestowed.

That mean man went mad, squashed a rat, kicked a lad
(‘Twas the kind of a thing that he did).
Then he hatched him a plan for to take from that man
That old cat – then again kicked a kid.

He waited till dark, then he snook to the park
(Yes, he snook – he was too bad to sneak),
And he saw the blind man, with some scraps in his hand,
And beside him the cat he did seek.

Silently, silently, ever so silently,
Up to the pauper he crept.
And with basket held open…just hoping…just hoping,
He reached for the cat as it slept.

That cat gave a squeal and it bit at the heel
Of his hand and McTavish did yell.
The pauper awoke and with weak voice he spoke,
“Why d’ye take my one friend, sir, pray tell?”

McTavish held tight as the shocked cat did bite
And he threw the beast into the basket.
The pauper groped round as he fell to the ground,
And McT smirked, “Perhaps I should ask it.”

“Oh, why do I want you, my small feline friend?”
The cat hissed and struck at the wood.
“Is it for your fur, or your cute little purr,
Or to take you where things will be good?”

Then, “No!” yelled McTavish. “It’s so I can have his
Gold nuggets that come from his bum!
And maybe I’ll breed from his thoroughbred seed
And make kittens that also poo some.”

And then he did snigger at the desperate figure
Reaching blindly for what had been taken.
“Please, sir, don’t be cold. ‘Ee be more than just gold.
Ee’s a creature of God’s unique makin’”

But, with a skip and a hop and a joy he couldn’t stop
McT left the blind man on the floor.
He felt full of rapture – his prize had been captured,
Not wasted upon the darned poor.

The years passed him by, the blind pauper since died,
And McTavish lived on to old age.
The cat had had kittens, the kittens more kittens
And all were kept locked in a cage.

The poo had come freely, McTavish was really
The richest man ever that lived.
He’d collected it daily and whistled so gaily
As the poo those poor cats would him give.

McTavish’s mansion underwent an expansion,
As the man gained such riches untold.
The walls and the roof and, to tell you the truth,
The whole thing was constructed of gold.

The original cat had grown old and grown fat,
For McTavish had fed him to burst.
See, the more food he ate, then the fatter he’d get,
Making more gold to fit McT’s purse.

Each morning at nine as the many cats dined,
Old McTavish would enter the cage,
Closing the gate to ensure none escaped,
Then scoop up and collect his gold wage.

On one day of collection and faecal inspection,
Through the bars of the cage he did peer,
And saw that the poo lay in pools of gold goo –
The darned cats had got gold diarrhoea.

“Oh no!” McT yelled. The steel cage really smelled.
It was clear that the cats were all sick,
For he’d treated them badly (a fact I write sadly).
He had to do something real quick.

With as much of a dash he could fathom, he crashed
Through the gate to the cage where the cats
Moped around feeling ill, pooing liquid gold still.
In his haste the gate bounced off its latch.

His legs had grown weak, like his general physique,
As the long years had taken their toll,
And he used an old stick for to help him to pick
His way through the cats’ poo of pure gold.

But his eyesight so frail didn’t see a cat’s tail
As he placed his stick down with a gasp.
The cat gave a shriek, jumped up into next week,
And the stick was pulled out of his grasp.

McTavish went down with a smack to the ground
As his feet slipped and slid in the mess.
And, covered in gold, he did try to grab hold
Of his stick, but with little success.

Meanwhile, all the cats (not a one with a hat)
Had now seen that the gate was not locked,
And headed that way without further delay,
Past McTavish who lay there in shock.

Past his body they swarmed, in a kitty-cat storm,
Trampling over him there where he lay,
Each digging their claws and each gnashing their jaws
At his skin as they scurried away.

McTavish yelled, “No! You darned cats must not go!
Come back here and make me more pure gold!
I need you to poo. I’ve not finished with you!
Come back here now and do as you’re told!”

Now, losing such money was not very funny.
‘Twas so bad that McTavish did seethe.
But something far worse was the cats’ awful curse
That was cast as they started to leave.

You see, something not told of the cats that pooed gold
Was it only stayed golden until
The cats left the home where they lived, and did roam
Through the streets and up over the hill.

As McTavish gazed down, the gold poo seemed more brown,
And it started to smell none too good.
In fact it smelled awful (the smell seemed unlawful),
The way that cat poo really should.

He looked at his hands, felt his face, his hair and
Realised he was covered in muck.
Then he heard a loud splat and one more after that.
Who said stepping in poo was good luck?

Then, from way up on high came a creak and a sigh
And, so slowly, he raised his head up
To see that his mansion of golden expansion
Had turned to a mansion of plop.

The walls began sagging. McT started dragging
Himself through the poo to the gate.
The ceiling was bending and slowly descending,
Unable to hold its own weight.

As the ceiling of poop still continued to droop,
Old McTavish reached out for the gate.
But a large, heavy lump of old kitty-cat dump
Fell in front, blocking off his escape.

“My gold!” yelled McTavish, now not quite so lavish.
“My beautiful gold is now brown!”
Then a puddle of poo dribbled down and right through
The cat cage and he swallowed it down.

Then another lump fell and, my gosh, what a smell!
Then a bigger lump covered him up,
Leaving only his eyes and his bone tingling cries
Coming out of the mound of cat muck.

Then a thunderous fart as the poo fell apart
And the walls and the ceiling collapsed,
And the once lavish mansion of golden expansion
Disappeared off the face of the map.

And also disappeared that old man that was feared
By the people who lived in the town,
Now forever covered (and never discovered)
By tonnes of the cats turds of brown.

And the cats spread afar and today they still are
Roaming searchingly throughout the land
For men like McTavish who live life so lavish
And won’t give the poor folk a hand.

We all need enough to enjoy doing stuff
And survive in the world where we live.
But having too much in this world can be such
A damnation if we cannot give.

So take what you need but don’t take out of greed.
Help out others who have less than you.
Or one day you’ll find that you’ve have been confined
To a cage, all alone, in the poo.

© Copyright Mike Lucas